“All I want is for them to see me, to really see me”, she said. It was almost 11 pm and my roommate had just finished her third glass of chilled Lychee Sake Martini. There was a hint of sorrow in her voice as she recollected her last few dates with the men she had met through a dating site. I had repeatedly asked her what she was looking for in the few years that I had known her and I had always heard a different answer. On this night, she had become conscious of something deeper and it was time for a different question. “What have you revealed for them to see?” I asked. “Enough for the men to be attracted to me but not nearly enough for them to recognize me”, she clarified.
I’d wondered about a few things after that point. Maybe it was not what she was saying, but the things she wasn’t that were getting in the way of everything. Or maybe the men she had mentioned did not possess the skill to process the information she was giving out. Often people focus on the facts of their lives, their current situation, work and status; everything that relates to doing. This is the first gift they offer to anyone of interest. It is common to create a façade to please and impress and I see how this is part of building curiosity. But, moving into a more intimate space requires a deeper revelation of sorts. The funny thing is no one really sees themselves totally. When you stand in front of a mirror you see what’s in front of you…your face, your neck, your chest, but never your back. You have to stand at an angle, twist your neck, move around and readjust perspective to examine your back. Yet, out there in the world, we expect other people to see us for what we are and to recognize our tenderness as a whole. What if the process of being seeing wasn’t about one set of eyes, but two? What if my roommate was really looking for a mirror to reflect her own soul and for someone who would help her discover it?
When you share your inner most self you allow for recognition to happen. Sometimes we are afraid of being seen for what we are and this in turn causes us to fear being available to a world we long to enter. The greater damage is how we cease to be a vivid presence to our own selves. We choose the wrong mirrors and have to deal with false reflections. Then we forget to be joyful and alive when we meet another and quietly postpone being seen. We slowly become fragments of feeling and look for secret hideouts to be some part of ourselves. We’re never fully discovered. We end up being slices of cake and never the whole meal.
Question is do we care to let the so called half-truths of social acquaintance fall away so we can be who we are? Or do the opinions and impressions of others take precedence and do we then let ourselves hibernate in little caves and try to live with whatever light we can manage all the while longing to be seen?