seeing and being seen

If you saw someone you could not fail to love them. You would see aspects and feel something like pity but more like fellow-feeling and other aspects and feel awe and recognise them in yourself.

I want to be seen. I am a human being. Human beings are beautiful.

If you do not want to love anyone you can restrict what you see. No, not looking at that bit. So we agree to look at a tiny bit of the other and talk of nothing at all.

-How’s the campaigning going?

Or it’s not even a part of me, it’s like what I thought was a shiny badge but it’s not even a sharp piece of gravel from a road builder’s yard, not even as beautiful as that, as it’s not real.

-Well enough. It’s great when a Tory says they don’t trust the Tories any more.

I can’t do that for long. I recall: I used to read the Telegraph, and then one day there was an article by AN Wilson

(Noted aesthete, fogey, and biographer of CS Lewis)

and I thought he’s having a laugh. It was so right wing I did not think anyone could believe it. The following week, it was the Sunday Telegraph, there were several letters saying “how wonderful to read The Truth from AN Wilson!” “Wilson tells it as it is!” And I didn’t want to read the Telegraph any more.

That was a small part of me.

-Shall we arrange another of these meetings?

I don’t say anything. I wait to hear what anyone has to say. So someone says they have run their course and there is no need. I feel cut off, and afterwards text someone who says if I had requested the meetings continue that would have happened, and if I request it now he will pass that on.

If I beg, they may in their mercy cast me a scrap.

Are Quakers transphobic? Not in a way they would realise it, but their aversion is worse for being unconscious. The irritation is greater, the fellow-feeling less.

If you want to hate me, or make others hate me, describe me. Turn me into a construct of words. Make me an abstraction, either as an individual or as part of my group. Of course not all trans women are criminals but enough of them are that it is reasonable for women to be frightened of them. Women should not be frightened so trans women should be excluded. See? It’s simple, it’s rational, it’s loving.

One of the purposes of natural justice is to humanise the accused. Audi alteram partem, hear both sides, is commanded because if youdon’t your sympathies naturally attach to the person you see. The person you don’t see is not a full person.

Hear both sides before making a decision. Otherwise your decision is prejudiced. Hearing after making a decision, you are biased against changing your mind. So you should put off making your mind up and always be open to changing it.

I thought of going there. I would hold them in love. They are loveable (see above) and my capacity for fellow-feeling and compassion is huge. However, when I find myself unable to communicate I regress to the distress of a pre-toddling baby. I could find myself in such a state.

I may, still. I wish to humanise myself in their eyes. However, if they are too far gone, they will not see me. They will see a problem not a person, even if I am there.

H told me when she was a child her nose was considered ugly, and she was mocked for it. I had never thought of it. She explained why. That is thought ugly? Since then I have noticed noses. Before, I considered eyes, mainly. Certain faces I thought beautiful or full of character I see through other eyes. That nose would be called ugly, so the face is, so the person is. It is a loss. My friend is not ugly.

3 thoughts on “seeing and being seen

  1. There once was a schoolboy who lost one eye in an accident. He was from a poor family, so all they could afford was a wooden eye to replace the one that was lost. When he returned to school, the other children shunned him.
    At the same school was a girl who was usually ignored by the other students, unless they were making fun of her large nose.

    There was to be an end-of-the-year dance at the school, and the parents of both the boy with a wooden eye and the girl with the large nose were urged by their parents to attend. Both reluctantly went to the dance to appease their parents, and each took a seat on opposite sides of the room. Just prior to the last dance of the evening, the boy, who had been catching one-eyed glimpses of the large-nosed girl throughout the night, worked up the courage to walk across the room to where she had been sitting all evening.

    The boy cautiously asked the girl, “Would you like to dance?” The girl, taken with joy, exclaimed, “Would I, would I, would I?!” The boy retorted, “Big nose, big nose, big nose!”

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      • Exactly! It also shows how people’s low self-esteem can cause them to misunderstand and jump to false conclusions. Having a victim mentality impedes one’s growth.

        This old joke was funny to me when I was a kid, and even though I still get a chuckle from it, I have to admit that I have had experiences in my life that relate to both the wooden-eyed boy and the big-nosed girl. The story can take on a meaning that only a trans person could understand, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

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