Merry meet Friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of light and love!
“If I make a fool of myself, who cares? I’m not frightened by anyone’s perception of me.”……..Angelina Jolie
“I’m not interested in trying to work on people’s perceptions. I am who I am, and if you don’t take the time to learn about that, then your perception is going to be your problem.”…..Jim Brown
“Anybody who’s ever gone through a hard time – any outsider’s perception, no matter how much information they’re given, they have no idea what the person’s life is like.”….Amy Grant
The word perception is defined as…”the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses; a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression”. I realize that for most people “Perception is reality”…Lee Atwater. If that is the way something is perceived by an individual, then for that individual, it is reality. However, that isn’t always the truth. Our perceptions are borne out of our upbringing, experiences and other people’s perceptions. Attaching a meaning to or labeling someone or something because of a belief system developed over time, does not make that so.
We all have a way we would like to be seen in the world. As children we are told to “put our best foot forward”, “first impressions count”, and so forth. But that doesn’t indicate who the person really is, does it? Case in point, Ted Bundy. Bundy made such a “delightful” first impression that he was able to earn the trust of 30 women before luring them to a secluded place to murder them. How was he able to do this? He had such kind eyes and was so charming, that his first impression led to their last impression of a ruthless killer.
I am a light-hearted, fun loving, flirtatious, curious, “frisky mentor”, studious, intelligent, wild, free, orphic individual. Needless to say, this has gotten me into trouble in relationships. It was my “way of being” that caused some of the domestic violence in my first marriage. He was a jealous insecure man and didn’t know how to handle someone like me. Once in my first marriage when I was in the car with my then husband, I saw a friend walking down the street. I waved at him and he waved back. I was hit for that action because I was accused of him being “my man”. He continued to hit so much that a policeman stopped the car. Apparently he could see him hitting me from his car. The policeman asked if I was ok. Honestly, I was too afraid to say that I wasn’t. I thought I would get worse treatment when I returned home.
Sometimes in life I have felt the need to play small, to not be the person I am, for fear of hurting those in my life. I believe that even gaining weight, at various times over the years, has been a subconscious action because it stopped some attention I may have gotten. It became a defense mechanism, so to speak. It has taken me quite a long time to become the “me” that I AM and I am still becoming. I don’t always make the best choices in my journey of becoming, but the choices have been a part of my becoming. We learn as we grow, hopefully.
My mother used to tell my sister and me that a man could get drunk and stay out all night, and he would still be called Mr. Whomever in the morning. But, she said, if a woman did the same thing, she would be called a whore. I grew up in the fifties and I realize those were different times but have we really come that far? As I watched Scandal, on Thursday, Olivia Pope corrected the President when he called Abbie a “bitch”. She said that if a man had acted like Abbie, he would be considered assertive, a take charge person. Men and women are seen in totally different ways. Is that from years of conditioning, a skewed perception or because we have a patriarchal society?
I am not against men, I have two sons. I am however, against the perceptions that men have placed upon women. It’s not only men though. Women do the same thing. We label women who act differently than what’s considered the way a “lady” should behave. Mae West said, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” I don’t believe Mae was saying to totally disregard morals and to have no respect for one’s self. I do think she was advocating equality and not double standards. So in this regard, I guess I am considered a feminist or more likely a womanist.
I’m on my soap box about this, because this week I’ve had to deal with someone else's “perceptions” about how I act and who I'm expected to be. I am so tired of other people telling me who I am! I believe that I am open about my sense of self. I shared a post on Facebook that said, "I don't know how to act my age; I've never been this age before." I have a sense of humor and I like to play. I do believe in the Wiccan Rede: In all things, do as you will but harm none. To be sure, we can’t always know what action may cause someone harm. But sometimes, it’s not truly harm; it is the person’s perception of how they believe things ought to be. Most of the time it’s about the way they think certain actions of another make them appear. Ego, at its best.
It is my hope that we become a society of people who will take the time to get to know someone and not judge them based on perceptions. I wish to see equality for ALL. As long as we hide ourselves behind masks, though, people will never get to view the real us. Perhaps perceptions are all they have if we are not being real. We can use intuition and discernment to “show” us those we wish to know. I want to know as I am known. I want you to truly see me and allow me to see you.
In my first year, and on the first day of seminary at The New Seminary, we did an exercise that I have never forgotten. It touched me in so many ways. Each person went to another person and said these words; “Hi, I’m Michelle (or whatever the name). I’m here to be seen.” The other person then said: “Hi Michelle (or whatever the name) I see you.” We then reversed it for that person. This was done for each person in the room. Some people just did the exercise but some really took the time to see you. My first year dean, Sandra Bargeman, was one of those who I felt really saw me. I cried and it changed me then and there. Peabo Bryson sang, “Feel me, I want to feel the fire, yeah. Feel me, I want to feel you, Oh”. I know that the song was about making love but it was also about feeling on a soul level. Let us see each other so that we may feel the fire of each other’s souls and connect, really connect.
Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle