There were a lot of entries for the limerick competition and mine was not placed, but my essay earned a third place. When I sat down to write I surprised myself. I could not think of who I would most like to meet that I felt I could make into an interesting essay, except . . .
Could I—through meeting myself—understand these confusions and learn how they could be worked out? What is it about a turn of phrase that causes irritation? Why is it that a certain manner of being produces a less than friendly response? What am I projecting that is different to my intention? If I met myself I could see how that functioned.
I think that somehow it would have to be arranged that I was meeting myself without knowing that it was me. I guess I would have to be in disguise . . . and yet, would I recognise myself anyway? Photographs reveal so many different angles of my image, but would I recognise myself in person? I see myself in the mirror every day but a mirror image is not the same as face-on. I have only seen myself on video a few times and found that to be quite surprising – I moved differently to how I imagined. The reality of anyone’s appearance is far deeper than a momentary captured image, so my glances in the mirror cannot truly tell me what I look like. Recently I was going through old photographs of myself in my teens and twenties. I now feel that I looked rather delightful, and yet at that time I had thought myself to be fat and ugly.
I can imagine a number of advantages to the experience of meeting myself. Through getting to know my alternative me I could find out whether I liked myself. Am I fun and interesting to spend time with? Do I dominate a conversation or join in too little? Am I friendly and warm? Certainly I have my own ideas about the type of person I am, but viewed from the inside it is difficult to be objective. If I discovered that I did not appear to be a warm or welcoming person on first encounter, this would give me the opportunity to change. The things that I didn’t like, I could note for future reference and see how I could work on them.
I think, in the end, it is a bad idea. The only way to know whether I am the person I want to be, is to be aware of the reflections I receive from others, and to be able to recognise when that reflection is open or closed. Open reflections arise from people who are receptive to experiencing the me-ness of me. Closed reflections arise when something gets in the way of receptivity so that the reflection bounces off a preconception or prejudice. If I were to meet myself, the copy-me would still carry my baggage of preconceptions and prejudice, so my doppelgänger would not offer a more objective view of me than I currently experience.
So . . . let’s start again . . . the person I would most like to meet is YOU! And I promise to be as receptive to you as possible and reflect you as warmly and openly as possible, so that you like the you that you see through me!