Can You See the Real Me?

The Who - Roger Daltry

The Who – Roger Daltry (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

Sounds like I’m going to be naval gazing again today, right?  Not exactly.

I was on the elevator earlier, saw a young, hip couple that live in the building. Very East Village looking, big gages in their ears, cool drapey clothes in black and odd prints, etc. We said hello, and I mentioned how much Flower Child loves seeing them; the young woman has excellent style, and there’s nothing Flower Child loves more than inspecting a young woman who’s styling. Not to be confused with stylish. They both laughed, said thank you, then told me they often admire her style.  Understood, her closet isn’t so much a closet as a costume department. What they didn’t say was what I saw stamped across their pierced faces…where did FC get her style from? Certainly not me.  Not Husband, either.  He used to be quite the snappy dresser, but no one would have ever accused him of cutting edge fashion sense.

I’m actually pretty good at knowing what will look good on other people, how far they can push the envelope to make a statement.  For me, not so much. This all started me thinking about “seeing” myself. Physically. I’m terrible at it, and I wonder, is it just because I’m not especially visual? Is it an American thing? A female thing? An adoptee thing?

When I took psychology 101, I learned about a study that had been conducted, showing photographic representations of the different ways one woman was perceived.

[ M ] Johannes Adrianus van Maanen - Self-port...

[ M ] Johannes Adrianus van Maanen – Self-portrait with a girlfriend in a funhouse mirror, France (1947) (Photo credit: Cea.)

How she saw herself, how her husband saw her, how others saw her. My money says she was divorced within 6 months of the study being published. But, whether these perceptions are positive or negative, this made sense to me, and it still does. I’m very lucky in this regard.  Husband and I met when I was about 14, and I’m pretty sure that he sees me forever the way I looked when I was about 19. Well, plus the gray hair, which he likes and doesn’t associate with aging, since many in his family are noticeably gray by their early twenties.

We all know about body image issues, the way perceived flaws can appear tremendous and exaggerated to the one looking in the mirror. Who among us never had a zit we saw as the size of Mt Everest?

But, where I seem to differ from friends is that I can’t see myself in other people, either. I hear all the time that Nerd Child looks exactly like me, “Did you make him by yourself?” I know we’re shaped similarly (why yes, I could be confused for an adolescent boy from behind); we both blow out the right knee of our jeans before anything else, both have long inseams for our respective heights. Man Child I hear about his eyes and mine, and Flower Child, while not considered a carbon copy, I often hear she looks a lot like me.  I don’t see it. At all. I see the similarities and differences between the three of them. I see Mother In Law’s dimples on one, Husband’s chin on another, but me? Don’t see it at all.

Do you/can you see physical resemblance to yourself in others?

English: Vogue magazine cover, May 1917 Españo...

English: Vogue magazine cover, May 1917 Español: Portada de la revista Vogue correspondiente a Mayo de 1917 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



  1. I don’t think R looks anything like either me, or my husband, not really. She has a cleft chin, which her father also has, though he’s had his covered by facial hair most of her life. Everybody says she has my mouth, but I think hers is better. I can see my resemblance to my father’s side of the family, particularly my grandfather, but that’s about it. I won’t even get started on style. I don’t have any, and I am not qualified to direct


    1. “…think hers is better.” Totally get this. I have no perspective, I can look at my children, note what society will perceive as flaws, and yet they are each still the most beautiful on the planet ❤ ❤


      1. I get this too. The Empress has the girly girl diva fashionista thing going and I haven’t the faintest idea where she got it from. Certainly not me. Or her grandma. Grandma started buying her fancy schmancy stuff that never in her life has SHE worn or bought for me as a child, but the Empress is the one who brought it to life.

        I also can see my children for who they are in many ways and at times that can be a bit heartbreaking, but they are my heart and being. As it should be. ❤


  2. Very interesting post. Now I am wondering what version of me my husband sees. I look at our photos from when we met nearly 20yrs ago and it’s so different- but more than what we look like. It’s because our lives were just so different and you see that in our faces. I don’t see that in my husband anymore, although I can’t say I look at him and think “he looks older” exactly. I have no idea if that makes sense.

    Now for my kids- I see myself and my husband in my children, yes. I see my brother and their grandparents and even a few aunts and uncles and greats, too- and not just in appearance. What is especially interesting to me is Fisherman Boy seems to take after Dad, is the spitting image of his paternal grandfather and cousin when they were young children, doesn’t look anything like me, but looks incredibly like my mom and brother. He also has many of my brother’s mannerisms, interests and sensitive nature.


    1. True, I don’t see Husband as looking older, though I know he does, it’s just different. Of course, he had a full head of hair when I met him. 😛

      I love that you can trace so much of your children, both physical features and traits. I think that’s awesome. I do wonder, though, how much of the traits is nurture, vs nature. 🙂


      1. Nurture vs nature is a good point. The second we see a hint of something we enjoyed as a child we are likely to encourage it because its something we can share with them. Some of the “nature” is fascinating though- seeing the expressions or how my son walks, moves his hands or even some verbal expressions takes me back to my brother at that age- and he obviously never knew my brother then, and has VERY rarely seen him growing up due to distance.


        1. There is a special joy in sharing something with them that we enjoyed, or still enjoy. Yes, it is fascinating to see things pop up that are definitely nature, that you wouldn’t assume would be.

          Then again, you and I are particularly interested in the genetic aspects.


  3. Fascinating post indeed. I have actually noticed this trait in you previous to this blog entry. I’m not sure exactly what the implications are, but this will now be bubbling away in the back of my brain like a pot of soup on the back burner of a stove.


    1. I think the fabulous SEP covers were over by the time I would have been reading them, but certainly, those covers have become a part of our American landscape. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and joining in!


  4. In my ‘younger years’, I was told by just about everyone who knew my family that I looked just like my mother. I didn’t see it but now I do – when I look back at photos of her as a young woman. I suppose I will continue to age as she did (although I colour my hair where she did not; she was totally grey by 55). Son #1 definitely favours his father; Son #2 looks like a combination of my younger brother and me (yet, somehow, manages to look a little bit like his brother as well). My husband (my second – the ‘keeper’) says he sees me exactly as I was on our wedding day 9 years ago; I try to see him that way, too, but he had nary a grey hair on his head then and has since gone almost completely silver (I suppose that says something about being married to me, doesn’t it?) A fascinating post!


    1. Hi Margo, I’m glad you stopped by and joined the conversation. 🙂 I’m also happy to hear from someone else who can relate to not being able to see themselves in someone else when others can. I don’t think I’m far behind you in age, and now I’m wondering if this will change for me, too.

      Beautiful, to have a husband who sees the woman he fell in love with. ❤


  5. I grew up as the clunky tomboy daughter of a beautiful delicate flower of a mom. Our resemblance was limited to gender and hair color. I never felt like I looked too much like anyone. When I hit my 20s my grandpa started telling me that I looked so much like grandma, by then she was having a lot of physical problems and was pretty much house bound. I didn’t see it, but he continued to tell me that for the rest of his days. At 45, the age she became a grandma, I started to see it and now it’s completely obvious. Now it think in retrospect he was seeing in me the younger stronger version of his beloved Minnie. Looking at old photos I see it too. I also began to notice it in my niece, who never met my grandmother. She also has the same positivity that made my grandma such a character.
    Thanks for such an interesting post. Made me look backwards and forwards 🙂


    1. Beautiful. I love that you’re now able to see not just your grandmother, but your grandfather’s love and good memories. 🙂

      Everyone’s responses to this post are great, and unexpected. Love this conversation!


  6. As you may have seen recently- C looks very much like her Mother. I see slight features from my side in her, but I would not say she looks like me. That said, when she first arrived in this world, the first thing we both noticed was the poor child had my big, thick lips… Thankfully, she loves me anyway… 😉 Enjoyed this post Mrs. F. 🙂


    1. Aww, as the mom of 2 who have thick lips, my first thought was, “how smooshable!” 😉
      There’s much to love, my friend. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. 😀 And thank you!


  7. Oooh, ya got me thinkin’ here, mrs fringe ; ) that says a lot, doesn’t it? that’s the pt of writing is it not?
    I THINK my hubby finds me very attractive, at least he SAYS so, but that’s what a good hubby is supposed to say, aye?
    Upon calling a friend in a group that has 3 others w/the same 1st name as mine, I almost described myself so she’d know which one I was, as we don’t use our last names. I almost described myself as the “younger, stylish one” when I thought, am I? is that how they perceive me, or is that how I perceive myself, and then if that’s how I perceive myself, well, than am I, or only in my eyes? LOL! Then upon taking dd on her usual walk in her walker for her exercise, so I’m still in my workout clothes (mind you, t-shirt not even matching skorts) old dirty sneakers, w/unstylish socks hanging over, hair pulled back, just on the verge of “needing a wash”, no make-up, the neighbors who are used to seeing me pulling my dd around on her daily walk at this time of the day, surely would not be refering to me as “the stylish one” – LOL!
    Many people probably have “different me’s” at “different times” or even on “different days”. Which day do you see me on?

    Now don’t even get me started on who my children look like, I’ve used up enough space in the comment section
    to have written my own blog – tee hee!


    1. Welcome, babbit! 🙂

      Funny, isn’t it, how this seems to be a topic that got all of us thinking, in different ways. Very thoughtful comments, I think I’ll have to do another post on this soon. I agree completely, it isn’t just the drama of husband, self, friends, but which friends, and which part of ourselves we’re sharing.


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