Perceptions and Projections

Sometimes it’s funny hearing the things strangers think about you. First impressions can be so limited though, can’t they? The parts of yourself that you give to the world has a direct link to the way people see you. And people are judgemental by nature, though not necessarily always in a bad way. We see people without knowing them, and formulate an idea in our minds of who they are, based on the way they look or act; our perception of who they are. And yet in that glance, that first impression there is no way we can possibly understand the complexities of the people we see and silently judge.

Today, a former colleague of mine came over to chat. During the conversation, it was mentioned how a man she knows had referred to me as ‘the little Goth girl’. It’s not the first time someone has given me that label. My boss told me of a conversation he overheard a couple of months ago, during which two men I had never met or seen speculated whether I was a ‘goth’ or an ‘emo’. And according to their logic, the only difference is that the former ‘wants to kill everyone’ and the latter ‘only want to kill themselves’.* I’m not quite sure what impression I gave that prompted such a discussion. But that’s exactly what I mean.

I’ve been called many things by people who don’t know me. The nerd girl, the one with the glasses, the one with big tits, geek, goth, bitch…and the list goes on. People tend to focus on one visible thing and use it as a way to identify someone else. And so if they never get to know you, you will forever be that one thing in their mind. I know I’ve done it. There’s people I see all the time at work, and I think ‘there’s the woman who seems so cold, I bet she’s pretty when she smiles’. Or ‘there’s the old guy with the snap back cap and the headphones, is he trying to recapture his lost youth?’. These judgements could be spot on, or entirely inaccurate. And I’ll never know because I’ll never speak to these people.

Often times, the perceptions people have of me are pretty standard. I’ve got resting bitch face and I wear a lot of black, so I’m usually either a Goth or I look angry all the time. But these simple identifiers put me in a tiny box, where one small aspect of who I am becomes the foundation for who people think I am. Once that foundation is in place, there’s no further need to delve into my personality. I will forever be who they want me to be.

The truth is, I’m not usually bothered by who people think I am. Most of the time, the things I hear about myself from the mouths of other people aren’t entirely wrong anyway. It’s just interesting, I guess, the things I seem to project. I wonder, you who read my blog, who do you think I am?

*technically, I’m actually neither. I googled it, and I’m pretty sure I never invaded the Roman Empire, nor am I a style of music. Though given how there are about a billion different definitions depending on what you read, it guess it really depends on your interpretation of the word. See? Life is all about perception.

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