I think it probably makes sense to explain a bit about why I called this blog what I did. It occurs to me that the phrase “perception check” probably isn’t a very commonly used phrase. Basically, in tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons (cue the eye-rolling), situations that players encounter require a check of their skills – an old staircase could collapse underneath a player if they don’t have a high enough number in Agility, for instance. Rolling a 20-sided die adds some randomness and chance to the games, allowing for challenges each time you play.
One of the skills that can usually be checked is “perception”: the ability of the player to see or notice things around them. A high-numbered roll could mean that the player notices details about something that no one else has seen, whereas a low roll would pretty much mean that their eyes fell out.
It occurred to me to call this blog “Perception Check” because a few friends and my therapist have drilled into my head that what I perceive as reality may not, in fact, be reality. Things that I’m absolutely certain are true…probably aren’t. And this, dear reader(s), shakes me to the core of my very being. If I can’t trust my own perception to be a true and accurate reading of what is going on around me, who am I? My entire life, I have been proud to be intelligent and aware; my attention to detail and logical thinking has helped me to succeed and even be considered an overachiever in most of my life.
And now…I’m not seeing something clearly? Let’s be specific – what I (apparently) can’t see clearly is my own self-image and how I might be perceived by others. I don’t consider myself to be ugly by any means, but I also am not what I would consider to be conventionally attractive or “hot”. I’m (marginally) okay with this…alright, that’s a lie – I’m not okay with this, but I’m working hard to be okay with this. Regardless, the point is that I am (apparently) unable to see myself clearly and therefore my accuracy in judging how other people see me is way off.
This still doesn’t make sense to me – in my mind, there are objective and subjective terms of attraction and I’m pretty sure that the more objectively attractive someone is, the more they are noticed and the more opportunities they have. What I’m being told is that (allegedly) the subjective part of all of this often counts for more and that I shouldn’t discount myself because I don’t look like I walked out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad. (Dated reference? Meh.)
Anyway, my point is that I am still not 100% convinced. But that assessment of me and how I see things has shaken me so much that it has become clear that I need to look at more parts of my life to see where I might not be seeing things clearly – to perform a “perception check”, if you will. See? See what I did there? I’m CLEVER.
Hopefully, writing like this will help me to be able to see some of those things clearer. If not? Well, at least it isn’t just in my head anymore.