Once again, I’ve had an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.
Appearing in public with a black eye is a very interesting experience.
I was warned by a friend that people might be insensitive and make bad jokes about how I was injured, but I haven’t really experienced that.
Only a couple of people have said anything about it. And thankfully, those were all kind, empathetic comments and questions.
Instead, people have responded mostly by staring, and then trying not to stare. Or at least not get caught staring.
I have to admit the bruising and swelling is really quite spectacular.
This has really given me an experience of what it’s like to be other. Different. Set apart.
And just how much a genuine, kind connection can mean, when you’re feeling different.
It doesn’t matter so much what’s said, but just to be acknowledged.
Was I the same?
It makes me wonder how I’ve behaved in situations like this before. Have I been the one trying not to stare? The one who wouldn’t make eye contact and acknowledge someone else. Have I behaved in such a way as to make someone feel set apart?
While I’d like to think that I haven’t, I’m sure I have. I’m sure most of us have.
Opportunities to learn.
With this new experience and knowing, I hope it will be different in the future. I want to remember there’s a story and a real person behind every face. There’s happiness and sadness. And a whole bunch of other things.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is really see someone and simply acknowledge them. The perfect words don’t matter. What does: Eye contact. A smile. Nod. Hello.
I see you.
Regardless what has happened, you matter in this world.