Used to Be


The topic of discussion during a recent conversation was an old photo of a famous person, someone I knew years ago. More specifically, the main theme was this person’s physical change.

I won’t question this undeserved right we posses in regards to judging people who are not even part of our lives, and I’m not going to deplore the fact that we could be spending our time and energy with more useful things. Because in this story I felt an even more overpowering emotion. People’s attitudes toward change.

Even though this example focuses predominantly on the theme of outer appearances, there are various examples: a famous singer’s previous employment to make ends meet, for instance. Instead of admiring the climb toward and achievement of success, the downfall from the current position is the focus. The parents’ job (which is not a matter of choice) is used as debasement. Success in the face of very limited opportunities is never mentioned, but instead the words ‘did you hear?’ is the beginning of most sentences.

The old photos of a person before they were admired for their style and creativity are exposed and once again no one will say how much was achieved. As if it would have been better if they had stayed exactly the same?

Should we, perhaps, not be so tactfully closed minded to progress? If we find her pretty today, should we not simply say ‘she’s pretty’  and close the subject? Should we not enjoy the feeling of triumph that underlies the uttering, ‘she used to be ugly’?

Should we not admire her past life instead of exposing it like some sort of sin?

Should we not reject this urge to focus on the past and take a new step when the opportunity to change appears before us on a daily basis?

I think we should.

Begüm

 

Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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