I opened Lightroom today, which is my photo editing and organizing program, and I clicked by accident on the main folder; it showed me thumbnails of all the photos on my computer. I immediately saw my face and clicked on it to enlarge it. It is one of the scans of an old slide, probably from around 1996.
I find it a shame that you (or maybe it’s just me) can never look at yourself like you look at a stranger. If I meet someone for the first time, I will always get some impression of who this person is, and the longer we interact, the more detailed that mental picture becomes. It is a little bit more difficult if you only see the person in a photo, but even then, you could get some information out of it, even if it is just the type of cloth they wear or the setting they are in, it all combined tells you something.
As a good skeptic, I don’t attach too much value to what my first impression tells me, but it is at least something. If I look at myself in the mirror or at this picture from 25 years ago, I get nothing. Meeting myself would be nice, but that’s not possible yet; only on video can I see myself moving around and interacting with other people.
It is just something I find curious, and I wonder if it is just me or if this is normal. I think it has something to do with what I think about myself. In this picture, I see myself from 25 years ago, and I learned a few things in the meantime, but… I also know that what we think or feel about ourselves often has little to do with what others think or “feel” about us. There might be some truth in both observations*, but maybe, that what I think about myself conflicts with what the person on the photo shows me, which is why I have a hard time seeing anything when I stare into those eyes. As if I deny my past self.
I have to say that the longer I look at the picture, the more I see, so it is time to stop because all the staring and thinking dilute my first, perhaps purer, impression of what I wanted to write about today. You could say that I start to project what I might want to see onto the person in that old picture, something we humans are good at. Being real to yourself is hard
*Some people see your personality as not fixed but something that is constantly in motion. Every little turn or event changes you, even if it is just in the slightest. You are not the same as who you were yesterday, let alone 25 years ago. You can take this also literally, there is not one molecule in me that was also there in 1996. In that sense, I am now a whole other person, and only my copies of the original DNA know how to keep the whole façade intact, though I don’t understand why my DNA finds it necessary to take away some of my hair.