Seeing One Another, Episode 128

In many parts of the world, as we recorded this conversation, we’re having to take up practices of physical separation from one another in order to keep each other safe. But there are ways, even when we are physically distant, that we can come into a deeper, more full contact with one another than we might usually experience, and such contact with one another’s depth is also a return to ourselves. A conversation about living and relating to others and ourselves in a loving, receptive, contactful way, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Here’s our source for this week, chosen for us by Lizzie:

The Affliction
by Marie Howe

When I walked across a room I saw myself walking
as if I were someone else,

when I picked up a fork, when I pulled off a dress,
as if I were in a movie.

It’s what I thought you saw when you looked at me.

So when I looked at you, I didn’t see you
I saw the me I thought you saw, as if I were someone else.

I called that outside—watching. Well I didn’t call it anything
when it happened all the time.

But one morning after I stopped the pills—standing in the kitchen
for one second I was inside looking out.

Then I popped back outside. And saw myself looking.
Would it happen again? It did, a few days later.

My friend Wendy was pulling on her winter coat, standing by the kitchen door
and suddenly I was inside and I saw her.
I looked out from my own eyes
and I saw: her eyes: blue gray transparent
and inside them: Wendy herself!

Then I was outside again,

and Wendy was saying, Bye-bye, see you soon,
as if Nothing Had Happened.
She hadn’t noticed. She hadn’t known that I’d Been There
for Maybe 40 Seconds,
and that then I was Gone.

She hadn’t noticed that I Hadn’t Been There for Months,
years, the entire time she’d known me.

I needn’t have been embarrassed to have been there for those seconds;
she had not Noticed The Difference.

This happened on and off for weeks,

and then I was looking at my old friend John:
: suddenly I was in: and I saw him,

and he: (and this was almost unbearable)
he saw me see him,
and I saw him see me.

He said something like, You’re going to be ok now,
or, It’s been difficult hasn’t it,

but what he said mattered only a little.
We met—in our mutual gaze—in between

a third place I’d not yet been.

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash