I had the chance to see photos from a (very) recent worktrip, and was startled. We may all have notions of our appearance, what we look like, and yet for me I’m always shocked. This time, I looked at the pictures and saw my older cousin. Not one I have met; one I imagined I might have.
She looks more womanly, more mature, and not a little hard. The Zelig sense I had throughout my 20’s and 30’s where I might be mistaken for one celeb or another (under duress), or someone’s younger cousin, was gone. I saw the facial planes of my birth mother’s family, the visual cues of belonging which don’t always hold true, but lead one to think that they might.
I didn’t see any of the genuine joy I felt at sitting in the same room with colleagues, of feeling supported – though I can tell you that is exactly how I felt, and what I thought I exuded. Instead, here was my older cousin, a little worse for the wear, and concerned about… something.