Day 613: I don’t know what I look like

When I was driving into work yesterday, the traffic was awful.  It was okay, though, because I knew my first patient had cancelled. I don’t know what I looked like, behind the steering wheel of my car, but I assume I didn’t look scared about being late.

As I dealt with what looked like the last of a long series of multiple detours and cars battling it out for survival of the fastest, the Talking Heads tune  “Life During Wartime” came on the radio.

Here’s the version I heard yesterday:

(YouTube video found here)

I don’t know what Talking Heads looked like while they were singing the studio version of that song, but here’s a live performance version* of that song:

(YouTube video found here)

Yesterday, when I heard the line “I’ve changed my hairstyle so many times, I don’t know what I look like,” I wondered … could that be my next blog post title?

I haven’t changed my hairstyle that much lately (although I’ve been considering it), so only the second part of that line made the title, today.

Why did I choose that title — instead of another one that looked different — today?

Because I don’t know what I look like (and I hope I am not the only one who feels that way).

I think it’s difficult to tell what we look like. We are on the inside looking out, as everybody else is on the outside looking at those parts of us we can’t ever really see.

As Robert Burns said, in his poem “To a Louse

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

(Or, in the current vernacular:

And would some Power the small gift give us
To see ourselves as others see us!)

(as quoted in Wikipedia)

While we can’t know what the louse in Robert Burns’s poem looked like, I will tell you that I’ve been quoting Mr. Burns elsewhere (sometimes, it looks like, erroneously):


Och.  I’m glad Robbie Burns — the Bard of Scotland — cannot see how I mangled part of his famous poem “To a Mouse.”

I don’t know what it looks like I’m doing in this post, but I better get back to the topic, fast.

So … can we see ourselves as others see us? Do we want to?

As I had many thoughts about perception, yesterday morning, I wondered what people were seeing as I passed by them.

IMG_8653 IMG_8656 IMG_8660 IMG_8665 IMG_8671 IMG_8674 IMG_8678 IMG_8679

I suppose I could ask the wonderful people in those last two photographs (Julia, Alex, Kevin, Erin, and others at the Starbucks I frequent at work) what they saw. Yes, I could use the antidote of Reality Testing, a very effective cure for the cognitive distortion of Mind Reading.

I wonder what Julia, Alex, Kevin, Erin, or the baristas whose names I do not know would say, if I DID ask them? I’ll let you know, if I get up the courage to ask the question.

Finally, as a fan and a student of stand-up comedy, I shall allow the late Joan Rivers to have some last words:

“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”

Thanks to Talking Heads, to Joan Rivers, to all the talking and non-talking heads I looked at yesterday, and to you — of course! — for looking at this, today.

* I don’t know if you want to look at a third version of “Life During Wartime,” but here’s the Stop Making Sense performance I looked at, with wonder, during the 1980’s:

(look at the YouTube video here)

Does anybody have any questions?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 613: I don’t know what I look like

  1. yeoldefoole

    What a great way to start my Friday! Thank You!

  2. yeseventhistoowillpass

    I love your walk down life’s lanes:)

  3. laurajfairbanks

    “Finally, as a fan and a student of stand-up comedy, I shall allow the late Joan Rivers to have some last words:

    “I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.””

    Funny, she played Betty White’s twin sister on Hot in Cleveland last season …

    ” “What have you done to our face?” Elka asks.

    “Me? What about you? Natural aging? Disgusting!” her sister replies. “

  4. A few months ago I cut all my hair off. I haven’t had short hair since elementary school, but now, my long locks are gone 🙂 (I am growing it back!) But, fall is coming up, and when it’s fall I start coloring my hair. Purple. And as the purple fades it becomes a pinkish things, so on goes the purple again, until it’s spring time and then I go back to natural.
    So, you might say that others are never sure what I will look like from day to day! 🙂

  5. Ann, you must have been scrambling around in my brain. I was just the other day looking into the mirrorr, realizing that how I see myself in the mirror, is the opposite of how other people see me. Mirrors confuse me as it is, because of the opposite affect. What is right is actually left, and what is left is actually right. I really have been wondering what I look like when others see me, or are talking to me. I’ve become very conscious of my facial expressions, or how wide my smile is, trying to figure out if this is better, the tilt of my head better, and so on. Literally, I am driving myself nuts! So, I have begun letting go of trying to figure out how I look and just be ME, regardless of the how I look senarios. Hehehehehe ….. I mean really! Hope your day is a good one!!! Love, Amy

    • Wonderful coincidence there, Amy! I am glad you are accepting yourself, exactly the way you are. Always happy to see lovely YOU, anywhere.

      • Thanks, Ann. I have NO idea why I started this to begin with. I’m glad I am just letting it go though. I was really driving me nuts! LOL Have a great weekend!!!! Love, Amy

  6. Thanks for this! Talking Heads is one of my all-time favourite bands and Fear of Music one of my all-time favourite albums 🙂

  7. I guess it’s OK when we like how we feel, Ann. Otherwise David Byrne might never have never worn his trademark floppy big suits! Have a great Friday. I’m sure you look marvelous, and I hope you feel even better than that. PS: I often wondered how Joan (pause in respectful tribute …………….) felt about those facial alterations she had done.

    • It looks to me like that is way more than OK, Mark. Good point about DB and the big suits, and thanks for your good-looking certainty and hopes for me. I guess we’ll never know, now, what Joan thought about her looks.

  8. Primo Levi. an Italian writter wrote a brilliant short story about this. Called Miramar – well worth reading! Thank you for the posts! Good reading!

    • Thanks for this primo comment; I look forward to reading the Primo Levi story. I don’t know what you look like and I’m very glad you are here!

  9. Maybe we are on the same wavelength. I use the Robbie Burns quote on my book before a particular exercise (not therapy, something I came across on an enhancement course).

  10. From the photos at Starbucks, I’d say you look like a friendly, approachable woman who people enjoy being around. 😉 I also love the two quotes by Robert Burns. I learned them from my Mom and they are great life lessons.

  11. Ann, you are hilarious!! I empathize with you, knowing the traffic in Boston. Isn’t everyone late everyday?? Cheers MicheleElys

    • Maybe we Bostonians are all late everyday, but it feels to us that we are on time because we are in sync with each other. Does that make any sense, MicheleElys? Your comments always cheer me up, I have to say.

  12. Emy Will

    Talkings Heads! What wonderful band. I just wish they stayed around for much longer and gave us prolonged pleasure 😀

  13. Pingback: Day 675: Eyes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Pingback: Day 681: Not love | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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