Few of us can honestly say we know who we are. Why? Because people see themselves through a physical and mental veil.
You look in the mirror before leaving for work. You might even comment out loud, “I look great today.” Later in the day, you visit the restroom to comb your face, and the harsh lights negate what you thought earlier.
Reality is a cruel creature, and so is lighting. Consider a store dressing room. You enter with a pile of clothes, and some of them make you look terrific. But, if the dressing room had the lighting installed in the workplace restroom, few of us would pass the glare test.
The same is the case of how we see ourselves. If you are perceptive and see yourself as others see you, you are fortunate. Some of us, like Hubby, was blessed with that ability.
Hubby was a quiet and observant man on a level those dedicated to people watching can only hope to achieve. On our wedding day, before we left for the church, Father asked, “Are you sure about this? He is so quiet.”
“What do you expect? He can’t get a word in edgewise surrounded by a group of loquacious megalomaniacs,” his daughter replied with a chuckle. (Our family were champions at talking over each other. And things were often loud.)
So one day, the quiet man said to his betrothed, “You are quite shy.”
When the young woman thought about his comment, she realized he was right. This lady always preferred and still prefers small groups rather than a crowd. Crowds tend to be impersonal, and she always gravitates and sticks with the microcosm of people she knows.
Case in point, the decades of holiday gatherings spent with both families. Periodically, this lady wandered outside or to another room for a moment of solitude. The rest of the time, she sat with three or four people.
If she is comfortable within a group, the average person assumes she is outgoing. Otherwise, this lady sticks to the periphery of the crowd and observes them. Hubby saw her, but until he made the observation, she was unaware of her true nature.
Another example of this lady’s preference to remain in the periphery of large crowds happened on two occasions at work. One was when then-President George W. Bush visited. The other was during Donald Trump’s visit. Except for when someone directly introduced her to Mr. Bush. She watched the hoopla around both men from a distance. Fascinating how people fawn over those they perceive to be celebrities.
Over the years, Hubby shared his observations about the rest of his and his wife’s family. Funny how it took all those years for her to see how manipulative one parent was. Sometimes a nudge to pay attention and also time and distance give us a clearer perspective of people.
If one tends to be chronically clueless and blunders through life, the unexpected also becomes part of their existence.
For example, country living is not all fresh air and space. To survive country life’s little speed bumps, one must pay attention. But this lady is rarely that careful.
Whenever we walked across the pasture, Hubby remained aware of his surroundings, including where he walked. A good habit to have since he did come across the occasional copperhead snake.
Now his wife heedlessly plunges her hands into thick weeds in the garden. She often walks around with her head in the clouds. If a snake made an appearance, she would more than likely grab it or step on it.
When her sister-in-law encountered a snake, she jumped in the air. Before her feet touched the ground, she had chopped the snake into three pieces with the hoe. That is awareness.
Recently, this lady pulled open the door to a seldom-used storage shed near the garage. She found a mother skunk nursing her babies. Thankfully, there was no spraying involved.