Skip to content

How do you see it?

July 10, 2009

Food for thought, and please throw in your opinions here.

How well do any of us really know each other?

I’m not talking blogging.  Well, I am, but I’m really talking any of us. At all. Ever.

There are so many ways to gather information about people:  spending time with them, watching the way they interact with other people, watching the way they treat the person carrying the plates of food at a restaurant, watching how well they handle their football team losing the Super Bowl, analyzing their musical interests, listening to other people’s thoughts and impressions on them, perusing their facebook profiles, following them on twitter, reading their blogs.

We all know somebody else’s story, but we never really know the WHOLE story.  I know for a fact that my best friend, whom I’ve known since the first grade, has kept some major things from me, things I knew she didn’t really want to discuss so I never pried into them.

I still know that there are things I don’t know and I know I probably won’t ever know them.

So what it comes down to is the way we perceive one another.  We’ll never have every single piece of the puzzle.

And I think a lot of people are totally fine with that.

Sometimes you give someone the impression you know them and it freaks them out a little bit, and they start throwing reasons at you why there’s no way you could know, and denying that they were truthful when they said this or claim melodramaticism when they did that.  “Oh? That thing I said really seriously and quietly with worry splattered all over my face without being prompted much if at all to do so?  Yeah. Totally not even that big of a deal.”  Um, excuse me, but totally a big deal.  They’re just rethinking how open they were with you and really want to be with you because for some reason, building new relationships is kind of terrifying in certain circumstances.

Even when we don’t realize it’s terrifying.

“You mean I’m scared?

Oh. That’s what that is.”

I’ve seen it a hundred times and it’s getting easier and easier to spot.

But me? I kind of like thinking some of you might know me.

I like thinking that the next time I meet any of you, watching me sweep my hair out of my face 823 times and roll my eyes toward the ceiling when I’m trying to think and speak at the same time might give you an even better idea of who I am.

I know that there’s no way you could ever know my whole story, I know there’s no way I can communicate to you the way I really am through this medium.

But what you see is real.  There is a person behind these words and you know and I know that it’s not the whole picture but it’s part of it and it’s REAL.

It’s something that’s universally true.  We are never our whole selves; there is always something missing.  We are all too complex to be our whole selves all at once, and some people only ever see certain sides of us.  Some people are lucky enough to be around enough or in the right situations to see multiple sides of us.  Who I am in a huge group of people at a bar is much different than who I am sitting at a table with two or three other people with chips and salsa and a pitcher of margaritas between us.  It’s different than who I am when I’m on a couch with a ukulele and a tiny audience, it’s different than who I am on a stage with a microphone and a huge audience.  It’s different than who I am when I’m hanging out with my two year old cousin singing songs about brushing our teeth, and it’s different than who I am when I sit down at my computer to write to you.

It’s all me, but not everyone knows the same side.

And they perceive me differently.

But it’s still all me.

And I’m okay with the different perceptions you all may have of me.  I know I can’t control the picture you’ve painted of me in your head, I can only control the paint I give you to work with.  But I think the very fact that I’m here, writing, putting my music out there for you to hear (much of which is VERY personal) and the fact that I was willing to drive to Chicago to meet some of you in person and the fact that I’m having multiple three hour phone conversations in one day and the fact that I’m dancing around work once the store closes and singing at the top of my lungs because it makes the time go faster means I’ve gotta be ready for people to have opinions about me.

And I think if anyone really expects to remain unknown when we are all consistently living our lives in front of so many other people, online or not, then that person is just fooling him/herself.

So… how do you think people see you? What are your different sides?
Am I right or am I wrong?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kendall permalink
    July 10, 2009 8:54 am

    I think Miss Courtney, that you have just given me my next blog post. But after the weekend, all ready writing one for today.

  2. July 10, 2009 9:08 am

    I believe you’re correct…it’s difficult to know any given person because people like myself have so many facets like a diamond that it’s difficult to know every little thing about me unless you have known me for several years. It’s not hiding things on purpose either, it’s just so many different things that make me…me! :) Good question!

  3. July 10, 2009 9:55 am

    People & I have come to the conclusion that I’m just a hodgepodge. I’m fine w/ that. It makes me different and I love the fact that people have a hard time classifying me. Instead of being just one stereotype, I can cross barriers. One group may think that they know me but then be all like “WHAT? You do this too?” It’s not like I enjoy keeping people on edge, but it’s nice to know that any person could be more than meets the eye (cheesy movie line quote ftw).

  4. cari permalink
    July 10, 2009 2:15 pm

    check it out and see what i think. :)

  5. July 10, 2009 10:29 pm

    This is a deeply unsettling topic for me. I don’t like that postmodern (and modern too, probably) notion that we can never really know one another, that what we perceive is all we get. I want people to be able to have a free exchange and for an essence to be transmitted between each other. I think that’s what you’re going for, and I like that.

    I used to belt out some Stones when I was a dishwasher. “Sympathy for the Devil,” top of my lungs, at an Amish restaurant. It was great.

  6. July 10, 2009 11:32 pm

    I think that sometimes it’s hard to adjust to the new reality of meeting someone in person for the first time when you’ve known them on the ‘net forever.

    When we’ve not had a lot of experience being in the same room with someone, it’s instinct to manage image and perception. I get caught off guard a little when I meet someone who reads the blog, or even when my friends who read mention something I never told them, that they only read. I think losing the ability to manage first and second impressions drives some of this “you can’t really know someone on the internet” idea.

    Because I know some of my blogger friends better than I know people I’ve worked with or ran in social circles with for years. The nature of the medium is such that you can’t make a meaningful contribution without revealing yourself a little. Sure, people manage perception in blogging and social networks, but when my words and pictures and ideas are consistently broadcast through these channels, you’re going to pick up on moods, themes, traits, patterns. There isn’t anyway not to- we publish pieces of ourselves over years- and that’s hard to keep a strong filter on.

    All that said, I will add one caveat. There is a great, great deal to be learned about someone from their touch, and that’s a level of intimacy that can’t be reached through a broadband signal. Or maybe I just need a real hug…

  7. July 12, 2009 9:28 am

    I give to you: My (and Billy Joel’s) opinion:

    I mean…I wouldn’t say he’s universally accurate with that, but…what I’m saying is, I’m with ya. We can’t always be all of us. While, simultaneously, we ARE what we are at a given moment BECAUSE of everything about us. Ahhhhh paradox.

  8. tabithablogs permalink
    July 13, 2009 11:39 am

    Do you ever read someone’s words and feel like, “I could have said EXACTLY that”??

    This was one of those posts. Except for the part about going to Chicago and having three hour phone conversations.

    But I feel exactly the same way about the way I present myself on my blog. It’s real, but it’s not ALL of me. It never could be.

    Anyway, great post. I wish that whole “Beam me up, Scotty” thing worked so I could hang out with all these cool bloggers at the snap of a finger.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: