Rothko’s chapel restoration, by Paul Hester. From here.

We do not really see people we love until we see them with a stranger’s eyes. And we do not really see ourselves fully until we see ourselves with a stranger’s eyes.

There is something you said and it stuck in my mind, like all those things memory keeps to ruminate over. Not overthinking, just unpacking them at times. “It is obvious I do not see you like that”. But it wasn’t. Obvious, that is.

We assume people see the evidence, but they don’t. Because of trauma, because of voices in their heads put there by other people. By adults from their childhood, by partners, by friends. In the end, it does not really matter why people cannot see the evidence; masks obscure vision, after all.

But it stuck, that phrase. The fact that strangers see us in a certain way speaks not of our need for validation, but adds to perspectives. Multidimensional beings. Maybe I do not see myself as kind, but if numerous strangers tell me that, there must be a side of me I did not acknowledge. A mask I am projecting. Imposter syndrome…

I do not know what you think of me, your voice adds to the cacophony of voices in my head: “if only you would lose a couple of pounds, a kid from your neighbourhood cannot get into that college, you are not worthy of me, you are too loud, too fat, too old, too tall, too…” Simultaneously too much and not enough. A living breathing paradox. Schroedinger’s awesome :)

I let those voices be. They see masks. Masks I choose and masks they put on me. I am tired of them… But they add multidimensionality. Feels like I am living numerous lives, numerous scenarios. There is an authentic me and then there are all these single layer Rs living in the memory of all the people I have met. I am an actor in an infinite number of movies. A protagonist in one, supporting actor in others and background cameo in so so many…

I do not really see you. I see a version you present, authentic to an extent, perhaps. But I assume. Too much. I fill in the blanks with stories, with fantasies, with hurts and scars. Nothing is obvious. Because our minds do not deal with black and white. I see several dimensions of you, just as you see several dimensions of me. Paintings worth exploring. The gloriousness of a tableau shows up when things are not obvious. Obvious is that Rothko used red. (some of…) His paintings are red. But what a world each painting contains. I’d rather not be obvious or know for sure how you see me… It would be so incredibly boring.