Because I’m a Master now, and Masters are in control of things. The dictionary says so. I told my children they can all be my servants if they want, but it turns out that they very strongly don’t want.
I was watching my fellow graduates and graduands walk across the stage as I was waiting my turn, and thought how, in a physical sense, we’re all kind of bundled around the mean. Ordinary height, ordinary looks, ordinary weight.
But every now and then there was a particularly tall, or particularly short, or particularly beautiful human walk across the stage, and their very difference changed my ‘gaze’ of observation. I could see them more easily as individuals, for instance, rather than a blur among the many. And there was an underlying sense of curiosity too – what must it be like to be so tall/short/beautiful? I can remember others with unusual features, such as pink hair, but that was more about the hair than the person behind the hair.
None of these had that sense of discomfort, however, as looking at, or trying not to look at, those with a noticeable disfigurement might have, and it’s that gaze of discomfort that is becoming central to my burgeoning PhD project. The Gaze, Disfigurement, Portraits. I have books on all three reserved at the library, a new notebook to take notes on the same, and, now I have officially laid the last ceremonial process of my Master’s degree to rest, a renewed sense of commitment to this next academic stage.
So it begins.