Have you ever been sitting alone in a public space letting off stinky farts? On the one hand, we might feel comforted by the fact that we are alone. Somehow smelling our own farts doesn’t bother us as much as smelling other peoples. Personally, I am strangely curious about my farts’ particular flavor profiles. Sometimes they’re highly sulfuric, sometimes they have a rotting vegetable thing going on. They have a certain compelling dissonance, like Schoenberg or a Michael Haneke film—you want to cover your ears or look away, but something draws you in.
On the other hand, our solitary comfort is an uneasy one. Since it’s a public space, we don’t want anyone to enter our orbit until the smell goes away. We do quick, dog-like sniffs, monitoring the rate of dissipation, hoping that when someone does inevitably come by, the fart’s intensity will have mellowed. But what if they come at the peak of its intensity? We fear what people will think of us, when they know we are capable of such odoriferous atrocities. We fear being scorned. Maybe they’ll walk away and avoid us in the future, affixing a scarlet F to our blousons. Maybe no one will like us when they know our acrid insides.
Self-expression can be a bit like farting in a public space. We feel compelled to emit something, to share our unique funk, but we are afraid of what will happen when other people are exposed to it. What will they think of us when they smell, see, hear, touch or taste the things that lurk inside of us?
Here are some questions to ponder today:
- What is the fart you are trying to conceal from the world? What are you holding back, hoping no one knows about you?
- Are you content to worry in isolation about your fart being smelled?
- Or are you willing to invite people into your Dutch Oven? Are you willing to be known inside and out, giving people the opportunity to appreciate your particular funk?