In the midst of the demands of the world for the chronicled and the edited, I felt a deep yearning to rediscover the candid and the unseen.

Our online accounts bear it all—all those moments we impulsively want to share to the world, from the healthy breakfast we prepared and ate, to the solitary walk we took on the meadow full of wildflowers and those oh-so-happy-together-times we had with buddies.

There comes a point when we get addicted to this idea of a specific image online.

Whether we want to project the free-spirited lady who quits her job to traverse the unknown, the man who advocates cycling and owns more than five bikes, or the loving partner who chronicles every romantic date and ‘monthsary,” sometimes it can really be easy to just snap a picture of anything and everything that may define who we are while risking the sacredness of the present and the grandeur of the natural—and even our truths.

I have to admit, I sometimes get this urge to ask a sibling or companion to take a photo of me while I sit on the shore, because we live near the sea, and I am proud of my natural bronze skin, but having children as adventure mates has taught me to be fully mindful of the sensuousness of each moment.

There was this time when it was only the two of us in the sea. The sailboats were resting at the neighboring harbor, and the mountains had some darkened portions because the clouds were bigger than usual. I closed my eyes and felt the gentle sways of the waves. After a few minutes, I felt a powerful feeling of lightness. I felt like an infant floating tenderly inside the most giving womb. I savored every flow of feelings; I lingered on such profound sense of freedom and purity.

It was an “un-photographed” moment, and it was divine. It was this little magical knob that made me re-enter a space of discovery—that the most unseen builds us, that what we can’t freeze empowers us to flow through memories, and that there are forevers that happen in one minute.

I wrote this poem as a reminder to myself, and a reminder to my friends who are too anxious about how they seem in their social media pages. I wrote this to hold and taste the richness and intensity of what it takes to be human.

I Love the “Un-Photographed” You.

I love the “un-photographed” you—
the way you form a circle with your hands to enfold the full moon.
The way your tears linger on the brink of your vulnerability
because you can never turn your back to beauty.
The way you smile at strangers with cool hair or beaming eyes;
or with a heart for random act of kindness.
The way you marvel at the littlest of details
unraveled by the morning.

And I love the way you become the moss in the darkness,
holding the water that sustains both my city and my forest.
 
I love the “un-photographed” you—
you, who offer full presence to me; to us.
The way we are with each other and blur past and future.
 
I love the way you look me in the eye as you say:
“this, this makes me laugh”
and I love the way you laugh—revealing your teeth, gums,
and the sheer stain of coffee, candy or tea on your tongue.
 
I love how you sit by my side, how some of your hair cover your face and your eyes as we talked—we reallytalked.
It feels like re-discovering who you are.
 
I love the “un-photographed” you—
I once showed you the scars in my heart;
You looked into them and said,
“These roughest scars are the most beautiful”
and you touched each of them tenderly without judgement.
 
I love the “un-photographed” moments when you raise your elbow
to show me your goosebumps,
and the way the breeze blows the edges of your sleeves or skirt.
 
I love the way you leave your heart in places and people for you to live—
I am reminded of a bamboo leaf that falls into the river and forms a ripple.
 
I love your awkwardness, the blemishes on your face (and the traces of oil on your forehead).
 
I love the “un-photographed” you—
the way you look into beauty (whatever its texture is) quiet and still (but in sighs)
I love the rawness in you away from here.

Words: Kristine Buenavista

This article featured in Elephant Journal, April 2016

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