inside out

Yesterday, here in Utah County, it was a cold Fall day with cloudy skies and a brisk feeling in the air. I was getting ready for work and really wanted to wear my black casual skirt, newly washed and dried black cotton tights and black clogs. With a white long-sleeve t-shirt I felt pretty comfortable and professional. Things were looking pretty good, because in my job we need to dress nicely but also be able to kneel or sit on the floor, and even be willing to get splattered with...well, about anything. This is special ed.


I love my colleagues, both because we work well together and because I just like them as people. As the students were watching a video yesterday, one of my coworkers and I were chatting about how some people portray themselves as being so confident and put together in public, but they end up actually being insecure and introverted in a smaller setting. That really interesting battle of public self vs. private self. My colleague had been trying to contact a very friendly, outgoing neighbor to help out with a funeral dinner that was being held in their church building. No answer, no returned phone calls. The neighbor's private self felt either uninterested or unworthy.


We never really know what is going on inside someone's home or inside someone's heart. It is a mystery even to those of us who may consider ourselves good readers of people. "Without even realizing it I think we all have two sides" thought my public, well-dressed self, as my private self waddled off to the ladies room to hike up my shrunken, fresh-from-the-dryer black tights.

8 comments

Gideon Burton | October 15, 2008 at 11:45 PM

The older I get the more I respect the mysteries of others' lives. The story is not just different; it's huge. And it's likely as inscrutable to that person as it is to a stranger. Our public selves are not half of who we are. I think they are a scrap of a fragment of a notion of a part.

LisAway | October 16, 2008 at 7:39 AM

Interesting! That is so true. It's why we shouldn't envy others. It's also why we shouldn't judge!

I love your closing paragraph.

I think about this a lot when it comes to blogging/bloggers. We really don't actually get to know each other that well, although it sort of depends on the blogger and what they write about. I've been thinking that I would love to meet some of you when I ever come to the States, but then I feel a little scared, too! Our blog self isn't necessarily the same as our public self which is usually quite different from our private self. Sheesh. That's a lot of selves!

Juliana | October 16, 2008 at 9:04 AM

People often make the mistake of assuming that I am a confident, social person, when in reality that is what I want to be... not who I am. Then they read my blog and no longer harbor those misapprehensions. :-D

My BIL says we live in a "confessionary" culture. Interesting notion since my blog includes the word "confessions" in it. The internet is a strange place where people generally have a different public persona than they do in "normal" life.

Each scrap of a notion of a part of a personality is another puzzle piece. I often wonder what picture people see when they try to fit my pieces together... The wonderful thing about it, though, is that my puzzle is constantly changing and being refined.

Miss Brandy | October 16, 2008 at 11:27 AM

So interesting. I am an open book, but I turn to the pages I like best usually. I have a few VERY close friends that I tell ALL to, but for most others it is pretty superficial.

I spend a lot of my day trying to figure myself out. You hit the nail on the head Bishop. I don't know that I could represent myself any other way than superficially since I don't really know what I'm all about.

My husband said something this weekend that was so funny and out of character that we got a good chuckle out of it. He said something rather gossipy about a friend or ours -huh??- When I looked at him funny he shrugged and said, "Well, I don't KNOW, I'm just judging." We laughed and laughed.

That comment should follow a lot of my conversations.

Heather of the EO | October 16, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Yes, what Lisa said. So interesting. And I too think of this about blogging a lot. Which self am I putting out there? All of them? Do I switch it up? I think I do. My silly self, my introspective self, my faithful self....
I love the tights analogy at the end!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel | October 16, 2008 at 4:14 PM

So true. We have many sides to our one self and we are often selective, maybe not always intentionally, as to what side we put out there. I am a walking contradiction myself. I can stand in front of company VP's and confidently give a presentation on revenue maximization. But in a smaller group, like church meetings, I am too worried about speaking up. Sometimes I almost feel like I'm dying inside. Even on my blog I change personalities a lot.

Very thought provoking post. I love it.

Heidi Ashworth | October 16, 2008 at 7:09 PM

That last line made me chuckle. This is such a deep, convuluted, going on and on forever subject. I am grateful you brought it up--this has been on my mind today because some of my sisters (sisters are the best and the worst, you know?) are having trouble reconciling the blog me with the me they know. I think some of them think my blog stinks, in fact. And that I stink. Figuratively, not literally. Just saying. Anyway, it all makes life so interesting and is a good reminder that we should not judge because only God knows what is truly in our hearts. Are you a special ed assistant? What grade? I have known so many during The Big Guy's lifetime and I think they are such special people. It's not as if the pay really cover it, right? So, you are there for a different reason (well, that on top of the money)and I think that is really wonderful.

Connie | October 17, 2008 at 10:26 PM

Your tights had been washed. I know people who never wash their tights. Maybe it's because they shrink, I don't know.