You don’t see what I see

March 28, 2008 at 8:40 am 3 comments

Love it or hate it, the first time you lay your eyes on your fresh-out-of-the-oven photograph, time stands still. A space of a second, yet an impression that would end with either a heart-breaking disappointment or ecstasy. For a split of a second there, you have become a stranger to yourself! A spectator to yourself! An outsider!

You ofcourse get used to it, this new version of “you”, and can recognize it next time (without a doubt, not even a second glance) that it is/was “you”. But it definitely takes getting used to! That’s why, if you haven’t torn it to pieces the minute you saw it (and spend the whole day re-running it like an old mistake or mystery you can neither undo nor figure the head or tail of in your head) you look back at it time and again; trying to figure out where it all went wrong; why it all went wrong; why the effort never pays of, or why it did this time. Every time you look at your fresh-out-of-the-oven photo, you end up being something you never saw coming!

The disappointment doesn’t necessarily has to do with the desire to look good, or atleast that’s what you tell yourself or whoever came with you (and witnessed your shame, your embarrassment as if they haven’t known you for years and their opinions suddenly matters). It’s a desire to appear on the glossy piece of paper (to the camera man, the person who did the developing, the girl who handed it to you in a neat little pocket) the way you “feel” yourself to look like! Was that so hard? Making you look like what you “really” look like, what you feel you look like, every day and especially that day?!

The question follows: “what” do you look like?

A scary thought, isn’t it? Not knowing who you appear “as” to the outside world? Because the outside world has moods too, that changes. Attitudes, that are biased-by-association. Pasts. Presents. Futures. Just as the eye of a camera isn’t all needed to record a picture and as it takes all kinds of lighting, chemicals, angles, etc., people don’t only “see” you because they get eyes to see you with. You don’t come out “the way you feel you appear” in those eyes! The processor affects it just like bad lighting, wrong angle and faulty chemical combination would mess (or even burn) your photo. Which is why the way you appear to one person can never be the same with the way you appear to a different person. Infact, the way you appear to one person can change within the space of time, as can be witnessed by the change of countenance when people who hasn’t thus far bothered to give you the time of day find out that you aren’t as poor, or lowly, or “uncool” as you appear. You see yourself completely transformed in their eyes: almost a changed person :-)). So much influences a focus, camera or human’s. Thus “Mamo Lela, Metaweqiayw Lela” :-).

You need neither psychiatrists nor a lover squeezing your hands affectiontely to tell you u can never see yourself the way you are, clear as a sky on a bright morning! But then again, even the sky isn’t what it appears to be, is it?. It is a combination of colors too indescernible for our limited senses, a mere trick of the eye!. Every one of them agree are never unbiased or untouched about yourself. You are never impersonal! But the knowledge that you go about life, your day, based on only assumptions of your “appearance” gathered along the way, like a blind man feels his way through life hoping this is the bed and that the lamp, can be jarring!

It would have been a good thing, won’t it, if we can get one chance in a life time, a single day, when we can leave our body and watch ourselves from the outside? Follow ourselves around and know what we look like in given situations?! What a relief that would have been! All the disappointments, lacks or over confidences it would have spared us!!.

Perhaps you are one of those people who say they do not care what they look like because they know who they are, bla bla (although I’ve yet to meet a person, man or woman, who said that yet didn’t obsess about something in their bodies: a height, a pot belly, a receding hair). But, even then, can you really “know” who you are on the inside?

Oh I have no doubt you have some “idea” as to how you’d react in a situation. And if you are <25 (physically or mentally), you may even claim to “know” how you’d react in a situation! But people would tell you that’s what growing up teaches you. That you’ll take yourself by surprise when you are in them situations, time and again, until finally you give up like me and, like Jeremiah, say “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (17:9).

Dare I suggest that we are people who can even take God by surprise? Can even *he* see us the way we, on some monochrome planet where emotions and assocations and loves and hates don’t exist, “are”?!  

Ofcourse you’d like to know what you look like! And why not?! There is only one you out of six billion, you’ve been with you all your life, you are your most intimate friend! Most importantly, or maybe not, you’d like to identify yourself in a line up (yeSetan joro ayismawna) without murmuring under your breath that person looks like you, but you are not really certain. You’d like to see yourself in the mirror, for once, and not be affected by the light, the angle, the expectation, the disappointment (all these human made stumbling-blocks that forbid you from really knowing what you really look like). And, for once, you’d like to pocket a glossy paper on which your real “look” is printed, something more solid and definite than a “feeling” and an impression!

Is that ever possible? What do you really look like? The “you” reflected in the eyes of those that love you? Those who hate you? Those who are indifferent to you?! The person you see in the mirror? The person that appears on a glossy piece of paper?! Or the “you” that you feel you look like?

Or are you all those impressions (“you”s) put together. And more? Like with the seven blind men and the elephant?! Or are you those impressions put together and refined.. into something you would… like?! 🙂

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

On love & “yenuro wudinet” “Qonjowochu”

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sistu  |  March 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    twice in a row…Pure Brilliance…. Anteere-werq (sp right?) Anteere-almaz, had we been South Africans [Tho am not sure how that would play into the “what do we look like” psychosis. Maybe then (and there, in SA) that whole q would have become irrelevant. Asa gorguaree, perhaps? I (me, sistu) am bad, ale Micky]

    Let me make my rounds and will be right back.

  • 2. RasX  |  March 31, 2008 at 4:28 am

    What a trip it was to read your last blog. Akin to diving deep in the ocean. Holding your breath the whole way then finally coming up for air. It was deep too. You are really able to hold your breath for a long time. The final paragraph was refreshing. Like poking your head out and shaking the water from hair to get deep breaths in.

  • 3. abesheet  |  August 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    An interesting piece on Mirrors and how we view ourselves, as well as how others view us on Radio Lab.

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