Perception is a funny thing.
Sometimes I catch my reflection and think, “I look good,” then scramble to take a selfie. In my head, I perceive the picture will be lovely, my expression full of deep meaning, perfect for FB or Instagram. Then, to my utter dismay, the picture is often terrible, a mockery of my perception.
My smile is forced and crazy, like a driver who has been pulled over by a cop and is hiding crack in the trunk. My hair is flat. My nose looks like a zucchini and what the eff is going on with my neck?! It is a representation less like I imagined and more deserving of a full on Jimmy Fallon, Sara with no h, ‘Ew!’
So, if our perceptions of ourselves are sometimes overly fly, a teeny bit self aggrandized or just plain delusional, how can we truly know who the hell we are?
Does the answer lie with our loved ones? I imagine that those who perceive me on a daily basis, who I perceive to be the most perceptive, are the ones who might perceive me best.
I decide to investigate. To wit:
MY CAT: I am opener of the food can, the provider of black clothes over which one can reverently sprawl and shed copious amounts of hair. When Mittens perceives that I’m distracted, aggressively cursing and plucking white fur tufts from my cashmere, I perceive he is purring…Yoouu’rrrre welcommmmme.
MY DOG: I am holder of the leash, liaison to grass, trees and nirvana inducing repositories. I am dispenser of belly rubs, a magician who disappears for what is certainly many thousands of hours and then re-appears looking exactly the same. I am also opener of the can.
MY HUSBAND: I am the romantic partner but also nasty chore Nazi and the most annoying person ever (capable of instantaneously transforming into the most delightful person ever). I am emissary of domestic routines, provider of nourishment (opener of the can and aficionado of take out pad thai). I am the best thing he ever did, if he perceives what’s good for him.
MY CHILDREN: I am the Uber service, as well as provider of essentials purchases from Forever 21, Etsy and smartphone technologies. I am an accidental genetic collision, a sometimes mentally unbalanced nudge who, although loving, wields unfair control of the metaphorical can and all contents within, until the age of never.
MY PARENTS: I am…not quite what they expected. But perception, shmaception. They want to know why I care what other people think.
MY FRIENDS: I am an endearing neurotic who worries about work, jiggly thighs in shorts, (die, set point, die!) the diminishing quality of pad thai and humankind’s impending Armageddon. I am annoying, but caring, sincere and even a little funny.
All told, it might be safe to assume that perceptions are subject to the unreliable eyes of the beholder. Who perceives you?