The Monk Inside the Jester



The above picture is me. I imagine that is obvious to most people, even though I’m not exactly dressed up for the red carpet.

The shot is about a month old or so. Despite its overall rough look, I got to think not long after I took it (on a lark) that it is one of my favorite pictures of me from the last few years.


For one, I am looking at “you,” but clearly ensconced somewhat by the hoodie. Withdrawn, if only by a few inches of cloth, into a world, and awareness that is my own, away from the world.

Far from clean-shaven, I had been in the shower earlier in the day. My hair tends to only curl in the front like that after a recent shampoo. I’m going for comfort on a cold day, but still aware of some social aspects of being “presentable.”

I’m not smiling, though I am just messing around with the camera on my phone, mostly.

And it is from messing around, and not trying (too hard) that a higher quality image comes about. Believe me I could have spent an hour trying to manufacture this picture, and not come close.

And, because it is a selfie, I did it by myself. I was alone. And yet, here I share it on my blog. This website may not be as viewed by as many as I would have hoped, but it’s quite public.

Finally, as is the case with so many black and white photos, a fuller, deeper range of my “aura” my “persona” comes into focus because of, and not in spite of the lack of color in the shot.

In short, this photo is in many ways representative of so many dichotomies within me. The introvert out in the world. The Autistic among the neuro-typical. The monk within the jester. My novels and plays as well as my sensitive skin issues and obvious lack of fashion concern…all here.

There is zero bullshit in this photo of me, in other words. Into every life, every day, there is a little bullshit, just to get by. And for someone like me, there is a lot more than average, what with masks and expectations and such. I don’t lie to the world, but I have to be a bear that dances for it every once in a while in order to move forward. Sprinkling of bullshit. Exhausting.

Yet, for a change, not in this shot. It’snot a headshot, or a goof-around selfie, or a pic snapped at a party. It is, more than even many good photos, the most authentic image of Ty Unglebower captured in quite a while.



  1. alinehan

    This is a compelling photo of you. And I enjoyed reading your interpretation of it. A very introverted thing to do. 😉

  2. Thank you. And yes, quite introverted. Perhaps the definitive introverted photo of me thus far!

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