By Lydia on March 12, 2008 12:55 AM| | Comments (2)
I don't know why, but sometimes, coming home for the night, from the bar, or a party or wherever, I look in the mirror and look different. I think that my image changes rapidly. Most of this is due to fluctuations in self-image, so that mornings when I think I look like shit I assume my brain is playing tricks on me. I assume I look as I always do: a meshing of my best and worst. Sometimes its different. I looked at myself today and I looked younger. The face in my reflection looked scared and teenage and oddly innocent, and it is still frightening me too long after I put a towel over the mirror. Maybe my disconect with my physical self is getting larger. I have tried before to express how "lydia" is not actually me, but my representation. In this way my face is a representation of me, but has nothing to do with me. If this were true, though, why would seeing myself differently cause such a shock? It seems like I am really worried that my inner self is expressed through my appearance. That seeing my face shocked and pale made me realize how I feel. That maybe I feel small and that I can't say what I mean when I want to. I always thought when I was younger that being silent was a virtue. That the less I said the better, because then I couldn't say anything stupid. More and more I'm falling into a place where I can't say anything when I should.

I just read a novel in which a main character, an old man, is softened by a portrait someone paints of him. He see his loneliness in it, and he pities himself, and pitying himself, he for the first time shows tenderness for other people (Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March). This intriguingly goes against our idea that we have the most intimate access to our feelings, because we feel them. It's heretical to suggest, as you do, that sometimes we might not recognize them until we see them represented: "seeing my face shocked and pale made me realize how I feel."Is it possible that convention, far from a calcification left by feeling, actually teaches us how to feel?

if this is the associated press I want you to know I'm really flattered. thanks for the comments, i'm exceited to pick this up at the library.x