Direction and Degree

They say perception is reality. 

Do you ever stop to think that looking in the mirror is not you looking at reality? It's not. I mean, for starters, the image is transposed (your right is on the left and vice-versa); it is a reflection. Heck, if you want to take it further, you might make an argument that when it comes to one's self, we never quite know reality.

Now, maybe you are thinking, what about video? If you see yourself in a video, that's really you, right? I'm not sure if it's any different, the scientists can call me out on this whole argument, I would imagine. It seems when you have a more full image of yourself to work with, you can more easily do the mental gymnastics to flip what you see towards what it really is. But if I look in the mirror and see a pimple on my left side, it's really on the right, and I only know that once I do the brain flip-flop.

And don'r even get me started on how the eye's retina sees things upside down and once again, the brain makes the adjustment in the....wait for it...blink of an eye.

I say all that to say all this. A great many of us are perceiving things that are not reality. Of course, perception is way more than visual. There are the five senses of course, but there are more factors at work. I'm nowhere near smart enough to list them all (at least I perceive I'm not; maybe I am. MAYBE I am just too lazy to think about them or look them up).

A few things happened today that have me in this mode of thought. The first is some gender dysphoria that I think I won't get into right now, other than to say the mirror is damn tricky...there are times I see myself in it and a smile will form on my face (no idea why, other than the hair, I suppose) and other times there just really seems like there is nothing here to see.

Secondly, I was talking to a couple different people and without getting into my dysphotic details, the conversations went around to how they felt about their body images. We all admitted in one way or another that we alternately either see nothing good, nothing too bad, or often both sides of the coin in the same image. Since perception is NOT REALITY, we have the ability to see anything and everything, very often at the same time.

It gets confusing; it can get overwhelming. Until you remember it's not reality anyway, most of the time. I could argue that someone in a body intended for a gender that isn't yours is a reality that is harder to deal with than thinking one's new oil painting looks like a 3-year-old painted it, but until you have the full context, you can't really make a comparison, nor should you try. If you strike 2 people each on their big toe with a hammer, unless you have a heartbeat monitor handy, you can't know for sure who is in more pain. It's a waste of time.

The third thing in this whole "perception vs. reality" deal with me today is a movie I just watched called All I See Is You. I won't give it all away, but it involves someone who is blind and in a marriage getting some of their sight back. Both parties face a massive adjustment, not just the one who was legally blind in both eyes before surgery. That whole situation seems more a reality problem, as in the reality changes, but any solution deals with how the people deal with it (which, to me, involves their choice in perception).

My takeaway, for the moment, is to realize that thoughts are fleeting and hardly static in nature. You can change reality by making choices to improve something you don't like. Or, you can not do that and potentially fall prey to a deteriorating perception of self. If you are in the process of losing five pounds, you would consider that heading in the right direction and are less likely to notice the pimple on your cheek than if you merely are THINKING of losing 5 pounds. In that case, not only does that pimple look HUGE, but you are likely to double-down and call yourself fat. The mirror is freaking lying to you. Don't let it!


  1. Great and a great reminder, one I need often. Thanks fir sharing.


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