The other person’s eyes

WEDNESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2004

I sometimes try to look at myself through the eyes of another person … and naturally I am convinced that this other person will notice, within a matter of days or at most weeks, all my anxieties and insecurities, and will retreat from the battlefield that is me as soon as politely possible.

What I don’t always realize is that this “other person” is a caricature with no anxieties and insecurities and embarrassments of her own. Or excuse me, no one is perfect – so she will have problems, “but they’re cute problems,” as the guy says in High Fidelity.

Truth is, unless she really is an emotionally underdeveloped entity, she will also be anxious about things, unsure of herself at times; she will wonder whether or not she appears to other people in the way she would like to appear; she will occasionally doubt whether or not she is and acts as the person she wants to be.

“Do I know who I really am,” she would wonder, “and what I want to do with my life? This guy comes over as so confident about who and what he is, what he has been doing with his life, and what role he wants to play. I wonder what he really thinks of me. Maybe he’s more attracted to women who are themselves convinced of what they want to do, and what they believe in … women like, Sarah X. I wish I had worn my hair differently the other night at the get-together … and I wonder what he’ll say if he knew what my mother had said to me the other day. And he just smiled politely when I told him yesterday what had happened to me a few days ago …”

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