Scientifically speaking, we are never together. We lose thousands of skin cells every minute — they slough off as we ride the bus and walk to the office and sit in a cubicle. They fall through the cracks of the keyboards and remain there in caked layers of whitish dust.
Each moment, we fall apart.
It’s interesting, I think, to notice flaws that make people human: a bra strap sticking out, a wrinkle in a trouser that’s perpendicular to the seam, one sock pulled inches higher than the other. ‘Put together’ is the goal, but detail trips us up.
None of us is perfect.
I stroll down the street in the image of a corporate world: pumps click, tailored skirt swishes, red lipstick stains my latte. My curls bounce; my mascara does not smudge.
Then, the straw splits down the middle. It knicks the edge of my lip. Red lipstick turns to blood.
Were my outward appearance a reflection of within, my hair would be a snarl, to start. I’d struggle to keep my shirt tucked, and every three steps one shoe would slip off at the heel. Coffee would stain my blouse front and my skirt would have a tear. I’d be sobbing one minute and singing the next — natural responses to thoughts and memories too strong or sweet or bitter to repress.
Scientifically speaking, we jump to conclusions. The amygdala and the posterior cingulate cortex absorb details about behavior and appearance to make snap judgements.
They presume too much. Sometimes, they are wrong.