Friday, 10 August 2012

Something missing

Whatever I say, whatever I do, I never feel people are seeing the real me. I feel the image they have of me is always distorted, inaccurate, simplistic.

I do my best to explain myself, to express the reality of how I see the world, how I live my life, how I relate to others, how I react to tragedy or blessings. But I feel something is always missing, something that conveys the uniqueness of who I am. Something always gets left on the cutting room floor.

People know for example that I'm a vegetarian. But do they understand why I'm a vegetarian, why I'm so horrified by abattoirs, why I hate the mass slaughter of animals, why I loathe the sight of a butcher chopping a carcass? No, they don't, because I have no way of conveying the depth of emotion and antipathy and incomprehension that's involved. I can't express more than a tiny sliver of what's actually going through my mind.

And so it is for everything else that makes up my particular identity. It's like the layers of an onion. People see the top layer and they think that's what I am, but they don't see all the layers underneath, going right down to the core of my being. How on earth do I explain all those other layers, the bits that can't be seen but are all parts of me? It's frustrating and perplexing.

So most of the time I just give up. I decide there's no point in trying to explain the complexities of the real me. It would take too long, I don't have the words, and everyone would lose interest long before I'm anywhere near finished.

So I just reconcile myself to the fact that people don't understand me properly, they never will, and there are always going to be a thousand false images of me in circulation, bearing as much relation to the true me as a plot summary to a 600-page novel.

A novel that may not be worth reading anyway....


  1. Nick, let us be fair. How much effort do we put in trying to do exactly what you wish others would do in responding to us? People are worrying about themselves. They really could not be bothered to find out about what makes someone else tick! Except those very few who are very close to us, that is how relationships are.

  2. Ramana: Oh no, I'm not asking other people to make some huge effort to understand me. Why should they bother? What I'm saying is that I find it impossible to explain the real me to others. Somewhere along the line something is always lost in translation.

  3. non of us are open books... we think we are clear and and transparent but that's a load of bollocks
    as shakespeare said All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players

  4. Grannymar: You're a very good listener. The problem is at my end, not yours. Words are very inadequate means of communication.

    John: A load of bollocks indeed. And that Shakespeare geezer knew a thing or two. But I'm not even trying to act, just trying to tell it like it is.

  5. How about trying to explain the real you to yourself? That's the joy of journal writing, and of having your own blog. So what if you don't completely succeed? It's the process that counts. Oh, wow! It blows me away just thinking about it. Been there, done that and wouldn't have missed it for the world. Not that I have stopped.

  6. Monk: Oh, I've spent the last 5 years trying to explain the real me to myself (on my blog that is). Plus a lot of non-blog writing. I've succeeded to some extent but there's still an awful lot more that needs explaining.

  7. you need to do one thing, nick

    stop being safe

  8. Fear holds us back like nothing else, Nick and maybe you need to lighten up on the self-scrutiny a little. I am over analytical by nature also so can relate.

    As long as we are truly revealed to the ones we love I think that is all that is needed.

    Strangers don't give a f***.

    And I think you do a fine job of revealing yourself and your carefully thought out opinions on your blog.


  9. Kylie: Stop being safe? You reckon? It seems to me it's eaxctly those occasions when I say or do something unexpected that I get the blankest reactions....

    www: Funny, I always think I don't analyse myself enough, I just launch into things without really thinking what I'm doing. I guess I'm truly revealed to Jenny at any rate. Well, more or less.

  10. Oh Nick, I think everybody here has said what I want to say, so I'll simply add that it really doesn't matter how others see you, it's how you see yourself that counts.
    Please stop worrying about this issue, it'll drive you crazy!
    And let's face it. I'm a woman who uses the word 'skank' in the real world - imagine how people see me?! I'm sure that some people view me as someone who is barely literate!

  11. I'm not sure even I know the real me . . .I keep changing and am a work in progress!

  12. My my my, Nick. What angst. What you have described applies to all of us. It's the human condition. We want to be understood.

    We show many facets of ourselves to the world, depending on either what is expected of us or what we want to reveal. Some of us more transparent than others.

    I feel for you.I share your frustration. Take heart: There is mystery to all of us.

    As to 'image': I have a very clear image of you (on the strength of your blog and comments you leave elsewhere). So clear that if I walked into a packed restaurant with you in it I'd pick you out of one hundred diners - just like that. Whether that is of comfort to you or not, please do let me know.

    One piece of advice, Nick: Relax. You are a good man. And you fret too much. Which is not a criticism. To end on a melancholic, if maybe comforting, note: The moment my son said to me: "Mama, in the end we are all alone" was the moment I knew he had grown up.


  13. hey nick,
    what ursula said is kind of the same but different to what i said!

    the way i see it you put yourself out there in such a way that you are trying to be inoffensive and objective but we would get a different picture if you just relaxed and dropped all the defences.

  14. Scarlet: "Stop worrying about this issue, it'll drive you crazy" That sounds like the voice of experience. I should take heed.

    And anyone who thinks you're barely literate is being ridiculous. You're extremely literate. What's wrong with a colloquialism like "skank" anyway?

    Bijoux: Me too. Trying to pin down what I am is like trying to catch a butterfly.

  15. Ursula: You could pick me out of 100 diners? A fascinating thought. I wish I could take you up on that. It is quite a comforting idea in fact. You must have a clearer picture of me than I think.

    Kylie: Instead of trying to be inoffensive and objective, I should relax and drop the defences? I'd never really seen myself as defensive. I shall give it some thought.

  16. Better than being an open book though...

  17. Suburbia: Sometimes I think being an open book might be preferable. At least we'd all know where we stood, even if all my squalid secrets were on full view.

  18. Do you want them to see the real you? I don't. I'm glad they can't.

  19. Liz: If people could see the real me, I don't suppose they'd be any more judgmental than they already are, so I don't think it would make a lot of difference.

  20. I like this post. In itself, it is very revealing of a true you...

    Have you read James Joyce's "The Dead"? My favorite short story, and a very fine piece of writing about not being understood.

  21. Leah: No, I've never read The Dead. I must try and track it down.