Monday, September 25, 2006

A Blind Eye

I get self-conscious when people look at me. I wonder what they’re seeing. I wonder what they’re looking at. I wonder how I look to them. Are they overlooking something important? Are they making assumptions?

Can they see what I’m not saying − what I’m wondering, thinking, wishing, praying, what I’m hoping they’ll extrapolate from the weird, kind of nervous behaviors that I make?

I care too much when strangers look.

In the best circumstances, I get a chance to unfold one-to-one, talking about a mutual interest. Make that a crowd and I might have to blend with the walls for safety. Hopefully I’m over trying too hard to fit myself in. I worry that I’m not.

But are they? Are they really looking at me? Probably not. I’m the one pointing their eyes this way. They aren’t. They can’t be seeing the tiny cracks I’ve always worried about. Why would they have such interest in such small things? Major ideas in my life are details in their world. My details are off their radar completely.

People are overlooking me entirely. This worrying about what they see is energy wasted, wearing me out unnecessarily, triggering noisy “look at me” behaviors that don’t define me, that get folks to look away, that make them and me uncomfortable.

I do them so folks will go away, so I can breathe. Isn't that strange? I get myself unable to breathe worrying about things that people, who aren't looking at me, are seeing.

Sometimes I marvelously over-think things, especially when I put myself in the center of the universe. How much more out-of-focus could my vision get?

I overlooked, looked right through, looked right past each person.
I didn't look in anyone’s eyes, not a single person’s.

I was a blind eye that made assumptions. That's the irony.

When I see people, I don't worry about what they are looking at.

Looking and seeing are different things.

−me strauss Letting me be


Tell No One said...

This is such a funny post. Funny because I relate in many ways and I smile at all the times I was outside looking in at myself. Aren't I supposed to be looking out at others? Not looking at me through their eyes. How presumptuous of us :) I just have to smile at that.


ME Strauss said...

Hi Katrina,
I used to do the same thing. I used to think that if I di that I would know what they were thinking. But thinen I figured out that I was only thinking what I would be thinking if I were behind their eyes. :) I wrote about it not too long ago here. :)

Dawn said...

I get myself unable to breathe worrying about things that people, who aren't looking at me, are seeing.

This line made me burst out laughing - self-recognition, like Katrina said. How much time have I spent worrying about stuff like this and getting myself all in a tiz? Way too much.

Liz, your post exposes our human nature for what it is, and offers me the chance to laugh at and forgive myself.

What a great way to start a new week! Thanks.

ME Strauss said...

Now I'm laughing. All three of us laughing. That seems such a good thing. A very good thing. Yes!

Janus said...

I just wonder if they are staring at a scar or something when they just look at me. I prefer them to kind of look over my shoulder until I know them. Paranoia is a scary thing.

ME Strauss said...

HI Janus,
I always like to hear your take on what I write. Your thoughts and insights open my mind. I bet they're wondering and wishing the same things about us.

Ned said...

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't staring at you.

Having spent the better part of my youth trying to become an inanimate object, such as part of a desk or some other piece of furniture, I was then thrust into a whole new world in my twenties when circumstances conspired to make me a public spectacle. After a bit, you get used to it. After a longer bit, you learn to play it.

You get good at playing the crowd when you spend a lot of time tripping over store thresholds and taking out the Hostess Twinkie display.

Let's face it, the word verification isn't meant to work the first time, it makes you do it twice to see if you really want to comment.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Ned,
How did you know about the word verification thing?

I'm laughing about the Twinkie stand. Gosh I didn't realize how VERY MUCH I've missed your sense of humor, or your tripping. You're not paranoid. You're a show off.