BATHOS?

Day 250: Items Purchased:0, Temptation Radar:0

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meet my latest favorite vocabulary word:

Bathos: Skeezily uncomfortable, the ultimate low, insincere pathos, sentimentality,mawkishness, Bathos may result from inappropriately dignified treatment of the commonplace, the use of elevated language and imagery to describe trivial subject matter.

It was introduced to me by a friend recently in reference to a most absurd misrepresentation of events I’d experienced. She says I MUST get Sirius Radio in order to shore up on such urban vocabulary. More specifically, COSMO radio.  Bathos. Yes. I like it. I particularly appreciate the “dignified treatment of the commonplace” part of the definition because it is a fancy way of saying “exaggeration”, and so accurately describes how I feel about Facebook and other forms of social media these days. In a space of time where I think people crave real connectedness with truth and genuine interactions, we see this sort of bizarre medium with which people can project an image of themselves they deem appropriate, despite the validity of it.  You have a host of people projecting thriving businesses that are no more than silly hobbies, yielding no revenue and filling up an empty space, that perhaps would be better utilized serving their families. You have others still who project this sort of perfect family life and put-togetherness. Conversely, you have folks living their drama out loud and displaying their mid-life crisis for the world to see….all in the spirit of transparency. The rebel can be the rebel, despite the quiet insecurity that permeates his heart. The activist can create a cause, and because a million people clicked a “like” button, she has ignited a false reality. People project anything they want, despite any sound truth. Over time, ones like these become consumed, experiencing difficulty separating fact from fiction, thus becoming disillusioned. This occurs not only because they grow to believe their artistry of fable, but because they begin to subscribe to everyone else’s too.

I’m here, in my own space, to say I’m contending for truth. 

Recently, someone commented to me about the fact that I’m always having fun….friends, parties, that I’m like a “little social butterfly”. Although, she meant it as token of admiration, I sensed a longing in her voice as she talked about her observances of me. It made me sad. Immediately, I said, “Everything is not like it seems in the pictures. Pictures are the highlights. They are our best moments, the ones we want to share and celebrate. For every fun girls’ night out picture you see, there have been at least a dozen fall-outs, broken hearts, wounded spirits. For every husband/wife embrace photo, at least 100 disagreements and maybe even a threat to leave. For every photograph of perfectly posed  children in smocked clothing and a large bow, there are 16 out takes of the mother grinding her teeth, the baby throwing a tantrum and the daddy screaming he’s done with this!” Again, pictures are merely highlights.  I could see her relief. I shared how over the course of this year, I’d actually become quite a social recluse, declining invitations, focusing more on my family answering a mandate on my life that began rather subtly in January of this year.  She looked shocked. “Really?” Really. I went on to share that I’ve spent nearly a year of my life surrendering, peeling back layers of myself that I felt misrepresented my heart and who I am. A picture of me at an event, perhaps looking like I’m living the stereotypical “fabulous” life, couldn’t be farther from the truth.  It’s fabulous alright, but not like that.

Yes, life is good. And for the most part, it’s satisfying and full. But, none of us are living high style all the time and we are all learning how to grow. So off with bathos-style living, and on with real. Finding your purpose and walking it out, in truth and authenticity, is the most fashionable way to travel.

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