What do you see?

Over the Summer Emily had a piece of homework.  She had to draw 5 Russian Dolls and then inside them she had to write;

  • how outsiders see me
  • how family see me;
  • how friends see me;
  • how I see me
  • 5 things about me.

I am not sure of the significance of the Russian Dolls, it seems they are used for Psychology theories and treatments and significance given to the size of each of the dolls.  Emily did all her dolls the same size, but coloured them differently.  At her age I wouldn’t expect her to give different weightings to the categories really, but as adults we might do.  Which of those do we put the most emphasis on or which is most important?

I worry a lot about how people see me and how I come across and that people don’t know the real me.

I don’t really know what order I would put the categories in either.  I suppose that outsiders are the least important, but it does depend on the situation at the time.

So how do I think people see me?  What wasn’t clear in the homework was whether it was how you think people see you or if you had to ask them how they see you.  Emily asked us for her family, but guessed the others as far as I know.

I make guesses about how people see me, from the messages (ie body language, comments, attitudes) that I get from them.

Click on show 50 to see full table

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Our perceptions are often wrong and my husband often tells me that people don’t see me the way I think, but they don’t show or tell me they feel different.  Some people maybe upset or hurt by what I have written, but it’s how I feel.  It’s also possible that some things and people make themselves felt more than others and the good things get missed.  I have thought of asking people what they really think, but it’s difficult to get people to be honest, no one is going to tell you to your face that they don’t like you or think you are lazy etc. Of course different friends and family will have different perceptions.

My PA upset me as she came in and said she didn’t know I was up!! I wish, I have to be up at 6.30! do people really think I lounge in bed all day?  I do need 2 to 3 hours bed rest a day and am limited to what I can do, but I always try and would never stay in bed and let my daughter get herself off to school unless it was really necessary.

Then there is how much of my illness and hearing loss affects how people see me and whether being ill disguises the real me.  Do people see me or the illness?

I have always thought this poem is great;

“What do you see, nurse… what do you see?
Are you thinking – when you look at me:
“A crabbed old woman, not very wise;
Uncertain of habit with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice ‘I do wish you’d try.'”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe;
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still.
As I move at your bidding, eat at your will:
– I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another;
– A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon a love she’ll meet;
– A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;
– At twenty-five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
– A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast.
Bound together with ties that should last.
– At forty, my young sons have grown up and gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
– At fifty once more babies play ’round my knee
Again we know children, my loved ones and me…
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years
and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart.
There is a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now again my bittered heart swells;
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
and I’m loving and living life over again;
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last;

So open your eyes, nurse, open and see…
not a crabbed old woman.
Look closer… see me!”

Author Unknown

This makes me feel so sad and that we should really try harder to see the person and respect them, we are often not the person that shows outwardly and hate being that person, but it’s often beyond our control.


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