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.
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.
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.