Perceptual ambiguity

By Mir
March 17, 2005
Category Growing

If you’ve ever taken Psych 101, you’ve seen this image. What do you see? An old woman, or a young girl?

Today–a “one step forward, three steps back” kind of day–I feel like I’m sizing up a picture like this. First I see the old hag; the things in my life that turn my hair grey, all of the sadness and frustration and dissatisfaction with various things. Then I blink, and it’s the maiden; all of the abundant blessings that have come to roost in my life, some hard-won and some simply grace in action. With each blink the picture shifts.

The part that forces me to look away entirely is when the two blur together and the whole falls out of focus and ceases to make any sense. Today too many of my blessings are covered in sharp edges and dilemmas and doubts. It makes me weary, but also gives me the feeling of being on the cusp of something important.

If only I can figure it out.


  1. Mamacita

    when you figure it out, would you please tell me?

  2. Jenn

    I hope when you figure it out, you’re rewarded with cases of Girl Scout cookies. Hang in there, Mir.

  3. Liz

    Yea, what Mamacita said – in spades! Good luck figuring it out and remember to eat more cookies — have you tried the new Double Dutch? Totally dip-worthy!

  4. Jules

    I always see the young maiden first and then struggle to see…or make it turn into the old woman… Just what does that say about me I wonder…

    (((hugs))) I’ll share my double dutch with you…as soon as I’m able to swallow again ;)

  5. Sheilah

    Ok…I have tried and tried and I can’t see the old hag….help!

  6. Carmen

    Hang in there, Mir. It will get better soon, I promise.

    When you figure it out, share with me. I’m so far away from figuring anything out, it’s not even funny.

  7. part-timer

    Why does it have to be so hard? I have no idea. Things will get better soon, I hope.
    “Just keep swimming…”

  8. Betsy

    Been there. Living through that. (My post last night also contained heavy use of the word ‘weary.’)

    Am nowhere near figuring it out.
    But then again, I hadn’t yet tried the Girl Scout cookie approach…

  9. Amanda B.

    Oooh, I know what you mean. Overwhelmed. I like that you used the word “ambiguity”, because that is one of my greatest fears. I can’t stand it. It throws me off kilter and makes me feel out of control.

    Guess what Amanda- sometimes you are. Grace in action. Letting go. Free falling…

    Damn. You’ve made me think this morning. ;)

  10. Suzanne

    I am never quite sure if knowing you’re not alone in these types of situations is a good thing or just disturbing to know we’re all a bunch of fruitcakes? Hang in there Mir! We’re about to embark on the meds path over here and i’m a little aprehensive of the whole thing. Wish us luck!

  11. Bob

    I can relate. Since the crisis last October with our son, I am soooo sensitive to the little nuances of his moods/behaviours. He seems much happier, but I feel the sharp edges around this positive sign of his emotional heath – much like you described in your post. It’s a brittle feeling.

    I can’t help but feel that everything will work out for you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself in all of this.

  12. Mrs darling

    Is there a trick to seeing the old lady? No matter how I look I can only see the girl. I feel left out.

  13. Mrs darling

    Oh I see it now. The ear of the girl is the eye of the old lady. That line on the girls neck is the mouth of the old lady and the girls nose and mouth are all one big long hook nose for the hag. Cool!

  14. Heather

    I always see the maiden, and then struggle to see the old lady. I think once you’ve got your perception going a certain way, it’s hard to stop.

  15. vicki

    First visit, great writing/blog- thank you! That being said, 30-ish is still SO young but with the children it’s exhausting and I remember how that exhaustion felt old quickly and often. Tonight #1, at 24, again tapped all my energy as he tries to find his right, best spot. STILL brings most all his angst to me as I think to myself, “don’t you have a father in this town somewhere? Could you go rage over there and p.s. get money for your car insurance.” But I’m glad he comes my way most.

  16. vicki

    P.S. I like your blog so much I put in a link to it so my friends and family can read too-thanks again.

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