See Me

Photo Credit: Flickr

“Why are you trying to make yourself small?” my therapist asked

“I’m not!” Involuntarily, I sunk deeper into the couch. “I just don’t need to have everyone noticing me all the time. I’m okay with my small group. A little community is perfect.”

“Then why do you need to write a book?”

“Because I want to teach. I feel I have a message I want to share. I want people to see it.”

This week, I spent 50 minutes with my counselor discussing my desire to write. More specifically, a yearning to spend time writing without guilt. The end of my session boiled down to this: Do I want people to see my message? Or do I want people to see me?

We all want to be seen, correct? Some are okay with an intimate group seeing them, others need the world to take notice. No one wants to be invisible.

Nerdy Black Hipster Glasses. Embroidery Hoop Art. Hand Embroidered.
Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios Flickr

High School was the worst. I had friends, sure, but I floated. In the San Diego County warmth, our school common areas were all outdoors. Each planter in the large courtyard was surrounded by a knee-high brick wall, your identity determined by the “wall” on which you sat. I had friends camped out at the cheerleader/jock wall, the cross-country/track wall, the drama wall, and yes, even the stoner wall. Which wall I ate lunch at depended on who “saw” me that day. 

No where on campus was the “I have no idea where the heck I fit in”  wall. Looking back over 25 years later, I wonder how many were searching for that particular one.

I didn’t have many boyfriends in high school, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. The guys were all attracted to my childhood best friend. And why not? She was/is gorgeous! I wasn’t even sure how to make myself “seen”; to naive to wear provocative clothing (thank God) and I didn’t know the first thing about flirting. In my teenage mind, invisibility equaled unattractiveness. 

Best $1 ever spent??
Photo Credit: Flickr Brandon Cripps

College was a different story. Six hours north of my hometown, nobody had ever met me. I could be anyone I wanted to be. I made sure I was seen, but not necessarily in a way I care to remember.

At 23, I met, fell in love with, and married a man whom I believed would desire to see all of me. But you know what? True love isn’t a Disney movie. (Gasp!) Edd is my partner for life, but sometimes when we really see deep into each other, it hurts. Those times, it’s easier to put on blinders just to make it through to the next day.

Photo Credit: Flickr Cur-Tuss

Periodically, I’m afraid of people seeing me. I know the science behind my depression – low serotonin, processed food, lack of exercise, blah, blah, blah. But ultimately, what am I looking for when I pull the covers over my head shutting everyone out? I don’t feel seen, therefore I go to great lengths to make myself unseen.

As a Christian, shouldn’t I only be concerned with The One who sees me? Why do I care what anyone else thinks as long as I know I’m a daughter of Christ? I have no answer to this question. All I can tell you is I do care about the perception of others. Probably a little more than is healthy.

Yay glasses!
Photo Credit: Flickr SewPixie

Maybe instead of “How can I be seen?” the question I should be asking is “Who can I see?”

How are you feeling today, really?
Tell me about the best part of your day.
You seem down today. Do you want to talk about it?
You seem down today. Do you want me to watch your kids so you can have some alone time?

What would life look like if we saw one another? Lets make a deal. You see me. I’ll see you. Now we both know someone will be watching.

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