Perception is a funny thing. While not inherently bad, when we are unaware of our perceptions they get us into trouble, cause unnecessary pain and worry, and allow us to live in our own little bubbles of deception by clouding our views of reality. We rarely see things as they truly are, instead our past experiences, current moods, wishes, desires, and general states of being at any given moment cloud how we see people, places, and situations.
I like to think of myself as strong, literally and metaphorically. And, truth be told, I am in both senses. I am not, however, as physically strong as I like to perceive myself as being. I know I am nowhere near, nor will I ever be, competing in the Strong Woman Competition, but I do think that for someone my size I can kick some butt…only a much smaller butt than I had thought prior to today. My friend is working on her Pilates certification, which means I get free private lessons while she puts her new knowledge into practice. More than once, okay more than three or four times, during our session today I found myself totally unable to execute an exercise as smoothly as I thought I could. And then the kicker came at the end when she effortlessly showed me a stretch and I found myself virtually unable to push this stupid piece of wood attached to weighted springs down to the ground. Perception shattered! My little arms, even after all of the recent yoga, are still puny and pathetic. They are what they are, as strong as they have ever been, useful, able to perform both great and mundane tasks, but mighty they are not. Oh well.
And here we are on Columbus Day. Columbus perceived himself as a great explorer who discovered a new land. Hell, we here in America perceived him as enough of a hero to name a day after him and take the day off. The natives perceived him as one big asshole who thought he ruled the world. In reality, the true story is a little bit of both. Columbus accomplished a pretty great feat sailing across the Atlantic, but he didn’t discover anything new. The natives found themselves face to face with someone who wanted to colonize the land they lived on with all the positive and negative effects that come along with colonization. It’s all a matter of perception.