Indeed there is.
You might think it is being respected. You might think it is being appreciated. You might even think it is being heard.
I think it is being seen. I believe that being seen is more important than being loved.
I’m not talking about selfies, a mirror or my Instagram feed. I am talking about being seen to my very core. Being seen in all my psychological mess. Being seen in my glory and my despair. Being seen and acknowledged and recognized for all the beautiful and bitter truth my soul can muster.
I want to be seen.
Unfortunately it sounds simple and it should be easy but it is not. We are all quick to “love” because love is such a sweet, emotive, understandable action. Sure we comprehend that there are many different levels of love (the love for a spouse, the love for a child, the love for a friend, the love for a pet) but we spew the word freely in any number of scenarios. We spew because it feels good. It feels good to feel love, to do love, to say love. We like feeling good.
But to really see someone, well, that’s a whole different story. Because the truth is – you might not love what you see. When you really gaze into the deepest pit of a person’s foundation you might see grubby dishonesty or dirty disregard. You might see sloppy emotions and unresolved anger. You might see chaotic confusion and untidy torment.
Love is snug and ordered. To risk really seeing someone you must risk turbulence and disarray.
Fact is we are programmed from an early age to avoid turbulence and disarray at all costs. Snug and ordered wins the prize! Messy gets you detention. So we develop an armour to keep all of our messy buried. We want to win, dammit!
But what good is a prize when it is won under false pretenses?
I realized very early in life that I was a messy girl. My father and I locked horns regularly in my stubborn teenage years. I was a good student but never afraid to challenge a teacher (or a professor or a theatrical director) if I thought they were off-base. I had a mouth on me and the brain to back it up and I wasn’t afraid to use it. This made life very messy. Both my first lover and my first husband hit me. Just to shut me up. And I remember a later beau once saying to me in a fit of rage, “If I was ever going to hit a woman …”
He didn’t. I think he knew at that point I would have him charged.
But the point is I didn’t spout off because I wanted to be punched. I spouted off because I wanted to be SEEN. I wanted the mess building up inside of me to pour out of me. I desperately wanted to share the mess so that it would stop encumbering me. I felt very alone in my mess and I just kept scrapping and sparring in the hopes that someone – anyone – would say, “STOP! I see you. It’s okay. I see all of your mess and I still love you.”
My 2nd (much better) husband never came close to hitting me. When my mess reared its demanding head he just left. Always emotionally and sometimes physically. He would say, “I don’t need this!” and go for a walk.
He didn’t need my mess. He didn’t want my mess. He absolutely REFUSED my mess.
And so I learned to stifle it. Hide it. Bury it.
As we all know, anything that kicks and screams and demands attention and is then stifled and buried? Well, it’s going to show up someday. And when it does it’s not going to be pretty.
So that is why I now BEG to be seen. I allow my unkempt soul fee reign. I encourage my pugnacious heart to speak freely and fully.
And those people who prefer order? Those people who select silence? Those people who don’t need this?
I encourage them to build a life elsewhere. Without me. No hard feelings, honest. YOU are the architect of your own cosmos.
As I am of mine.
I want to be seen.
It was the movie “Avatar” that brought this to light. Those lovely, big blue people, remember? They said, “I see you.”
It was so much more than I love you. So. Much. More.
I think “I see you” meant “I see your soul.” I see beyond the façade, beyond the armour and beyond the ridiculous simplicity of Disney love. I see you and I see your heart and I see your mess and I see your substance and I see your potential. I see ALL of you.
And I’m still here.
To me, that is so much more important than just being loved.