Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Do You See What I See?

Zagreb, Croatia, June 2007. Mom, DH and I checked ourselves in to the Regent Esplanade for a couple of nights of pampering and swank before we bid farewell to the Balkans. We decked ourselves out in our finest, and went down to the in-hotel restaurant for a meal to remember.

Zagreb- Dinner Trio
Since we were kind of already living beyond our means, we decided to go big. Champagne cocktails before dinner served with a divine amuse-bouche, a soup course, throwing ourselves at the mercy of the sommelier for our fabulous dinner wine (that complimented our salt-crusted bream wonderfully), cognac with dessert. We each had something different for the sweets course and shared, as gauche as that may be for such a fancy restaurant. We laughed often and lived every moment of that meal to the fullest, knowing that such an event wouldn't happen often in our lives.

We were happily looped by the cognac stage, and waxing philosophical. The object of our attention was the candle that had nearly burned out its life during our meal. The dripping wax had sculpted it into amazing forms, and we all saw different things in the fabulous shapes.

Zagreb- Linda and the Candle

It was a small lesson on how we all see things differently. The same object can be seen by five different people in five different ways- and all are accurate descriptions of the object. Perhaps each individual description doesn't encapsulate the wholeness of the object, but represents facets.

Today I said goodbye to a girlfriend who was leaving for a long trip. She hugged me and made me promise to write, saying as I left that she looked forward to my letters, as they'd no doubt be funny and entertaining.

It made me pause as I walked away. Me, funny? I totally don't see that about myself. I'm the over-analytical girl with OCD. I'm the shy, socially awkward wall-flower in any public situation. I'm the list-maker and the planner, but I simply don't see myself as funny.

I have another girlfriend with a cutting, evil wit. She's funny as hell and wicked (in the best possible sense) and just having her in the room make me feel better about everything. Her smile and personality is genuine and lovely. Unless you ask her. In her own eyes, to herself, she's broken and strange. She thinks she looks at people strangely and that she is mocked behind her back and stared at. She simply doesn't see herself, her essence, with any level of clarity.

This is the thing I have been working to understand about myself... about us all... for years. I see myself as shy- but I bet no-one else does. (Some people might see me as anything but!) My girlfriend sees me as funny, and she's not wrong... I suppose I do have a facet of me that can make people laugh, and she brings that side of me out. There are days when I feel like nothing but a huge pile of contradictions, all tied together and vying for dominance. And it's all true, to some extent.

Challenge how you see yourself. Try to look at yourself through someone else's eyes. When someone says you're compassionate, for example, but you don't see it in yourself, try looking harder. It's there. We are this crazy hodge-podge of our own perceptions and the perceptions of others, never the same from one minute to the next. Don't accept anyone's opinion of you as being all there is to the story. To that matter, don't accept your own opinion, either; we are far from unbiased and clear when we look inward. We are gloriously complex creatures.


lookinout said...

Very interesting post! Thought-provoking

~V said...

Hm. I think you're funny too and I've told you several other things that you were surprised at. I think you sell yourself short sometimes my friend. You're an amazing woman -- and you are only 1 of 2 amazing women in my life. I think your entry is very true. People sometimes say nice things about me that I don't really see either, I'm just 'me'. I really enjoyed your entry. Beautiful photo!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

We often have very clouded opinions of ourselves and we don't see ourselves as we truely are. I often think that downplaying ourselves kills our full potential.

Secondly, good for you, taking advantage of a moment to celebrate life in a swanky style. We often hold back and regret it later.

Bergère de Lochaber said...

I so agree with you! I wish I could see myself as others do. In fact I love to know what people think about me (as long as it is kind). I love your sense of humour. I was just telling my sister about that very thing last week. I feel like we 'click' which is such a blessing.
And yes, I am thinking about a retreat thanks to your idea! hee hee.
p.s. lovely photo of you three. I see the girls look so much like Papa!

AlisonH said...

Lovely photo! And much to think about there. I think one of the great things about being able to write down one's experiences as how much the writing clarifies things as we go along.