Appeal Trumps Perfection

By Rob Moore

I was recently at the optometrist’s office for new glasses. I could hardly focus on the glasses and frames for something else I noticed more clearly in those horrid mirrors: that the next appointment in my iPhone should be for Botox.

"Masks and a Mirror" by Rob Moore.

“Masks and a Mirror” by Rob Moore.

That won’t be happening. Among the factors weighing in is I don’t have the funds to throw in that direction. Nor do I have some fancy insurance policy I can manipulate. Besides, the very name of the drug has always sounded like a dreadful thing to have injected anywhere. And it is. It’s basically rat poison.

There is, though, a compelling and grounded case I can make for having such a procedure. I have inherited evil-looking ‘anger lines’ between my eyebrows that are so embedded I look like a Disney villain even while I’m sleeping. I already bowl people over with my Sagittarius energy. The Captain Hook look can’t be helping.

The last couple of weeks Planet Waves has been delving deeply into effects of the Uranus-Eris conjunction. In the latest Planet Waves TV Eric outlines how this conjunction influences the entire New Moon cycle just underway. He goes on to explain that over the next couple of days the Sun conjoins Uranus-Eris. With the Sun-Eris conjunction alone, there is much to consider about how we perceive ourselves. Even more when we add Uranus-rooted technology to the mix. In terms of our sex appeal, that ranges from cosmetic surgery to lap bands to iPhones.

Matter of fact, Eric reported last week that the iPhone has a very direct relationship to Eris: “…at the moment the iPhone was announced, at the Macworld convention on Jan. 9, 2007 (reasonably, the beginning of the ‘smart phone revolution’), both the Sun and Mercury in Capricorn were in a close square to Eris in Aries.”

I can vouch for the iPhone influencing my self-perception, specifically via the magical camera of delusion found in the iPhone 6/6S. After a short time snapping selfies in a variety of settings, it became quite clear how great I look through the eye of this phone time and again. Once terrified to discover what truths would be revealed whenever someone grabbed a camera, I now feel confident with my iPhone every single time.

I know those creamy, delicious photos are going to lift my spirits and my belief in myself again and again. So creamy and dreamy and delicious are these images that ABC’s Modern Family created an entire episode using only Apple devices equipped with this camera. Indeed, every actor looked flawlessly beautiful, as if works of art.

But then all of a sudden someone like my optometrist sits us down in front of some dreaded mirror of truth. The warm, soft lighting in my home coupled with the yummy magic lies of the iPhone made that stark mirror reality something of a traumatic experience for me. No colorful colloquialism here. If I didn’t have a solid connection with my non-physical self, those rough-hewn crevices I saw reflecting back would’ve moved me to take drastic action. More drastic than Botox. It’s simply how I operated before I attained a higher-vibe connection.

I must say, though, as a photographer with a professional digital camera, it is often I who is the bearer of harsh truths. I can’t tell you how many times a subject has been hurt or angry after seeing results that anyone else would’ve considered beautiful. In one such incident, the public went enthusiastically nuts over what was indeed a very hot-looking collection of pics, while the model was so disgusted he didn’t even take delivery of his copies.

This particular incident began to open my eyes to the perceptions people carry about themselves. The model being a rather beefy guy, I shot the photos as I would with anyone, displaying his true physique in the most appealing light possible. After it became clear he was dissatisfied, I did some research and found that in many of the ads in which he appeared, his face and body had been Photoshopped to look chiseled and more defined.

This is what the model had come to believe he looked like. But the real truth — which I had portrayed — is what people out in the world actually adored about him. Any perceptions to the contrary were irrelevant and not at all helpful to his feeling good about himself.

Whatever delusions — or disillusionments — any of us may be experiencing with our phones or cameras is but a glimpse of the dynamics going on for those in the public spotlight. Among the things that moved me to delve into this topic was witnessing the latest of several women whose magnetic self-expression has been severely stifled by the decision to glamorize herself.

In an effort to keep the focus on situations and dynamics, I’m choosing to use names sparingly today. The young lady in question, though, is on a fairly new sitcom that has been critically acclaimed and has a rapidly growing viewership. The cast includes some women who are rather classically beautiful. Among them, however, has been this very lively but humanly flawed chick whose off-center body language and antics have been the main reason I ever tuned in at all.

Now in its second season, this uniquely charming woman has streamlined her crooked smile with veneers; turned her strangely intoxicating googly eyes to the still, seductive, fake-lashed variety; and she now seems afraid to move her head lest her perfect hair extensions get messed up. I adored the girl that was so lively and carefree before. She is now such a stoic shell of herself that I simply do not care to watch the show anymore.

One name I will mention because she is a pioneer of this exact genre of glamorization is Roseanne. When Roseanne came onto the scene, she was the sloppy, irreverent-yet-irresistible plus-size housewife from Salt Lake City. After her sitcom reached the height of popularity, she spent a summer getting tummy-tucked, re-boobed, weaved and spray-tanned.

For sure, Roseanne got the physical attention she was after and, in the process, reshaped ideas of what is possible by humans (including surgeons). The popularity of the sitcom suffered, however, and never bounced back. She just wasn’t that simple, jolly comedian anymore. She’d become something else. And laughter was not so much a part of it.

So often in these situations, it seems to me like the life essence has been squished out of a person. Sometimes that is exactly what has happened because this was nothing more than trying to fit a dictated stereotype of beauty. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda refers to the idea of physical girth as part of one’s life expression. He found the heavier end of the spectrum to be his most natural physical embodiment and he wholeheartedly embraced it.

Which brings up an important distinction: cosmetic surgery or taking personal steps to transform certain physical aesthetics is not inherently ‘bad’. Like anything — from buying a pair of shoes to booking a massage — whether or not it’s a gratifying experience depends on where we’re coming from when we make the decision. When we have a vision and are genuinely inspired to shed a few pounds — or even to create a work of art — the entire process is a joy. It’s when things are motivated by fear that the process as well as the results are overshadowed by that condition.

A male actor riding a fairly recent wave of success goes to my gym. When I first started seeing him work out there, he was a stocky guy with a solid presence. I didn’t even know he was on TV. I just thought he was yet another great-looking guy in L.A. with yet another great-looking physique.

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Before long, he inexplicably upped his routine and started hemorrhaging off the pounds. Around that same time, I noticed he began to acquire a slumped posture like a couple of concrete blocks were tied around his neck. I could not help but perceive this weight-loss regimen to be part of some unpleasant burden.

Then I discovered him on TV. It was a rerun from a year prior. I saw the ’10 pounds’ that the camera adds. I saw what he — or producers — had possibly blown out of proportion. Like my beefy model subject, whatever this actor had always looked like on TV, viewers had clearly fallen in love with exactly that.

More than ever, that is a truth we can all take to heart. Whatever we see reflecting back in that department store window or that surveillance camera or even in our own bathroom mirror, that is what those who see us, converse with us, know us and love us already embrace about us. It’s who we are. It’s how we look. Whatever we’re finding to obsess about is seen through the equivalent of a microscope device with running commentary that no one else can even access.

Whenever a swirl of self-eroding doubt clouds the truth in me, the discomfort eventually makes me stop these days and consider ‘what is’. What is that one thing I can get on board with about myself right now? Maybe there’s a second thing. And maybe a third. There usually is. And by that time I’m on board an entire wave of things ‘that are’ just great with me.

Some while back that actor guy at the gym sat down on a bench right next to me. I took the opportunity to tell him I’d noticed his transformation. He thanked me. As I got up to walk away, I added, “Just so you know, you look good both ways.” I’m not sure he got where I was coming from. But maybe that’ll be in the back of his mind if one day he does.

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About Rob Moore

Rob Moore is a published author and has a strong background in art direction and image work. Ever seeking to identify the truths recurring through his own life and that of others, Rob continues to express his findings via writing and imagery. Please visit to learn more.

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