Most of us wonder, at one point or another, how other people perceive us.  While self-confidence and ego may lead us to profess that we don’t give a damn what other people think of us, let’s be honest – don’t you ever get curious?

I do.  I wonder what a psychologist would have to say about that (see, there I go again!).  Would they say I am narcissistic?  Egotistic?  On the other hand they could claim the opposite – a need to seek validation.  Whatever.  I happen to believe I am interested purely for interest’s sake, almost in a scientific capacity.

How does the way they see me compare to how I see myself?
How different is what they believe from the image I try to project?

A touch of Freud, anyone?
I suspect this stems from my amateur fascination with human psychology.  I love to figure out what makes people tick.  Why they do the things they do and say the things they say, or don’t say?  It forms the basis for some interesting characters for the stories I have yet to write.

Occasionally things happen and if we pay attention we are able to catch a glimpse of other peoples’ perceptions of us.  Small though they may be, they are enlightening.

For instance, it has become apparent to me in recent weeks that my love of both shopping and shoes is quite obvious to the outside world, leading me to believe that my imitation of an airhead is going well.  I received almost identical birthday cards from my sisters – bought and sent from opposite ends of the earth I might add – clearly aimed at someone who enjoys indulging in the joys of retail therapy.

Perhaps they share an opinion about me?

As if to further confirm this theory, yesterday I received a surprise parcel in the mail from a friend.  I jumped about with excitement and tore at the sturdy outer wrapping – it’s tougher than it looks, I must tell you.  Inside was a beautifully wrapped gift, complete with silver paper and a purple bow.  It contained a page-a-day desk calendar, which may not sound terribly exciting to most people but this is special because each page displays a full colour photograph of a single or a pair of designer shoes, dating from the early 1900’s to last year.  I laughed heartily when I saw what it was because truly, this woman must know me well!  Mind you, when she was over to visit late last year we did go shopping one day and I did kind of spend an inordinate amount of time looking at shoes.  What can I say?  It is not quite a fetish; I just like to admire their style and elegance.  Sometimes I will try on a pretty pair just to lift my mood.  Now I get to look at a beautiful shoe every day without leaving the comfort of my home.

So what has this told me?  The women who know me well believe I love shopping and that I love shoes.
Is this true? Yes, although I wouldn’t say they are all-consuming passions.  (Mind you if I were rolling in dosh I’m sure the shoe thing could get out of hand fairly quickly.)
Is this the image I want to project?  Um, well, this is the tricky part because that changes from time to time.  I probably prefer to be seen as an intellectual, overall.  Your stereotypical shopaholic is not known for her large brain capacity.
But when I am with my friends, I love to shop and really… I don’t care what anyone thinks.