I was getting my hair washed. I like getting my hair washed. Note that this is not the same as washing my hair. Washing my hair is a routine, pedestrian chore that goes along with showering and brushing my teeth. Getting my hair washed is something that happens at best every six weeks when I go for a haircut. Getting my hair washed is a bit of luxury — having someone else slowly and expertly massage your scalp is a substantially different experience than hastily scrubbing a bit of shampoo and conditioner over your head as you scramble to prepare for work. But I digress.
I was getting my hair washed, and a strange thought occurred to me. This young salon assistant, who I know absolutely nothing about, can see a part of my body that I can’t see myself. (Apparently strange things happen inside my head when you rub the outside!) The thought intrigued me, and it got me thinking about all the ways in which other people had views of me to which I had no access without the aid of some form of technology.
There’s a large wall of mirrored glass which reflects me walking to the elevator at work each morning, but I don’t have a clue what that mirror displays when I am walking away from it.
There is an exclusive club of doctors and nurses who have been up close and personal with parts of my internal workings that are not normally on display.
I never get to see myself sleeping.
Then, because this is how the inside of my head works, I began to think about the less tangible ways in which other people might see aspects of me that are not readily visible from my perspective.
For example, I wrote recently about my “impostor syndrome” dream and all the anxiety that my subconsciously imagined classroom represented. In my real classroom last week, my students painted a very different picture in the feedback they provided.
Both, together with a third perspective: the parts of me that only I can see. Because you may be able to see the back of my head, but only I can see what’s in it.
Unless, of course I decide to offer you a glimpse. And unless you agree to accept it.
Which is why I write this blog. And why you read it.