“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”       Aldous Huxley

A popular cliché always dominates conversations, especially when the subject is a difficult one. “One’s perception is their reality.” Over and over again, I hear these words vibrate in private talk among friends and whispers among loved ones. So much of the heart of that statement is very much true. What we see is what we perceive.

But what if you cannot  jump over the crater of perception and reality? When do we reach the point where we do not care what others think of us? This task seems monumental. I often write about my internal struggles, joys, epiphany moments, and observations in this space. It is a place that is my personal vortex. As I write, my feelings fall like stacked dominoes, sentence by sentence, and create a personal place of the sacred, the mundane, and the joyous. A few people have commented to me personally and said, “You put so much out there in your writing space.” I am not denying that statement, but there is also so much I choose to keep private.

The truth? Every single one of us is struggling. With something. The word “back story” weaves it way into my life more and more. That is the buffer that we must consider before we make the leap between perception and reality. The back story is where others are so quick to pour their perceptions, assumptions, and speculations. It becomes wrought with judgment. I’ve learned to lasso my own judgments because although there is so much I’ve convinced myself that I can see, intellectually I realize that it is never the story that person is living.

I’ve experienced this back story in a very personal way. My father struggled with cancer for 4 1/2 years, but he decided to keep his illness a secret from his family in India, his friends, and people in his community. We all harbored this sorrow for so long, but kept some sense of normalcy through the duration of his illness. When people asked us how we were doing, we never revealed what was really happening. Most of our free time or vacation time was spent in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and doing research on experimental treatments. It is a stark example on how perception and reality are diametrically opposed.

My father’s example is how I’ve felt the angst of my family’s crack. But I know, more and more, that I am not alone. So many  are fighting, healing, contemplating, mulling our realities, while others may apply their perceptions on the unknowns and knowns of your life.

I am not at the point where I can separate myself what others think of me, but I am working toward closing that door. Because your perception is never an accurate portrayal of that person’s reality.