Trying to Hide From the Prying Eyes of Others

So, it seems I have a Talent for Trouble (or trouble making). Nothing too seditious, but the potential is latent. For someone whose self-portrait more closely aligns with that of a retiring country mouse, to be labeled a provocateur is rather shocking; but there are those who see me differently than I see myself. While it’s true that I, uh, regularly assess a situation for entertainment value and then invent ways to increase the ridiculous factor (primarily by convincing others to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do), this is a trifling business, a nothing. Others hold contrary opinions as to my guilt. In fact, over drinks, someone I don’t know particularly well pegged me as an “instigator” of sorts. Wow. “I most certainly am not,” I gasped with the slightest hint of a smile. (Actually, the label really does sorta suit me.)

 

What label suits you?

Oh! You hesitate to answer? Hmm. Verrrry interesting.

 

Now, this whole business about instigating/trouble making kind of horrifies me, but deep in my heart, I know it’s apt. In fact, as one astrology book described it, I am a Mischievous Maverick, possessing a “naughty allure.” Good grief! What should I make of this diagnosis? Well, it doesn’t matter because I just don’t let everyone see this part of me—it doesn’t suit me for certain types to glimpse that much of my underlying nature. But perhaps it’s not as hidden as I believe.

 

Astrology references aside, how do others perceive you? If you could eavesdrop on their conversation, what would they say were your most noticeable characteristics? “He’s got a nice, quiet confidence.” “She’s angry around the edges.” “Be careful—he’s a loveable rascal.” “That one’s a total narcissist.” “They’re the smartest person I’ve ever met who’s continually on a quest for something.” “He feels sorry for himself but is too lazy to do anything about it.” “He’s never stopped loving her.” “She’s missed him everyday of her life.” Not all observations, of course, are going to be correct over the long haul or even fair, and so much depends on the observer’s state of mind, but when the same thing gets said over and over, there’s probably a grain of truth to it.

 

So, what grain lies at your core? If someone has labeled you as “angry” or “confused” is that an entirely unfair assessment? And, if not, how does it feel to have someone see you so clearly—especially when it’s something you’re desperately trying to hide? To be honest, when people have said things to me, about me, which I know are true it makes me feel naked. “How can they see that much?” I wonder, horrified to realize they’ve seen past all my protections. That’s the level of vulnerability I experience. In a world where so much of our energy is devoted to projecting a certain funhouse image, discovering that our efforts have not been 100% successful can be enormously disconcerting—but also freeing in an odd way.

 

What do you feel when someone really sees you?

Scared? Relieved? Confused? Something else, entirely?

 

Of course, there are many different parts to ourselves. We can be angry about certain disappointments but also abundantly loving in other ways. Conflicting qualities are a trademark of the homo sapien. I can be a rabble rouser in some arenas and a pretty conventional foot soldier in others. What deep truths about yourself do you harbor? And who has seen them in you? Because it’s those acute observers (whether they play large or small roles in your life) who can serve you best should the time come where you no longer want a convex mirror.

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