We stand for the sending song at the end of the service and I stare down at my shoes, remembering how I’m wearing my son’s socks this morning. Reaching up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind my ear, it hits me: Everyone else has a better idea of what my hair looks like from behind than I do.
You thought this was going to be a serious post, didn’t you?
I allow myself a minute to follow this childlike (childish?) train of thought and realize it’s not only my hair, but really everything about the way we look is more familiar to other people than it is to us.
I don’t watch myself laugh in a mirror.
I don’t know what I look like when I’m angry.
I can’t recognize fear on my own face.
I’m still shocked when I see photos of my profile. Shocked, I tell you.
It’s why we get all weird when we see ourselves on video or when we hear our own voice on voicemail. I look like that? I sound like that?
Sometimes I’m surprised when someone comes up from behind me and says hi. I’m all, But how did you know it was me? I wasn’t even facing you!
Like a child playing peekaboo, I still secretly believe people won’t recognize me when I’m wearing sunglasses.
As familiar as I am with myself, I’m on the inside looking out. And though my knowledge of myself is thorough, it isn’t complete. I need other people to help me see myself fully.
And so we sit across small tables in coffee shops and dare to ask curious questions. We let ourselves say what we really think rather than what we’re supposed to think.
We turn ourselves around and whisper expectantly, will you just tell me honestly what my hair really looks like back there?
Our friends, they show us what we can’t see.
While we are the ever experts at highlighting our own weaknesses, shortcomings, and inabilities, our friends reflect back beauty.
They remind us who we really are.
They remind us we don’t have to do this alone.
They are the eyes outside our bodies.
I’m learning to trust what they see.
And just when that feels too risky and vulnerable, remember they don’t know what their hair looks like, either.
Oh, how desperately we need each other and how often I forget.
Join me on The Bench tomorrow where I’ll share in my monthly letter to subscribers how I’ve been suffering a bit from decision fatigue and how depending on the “eyes outside my body” have helped to ease it.