I feel like Christopher Columbus. Or Galileo. OK, maybe not so much, but I feel like shrieking “Eureka!” Although I don’t plan to run screaming from my bathtub in the altogether. To what do I owe my happiness? I’ve discovered a new author. And I love her already. She’s funny and clever and the premise is original—just when I started to think that there was nothing new under the sun, no new worlds that someone else has built that I can explore. But there is, and there are. And Lisa Shearin is a real find. The first book in a series I can’t wait to read (the second book, The Dragon Conspiracy comes out in two weeks, the first book is The Grendel Affair, and I saw on her website that she’s promising a third entry by the end of 2015!) The heroine of Ms. Shearin’s world is Makenna Fraser. Yes, another Mac to know and love. She isn’t really anything like MacKayla Lane, except that she is spunky and real, and that is OK. Oh, she shares one other trait with MacKayla Lane—she’s a seer. MacKayla Lane is a sidhe-seer, and Mackenna Fraser is more of a pan-being seer, but they both see. And this got me to thinking. Always a dicey proposition, I know.
So, what I was thinking is, what does it mean to be a seer? What does it mean to see someone or something? Seeing is a powerful phenomenon. We have so many adages related to sight and seeing. “Seeing is believing.” “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” I could go on, but I won’t, as you can probably see what I’m saying (pun intended). So this idea of Makenna Fraser (and the other Mac, too), being able to “see” behind the glamours (mask/veils) that supernatural beings adopt to hide themselves from others, is very interesting.
What would it be like for someone to see through what we don't want people to see-- through make up, clothes, the attitudes we mask ourselves with, and through the personas we adopt, depending on who we are with, or who we want to be in a given situation? I don’t think I’d like that at all. For example, when I’m rocking my tough businesswoman persona, I would hate to think that the person I am meeting with could see through my hard-nosed confidence to the part of me that wonders whether I can really pull this off. And God forbid the world at large should see me without my makeup—I feel naked when I run out of the house without it. And we’ve all heard the saying that “clothes make the man.” Clothes make a woman, too, not to mention accessories. We wear our jewelry and our designer handbags as symbols of status and wealth. We put together our outfits with the express purpose of creating an impression in those who see us. We want people to see our outsides—not the stuff they are covering up.
And what about the opposite phenomenon? Don’t we want people to see in us the things we see in ourselves that make us proud.? But so often, no one seems to see the quiet heroism that it takes to just get out of bed in the morning and face another day. They don’t see the casual generosity and the quotidian kindnesses that we leave behind us in our wake. Or worse, maybe they do see, but it doesn’t register, and all of our qualities are just so much white noise. That may be the hardest thing.
Has anyone ever said to you, “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you?” Usually, although certainly not always, that is a compliment. Because oftentimes, the way we see ourselves is so very skewed. There is even a clinical name for this—dysmorphia—when the image we see reflected back at us is so distorted as to be unrecognizable. It can be so hard for some of us to see our own beauty, and value and intrinsic worth. We don’t see the success, just the failure. We don’t see the good, just the bad. We don’t see the sufficiency, just the deficiency. This is why we need people who love and care for us—to act as mirrors that reflect back their loving image to us, and help us to see ourselves in their eyes.
Is there a such a thing as a seer in reality? I think so, yes. There are people out there who have the gift of sight. We’ve all met them—the person who seems to see into our souls when we first meet; the person who looks into our eyes and we know, instantaneously, that they’ve been able to pierce our glamours, like Mac does in Lisa Shearnin’s books, and see beyond the masks we present to the world.
And the existence of seers in reality begs the question of whether we all have the potential to be seers at some level or another. Can we all make the effort to really look and really see? Yes, I believe so. So, why don’t we? Are we afraid of what we will see? Are we afraid of the intimacy involved when we truly see one another? Have you ever tried to spend quality time looking into someone else’s eyes? It’s actually quite hard, and the urge to look away is almost overwhelming. But it’s a worthwhile endeavor—to look, to see, to have vision. It’s better to go through life with eyes wide open, rather than eyes wide shut. It’s better to aspire to being like Mac—both of them—and to see, rather than to remain shrouded in darkness. Go ahead. I see you.