Thursday, October 15, 2009
What do people see in me?
When people meet me, or encounter me in life, wherever I might be...who and what do they see?
How close to the surface are my thoughts? Are they written on my face?
I know what I am wearing changes daily, but do they take cues of life from what I have on my body, the clothes I choose, the way I present?
I wonder what I look like to them.
Often there is a smile perpetually there, but sometimes it is lost in concentration, or surprise. All the emotions that I know flit across my face on a daily basis are there for them to see. Strangers and friends alike.
I know they like to look at me. I like looking at them. Sometimes I tell myself stories about what I see. The ideas and thoughts that join themselves into internal sentences about what they are, what they are doing, who they are inside. What stories do they tell themselves of me? I often walk alone and tend to not travel in a pack. Sometimes it is with just one friend, sharing quality time and savoring each others company without distraction.
I know I am not a little guy. People tend to make space for me. Commanding attention is never difficult, but how much of that is my true self and not some vestige of military bearing? Presence and charisma is a natural state in my family, but how to temper this with the vulnerability that sometimes lurks under the surface of my skin?
Approachable is how I perceive myself, but after some feedback I know this is not always the case. "A big bruiser" is how Mary put it. Sure I still look military and yes I am 6'2'' and wide of shoulder,but how could those years of training and growth not be written onto my body? I take pride in my appearance, but am still always seeking approval?
I guess they see a man. A person often lost in my own little world. I know I behave as a child at times, but I refuse to self censor my actions and limit my curiosity. Someone my size goofing around always makes people smile, but I don't do it for the grins.
Something they always miss is my sexuality. People always assume I am straight. Sometimes they say the most hurtful things, thinking that in some way, I am a comrade in arms in their twisted and warped perception of people. What is male? What is gender perception. Why do they assume?
For once I would like to see a picture of myself that I don't recognize at first, a candid, caught unaware. To take it in, and really see me. We become accustomed to it all, it's normal and the expected. I look at this face that others comment on in the mirror everyday.
What or who do they see? Why do strangers talk to me? Why do some people stare? Do they like me, or merely the idea of me?
I am a person, a man. I have feelings too. Talk to me, not at me.
I guess the better question to answer later is...
What do I see in me?