“i don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. i want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” (from the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde)
july creative writing challenge day 18: a self-portrait.
to read the picture of dorian gray is to lose yourself in perhaps the finest literary exploration of the vain woes and honest curiosities of the human ego.
perhaps one of my favourite dialogues in the dark tale is when dorian and his two idols, lord henry wotton and basil hallward are discussing dorian’s instant and impulsive love for sibyl vane. intrigued by his many theories about life, love and pleasure, dorian asks lord wotton to explain what he means by “when we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.” in defining ‘good’ the pompous lord replies:
“to be good is to be in harmony with one’s self.”
for all his character’s shortcomings, lord wotton is a wise man. wise enough to separate the self from the ego. to understand that too much of either can make a good person ugly. poor dorian lost himself in his obsession with his own self-portrait.
so how should one perceive one’s self? with quiet pride, honest humility, an open heart and an even wider mind. confidence is healthy but too much ego can indeed be ugly.
as we paint our own self-portrait on this vast canvas known as life — with strokes of trials and tribulations; colours blended of chance and happenstance — may each contour and line resemble the good and harmony inside of you. may it be a portrait of true beauty … a portrait of emotional, enjoyable you.
despite the moral conflicts wilde introduced to us through dorian gray he also taught us that “to love one self is the beginning of a life long romance.”
shouldn’t self-love be a timeless polaroid anyway?
we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. we forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.
july creative writing challenge day 19: an argument.
i don’t know why i chose the above quote to reflect today’s writing prompt. perhaps because i was flipping through my notebook of quotes that i maintain and this one seemed fitting having woken up at 4am myself just now.
have you ever had a self-argument? you know, one of those conversations with yourself where you berate, judge and scold your actions, your thoughts? perhaps you’ve betrayed your own values once or twice. no doubt you’ve deserted your core character to explore and experiment only to realise that underneath the many layers and costumes there you are — naked and vulnerable. left only to make amends with your attractive self.
i could write about many things here. about the argument i had this week with my parents or the heated debate that erupted over dinner last week. but instead i’m just going to reinforce the old adage to never go to bed angry — especially with yourself. forgive yourself; be kind to yourself. who wants to be woken up at 4am anyway?
good sleeps (or mornings) to you. xx