I don't know why I have been pondering this the past few days, and it doesn't really have anything to do with me and is more of an outward thought. What is the emotion evoked in others when they encounter us? What signals do we send out? Do we perceive ourselves as others perceive us? Do we think we are making a certain kind of impression when those who meet us see something totally unintended?
Certainly if someone meets us at a particular time in our life they meet the person we are then...and that person may be a very different person 10 years down the road as life experiences mold us and hopefully mature us.
We have all met people for whom our first impressions were less than flattering, and then as we got to know them better and they allowed us to see a bit more of their inner selves we grew to like them very much.
I know that at various times in my life people have probably seen me as The Wallflower, The Smack (the term we used in the 80's in school to indicate a good student but implied one had "sucked up" to the teacher in one way or another), The Mother Hen, The Emotional Wreck, The Needy One, The Leader (one I have never agreed with but have been called many times), The Mature One, and The Judgmental One.
Titles I am certain I have never held in anyone's mind are The Beautiful One, The Rhodes Scholar, The Rude Wench, The Comedian, or The Spiritual Leader.
It is an interesting pursuit to sit back and watch the various people each of our children are, what "titles" they currently hold that flip flop. Matthew is at various times The Engineer, The Non-Social One, and The Mature Beyond His Years Child. Kenny is the polar opposite and is The Entreprenuer In The Making, The Glee-Filled One, The Galant Prince. Joshie is already The Family Baby, The Get-By-On-My Cuteness, The Tenderhearted.
I often wonder how those roles will change as life tumbles them about in the dryer, taking the "wet behind the ears" kid and turning them into the men they will one day become. Who will be those most influential people in their lives...and will those influences be positive ones? Who will cause their heartaches? What events and circumstances will forever alter their life's path? What thoughtlessly thrown out words will cause them to see themselves differently for the remainder of their life? What girl will grab their heart and will she tenderly cradle it or will she mandhandle it without regard?
There are titles I hope I walk around with in the eyes of some...The Loving Friend, The Dedicated Wife, The Nurturing Mom, The Child of God. Surely before this life is over I will carry far more than I can ever imagine, and there are many I know I am unaware of. I will feel fulfilled however if the majority of people who encounter me in this life can walk away feeling the warmth of my love, the sincerity of my concern, and the firmness of my convictions.