We Are Painted People

We Are Painted People (photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post)

We Are Painted People (photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post)

The people that look at me, what do they see? The ones that dabble with curiosity to find the intricacies in my voice, what do they hear? I wonder if they can hear the silence between my words, if they can see the pause between my steps. I wonder if the world is simply too big for them to care.

Why do I care? We cross paths every day. I bump into them, order from them, and pull my car right up next to them. We interact, in almost every way. I smile, or nod. Somehow, I end up in their senses, and I can’t help but wonder if I’m perceived in the same way – the way I see my reflection. Out there, their sensory arms clutch around me for just that brief moment in time, like the way we verify our existence when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in a passing mirror. But what do they see?

They are the world around me.

Can they see me behind drawn curtains? Behind painted walls and mailboxes? Under duvets and cable boxes, can they hear my voice? Behind four painted walls, I feel safe from their senses, susceptible to only my own. But out there, what do I look, sound, and feel like?

If I try hard enough, I can feel eyes come to rest on me, like a spun coin settled on heads. Perhaps they see the redness in my cheeks from the brisk walk I took at lunch. Maybe they see the battle that wages on inside of me, where ego and insecurity posture to pick a fight but ultimately settle on time as the difference maker. Maybe they can hear the sadness in my voice when my mind questions joy, maybe they can’t hear a single world that comes out of my mouth.

I know, terribly introspective of me. Or is it? What about the ones who read my words – you know, you – do you see what I see, hear what I say? Of course not, don’t be silly. But how close are my words, as I put them, to what you see, feel, or hear? With a will to write until my last day, I can’t help but wonder what it is that you see.

You are the world around me.

Can you hear the restraint, from the corner of my lips – you know, the words that I have chosen not to say?

We are all painted people, monuments to what is really going on – just like the walls outside of where we rest our heads. But if we smile, or laugh, and choose those same words – will we see or hear the same thing?


Categories: DPChallenge

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34 replies

  1. First read this days ago. Intentionally returning now to comment. (Something I do when I sense my need to absorb.) “…like a spun coin settled on heads.” That is powerful; so visual. “…when my mind questions joy.” This statement stopped me in my tracks and demanded reflection.

    I didn’t find your lens terribly introspective, at all, Dominic. In fact, I wish a vast many others would give pause with this. The subject of vulnerability oozes from your words, in a caring, beckoning way.

    In my work, so much of what I listen for is what is not being said. It is often much more telling than what is verbalized.

    Liked this, a lot!

    • Thanks, Eric. I love taking a break from the blog and coming back to see your wonderful comments (no pressure intended)! I really do appreciate your continued support and involvement in my writing. I can’t agree more that what isn’t said is often way more telling than what is. That, I’m afraid, is often difficult to translate in my writing. I suppose like anything else, it comes with practice! Thanks again, Eric!!!

  2. “like the way we verify our existence when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in a passing mirror” I got hooked after I read that line. There have been days when I’ve caught the mirror glimpse and my whole self image gets destroyed and days when my confidence shoots through the roof from the same quick look.

    I wonder what other people see, hear and feel when they look at me too — I think we all do.

    • Man, thank you so much for the feedback. It always makes my day when someone throws my words back at me in quotes. So cool. I’m thrilled that you could relate to this feeling – so, really, I’m not alone! Thanks again for your feedback and for the thoughtful comment – much appreciated! Look forward to sharing posts in the future!

  3. Absolutely beautiful! It seemed very personal, truthful and relatable! Great work.

  4. Hi, just found your blog through the DP challenge! I love your thoughts on this. (pondering perception at 2am…) I wonder about these things all the time. I’m looking forward to looking at your other writings!

  5. Beautiful words and meaning. In some ways allowing more of us to be seen is not noticed. The hints too subtle, the tell tale signs not signposted.

    • Thank you – I agree, often the harder we try to be noticed, the less likely anyone is to take stock in our attempts. it’s not like “hey I am the end-all-be-all,” but rather “hey, I’m part of this world!” Thank you again for commenting, much appreciated!

  6. Like is an understatement. I swear you must be able to read my mind. Powerful stuff. I can’t wait to look at what other things you have written.

  7. This post asks a great question! And a brilliant observation ‘We are all painted people, monuments’. Love the way it starts from the pavement and moves inwards but taking in the world as it does bringing all the colours to life.

  8. Painted people, walking works of art in a world too oft color blind. I seek reflection like breathing. Moments of solace found in connection, collaboration, the dance we call life. In the few moments of true presence where the image of myself collides in perfect harmony with another’s vision of me. My spirit whirls up towards divinity. This is a wonderful post.

  9. Very nice, but I couldn’t help thinking that most folks really just think about themselves. I know I do. (Well, either myself or food.)

    Still, your piece actually made me think I should pay attention to those around me more, and I will.

    • I know what you mean – and you are probably right – at the root of it, isn’t all about us? About how we feel, about how we fit in (or don’t fit in, depending on your vices)? But for that to work, by the very nature of things, we need to release our own selfish (not in a bad way) desires, or reflections, and avail them to those around us so that, down the road, perhaps the favor might be returned (which gets back to our motivation for doing it in the first place!). In other words – I’ll help you fulfill your selfish desires if you, later, help me with the same. Wow, very philosophical of us – I think I need a little more comedy in my life!!! 🙂 Thank you!!

  10. This is amazingly intuitive and reflects the punctuations in my mind, and surely that of others! I go thru this myself, wondering internally where and how I stand and look to others..unsure of what response they’d offer me, sincerity and conditions always questioned because some are too polite to share truthfulness.

    You have a wonderfully reflective piece here and it made me aware of how we need to offer others more feedback on how we come across.

    I am fortunate to have a few sweet souls in my life who offer me their opinions ..in a kindly manner..of how i dress or fail to mind my manners..lol..oh dear…yep, i blow it sometimes. 🙂

    But, I LOVE that painting you selected. People can see us through their own biased window but they dont see the true us, most of the time, i believe.

    Our voices here online, as we blog, also dont quite convey the real us, do they? Although I sure do hear some long and loud ranting from some..lol 🙂

    Great post!

    • Wow, thank you Tonia for your thoughtful feedback. I really appreciate it. Sometimes I’m a little weary of putting philosophical or mushy posts out there but comments like yours really do validate this entire blogging thing for me. It is truly amazing to connect with others with words, absolutely incredible! You certainly are fortunate to have a few forthcoming friends – its interesting, here I am writing about bearing my soul and getting confirmation from the world around me and truth be told – I hate when people tell me I have something in my teeth, or that my collar is up, or something like that. I get incredibly embarrassed and generally react with grand indifference. It’s silly, really.

      Isn’t the photo/painting great? I actually saw it on the wordpress daily challenge blog – you should check it out, I often find inspiration from the weekly challenges (especially when I haven’t written in a while, it is a great place to start). http://dailypost.wordpress.com/weekly-challenges/

      Thanks again! 🙂


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