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February 09, 2009


B. Muse

In my house there is not one picture of people looking into a camera on display. Not one. Nor are there magazines with pictures of people looking out of them. I turn them all face down or I throw them away as soon as they've been read.

I prefer pictures of nature or food or flowers. Impersonal scenes that do not remind me of much of anything.

There is a picture in my bedroom of graceful egrets lifting elegant wings toward a milk white dawn. I've stared at it's muted greens and lavenders for hours. It's so peaceful.

There are a couple of pictures of my children at the beach. One of my daughter deep in concentration building a sand castle and another of my son skim boarding, his body in a neat curve, mimicking the waves. Both were taken from a side view.

My daughter's art work hangs in the hallway.

Other than that, no pictures grace my walls.

Consequently, there seems to be something missing when you enter my house. A sense of... person, life.

Here's why. I'm a little crazy. People in photographs are staring at me, watching me. What's crazier still. I KNOW that this belief is crazy and yet I persist in believing it. Somehow, the person whose picture was taken still exists in that two dimensional world and can think or worse, judge.

I have a therapist named Chad. Chad is a nice guy, but he insists that I put the pictures of family I have tucked away in drawers on my walls. He thinks it would be a good idea to put magazines with people looking out in strategic places like my bathroom and my closet or next to my bed. Places where private things happen.

I understand, of course. He wants me to experience the anxiety that comes with this particular paranoia and learn, over time, that the people in the pictures are not really thinking about me. They are only images. This type of therapy is usually very effective and can, given time, begin to reduce the amount of paranoia and anxiety that erupt from overactive brain chemicals resulting in said insanity.

Chad is wrong.

Both of my parents are in heaven now and I understand that they are not actively watching my life. If they were, I would never have sex again. But with their pictures watching me, there is the slightest chance that they just might use those pictures as make shift two dimensional eyes and report on their findings to my sister who died at 15 who might then tell my grandparents and there would be no end of the lectures I'd get from THEM on any number of subjects from how I sometimes kick clothes under my bed to deal with later to how I cut my toe nails completely wrong, thus causing painful hang nails.

Now, do I believe all this? In my truest and most sincere heart, do I believe? Let's put it this way. If there is even the slightest chance that I'm right, no pictures of human beings watching me from their frames will ever find their way onto my walls. Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Dad. Sorry, Chad.

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