Do You Realize?

Listen to Do You Realize?

I’ve shared in previous posts that the last 3 years of my life have been the most difficult of my 56 on this planet.  But they have also led to my most important discoveries as well. I call it my Season of Awakening. The moment of most significance in this time has been the unfolding of my true and deepest identity. Becoming clearly aware of who I am has changed everything.

Identity is defined as the fact of being who a person is.  We call it Identity Theft because some of the facts about me got stolen and misused against me.  If certain bits of information about me fall into the wrong hands, I am open to serious damage. And I can spend years trying to recover from the invasion.

But my Identity doesn’t’ have to be based on facts.  It can be wrapped up in what I think of myself and who I believe I am. None of which might be true at all. But when I start acting like they’re true, they might as well be.

A piece of my identity was shaped as a young boy that had to start wearing glasses when I was in 3rd grade. In 1970 there was one style of plastic, black rimmed frames also known as birth control glasses. Which thankfully wasn’t an issue in 3rd grade, but it did set me apart from all the other kids in class.  Over time, an identity statement was drafted that I believed about myself; I’m ugly and unattractive. This is what I thought, therefore this is what I believed.

You can imagine it was a brand new day for me as a sophomore in college when I got contact lenses for the first time. I could finally shed the assistance of eyewear.  I could see clearly without glasses. I could now wear cool shades. I could play basketball and not worry about them getting broken. It was awesome.

But it didn’t change my identity that I had forged so many years ago. I was still ugly and unattractive in my mind.

In August 2006, Warrior, the Latvian and I went to see the Flaming Lips in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  It was my first time seeing them live. I remember them from my college days in Oklahoma, seeing their handbills stapled on the light poles all over the campus in Norman. But I never made it to a show.  Frontman Wayne Coyne says of their concerts, “everybody leaves smiling and happy.” It was true for me on that summer night.

I love their music for that reason. And the one song that puts a new smile on my face is Do You Realize. It starts with this line:

Do you realize 

That you have the most beautiful face?

I’ve heard that line many, many times.  It would make me think of friends I knew who didn’t realize.  How could that be? She’s so pretty. Why would she think otherwise? 

But it doesn’t matter what I think about her.  What matters is what she thinks about herself. 

The song took a turn when it dawned on me that the song was a question to me. Do I realize I possess anything of beauty within myself, something worth looking at and enjoying?  The identity of the pudgy, Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing kid, continued into adulthood, even though I no longer needed glasses, lost some weight, got fit and started running marathons. It didn’t matter. I still felt ugly and unattractive.

No, I didn’t realize.

It was an epiphany. For me to truly realize my deepest identity, I must embrace the beauty that resides in my soul. I can’t live a wholehearted life without doing so. And this leaves me terribly vulnerable. But beauty always leaves itself in that predicament. It’s not the skin that makes a person beautiful. It’s certainly not the glasses. It’s the heart behind the skin. Everything about us, beautiful or no, shines through our face, and especially through the eyes. Let your beauty out. It wants to be seen. It needs to be seen.

Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize
We’re floating in space?
Do you realize
That happiness makes you cry?

Song: Do You Realize?
Album: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Artist: The Flaming Lips

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