The Ugly Truth

Epiphany at 6:53am

So in the mid-2010s, I lived with a boyfriend. We moved in together after dating for about a year. I was looking for a place to live and he says, “move in with me.” So I did.

You learn a lot more about a person when you live with them. This guy had a massive DVD collection including the FULL season of “Friends”. He loved that show. I also learned that I was his first steady girlfriend in over 5 years. I was impressed that he worked two jobs and saved his money to reach a lifetime goal of owning a home by the time he was 40. He stopped going out, stopped socializing to reduce the temptation to spend money to reach this goal. He oversimplified his life; work, food, sleep and watched “Friends” and his other DVDs.

This is a new age in America. It is difficult for people under 40 to get into a home in most moderately populated areas, such as Washington State. Many that do make it into a home generally are a two-person income couple and live above their means on credit. Everything is expensive and wages are not going up anytime soon.

In a 2017 Harvard Study…

“In the study, the researchers determined affordability by people’s ability to pay 30 percent of their income or less on the cost of housing, which may include their mortgage, insurance, and taxes.

Homeownership keeps declining, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ detailed and comprehensive 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing report, in part because home prices in many markets have continued to go up while wages have not kept pace. In 2016, “the homeownership rate fell to 63.4 percent, marking the 12th consecutive year of declines.””

I knew what he did was difficult. I was impressed by his focus and hard work. It was also very generous of him to share his home with me. We had a nice relationship and remain distant, but friends to this day.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11718286-0-image-a-48_1554118010419.jpg
Remember this challenge “The Ugly Face Shelfie”

Here is the core of it. A few times during our relationship he’d occasionally make comments about my looks. He’d say, “you know sometimes you look like yourself, and other times you, you look…different.” When I inquired how and in what way, he responded um, as kindly as possible I suppose, sometimes I didn’t look so good, just different. Here it is 2021 and I still think about those comments. What was his perspective? What did he mean I don’t look like myself?

There it was. At 6:53 am this morning. An answer to a nine-year-old question landed on my head! My vanity badmintoned for ten years–am I beautiful but sometimes appear ugly, or am I ugly but occasionally look beautiful? I am human, so are other humans, we are all three-dimensional beings ugly and beautiful at the same time…depending on your perspective. By perspective, I mean exactly– where your eyeballs are in relationship to my face.

The human eye is better than any camera. The human organic experience is a higher definition than any sitcom. The Real Real is both beautiful and ugly, not homogenized drama processed for your entertainment.

How camera lenses work, photo credit: bounding dirtier piped Wombat
Finding your perfect angle

All the online meetings the working class are enduring during the pandemic, I wonder will our perceptions change to a 2-D memory format? The camera lens mimics the human eye. It goes where a human can take it. Video composition is the art of framing the photo to correspond with a mode or message. There are 7 rules for better shot composition and framing:
The Rule Of Thirds.
Leading Lines.
Leading Room & Head Room.
Size Equals Power.
Break the Rules.

These are rules we don’t live by in our body, only in composition.

I wonder, perhaps, just maybe, if a person watches too much TV, too many hours on video games, attends only Zoom meetings, lives alone, stops seeing friends in real life…could they forget what normal 3-D interaction is like? In real life, the other bodies you interact with are not in perfect frames, with mood lighting, or wearing costumes that easily identify their personality. I believe my boyfriend was in transition. He was coming out of a dark five years that stripped him of his social skills. It diminished his perspectives to the point that he was shocked when his girlfriend expressed an infinite amount of expression. Perhaps as we slowly work our way out of the pandemic more studies and information will be produced regarding the anticipated awkward action of “being normal” again.

Humans are infinite and complex. We live in a world with space and time. We dance around and with each other as we should.

Hope you are having a good week. Washington State was moved into Phase 3 of a 4 phase COVID plan. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? I do. I returned to the gym. After my first week, I already feel the endorphins back in action.
Take care of yourself- Shannon

Published by Shannon Laws

Like my writing? Want to hear me read my poetry? Please visit and download some today. Only $1.00 a poem! Shannon Laws is a Pacific Northwest poet. Her story-telling poetry has touched many hearts and minds. She is the author of four poetry books, the most recent “Fallen” published by Independent Writer’s Studio Press. Shannon has received two Mayor’s Arts Awards and the Community Champion Award for promoting local artists on community radio and encouraging peace and understanding through community poetry events. She makes her home in Bellingham, Washington, USA.

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