January 27, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 31°F

BlogsDiary of a Freshman

Installment Fifteen: Look Up

A skill I have recently come to master is that of recognizing individuals based upon the top of their head. The acute angle of their downward sloped skull easily gives way to instantaneous recognition. One may underestimate the importance of this seemingly inconsequential skill, but in a society where heads are almost continually tilted to face the mundane glow of a screen, the ability to ascertain identity from this vantage point is crucial. Though I am familiar with many heads, few are familiar with mine. Instead, friends and strangers recognize me by my hazel eyes, which crinkle slightly as I grin, indicating my approachable and friendly disposition. They recognize me by the slight curve my lips make as I smile and by the dimple which presents itself only across my left cheek. The top of my head goes unnoticed because I believe in looking up. I believe in direct eye contact, in an acknowledging smile, in viewing the world in real time, devoid of a glowing screen. I believe in being present, in being self-aware, in savoring each moment, big and small. I believe in tangible memories, conversations, and emotions. However, I also believe in catching ourselves as we falter. Though I walk with my eyes forward and head up, I too have sometimes fallen prey to the magnetic pull of a screen; to the conversations which exist in a world I am not truly part of; to the thoughts of individuals I will never meet and, to photographs of distant places I have yet to visit As my head tilts down and falsified fingers of fictitious friends pull me out of the present, I work hard to lessen their grasp and return to the world in front of me. I believe everyone possesses the ability to diminish this invisible influence and I believe everyone will come to appreciate life in all its tedious intricacies once this influence is dulled. I believe that while the top of a head can indicate one’s identity, it cannot reveal the true person the way shared laughter, the feeling of a hand in yours, or the look in one’s eyes as they’re happy to see you can. And it most certainly cannot indicate the appreciation of the present, the life we are living, and in the fleeting instances which when gone, may never be remembered because you weren’t looking up.