Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.

Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

My wanderings and ponderings for the exhibition have been touching in part on this concept of who we are and how we are in the world, in relation to others.

Salman Rushdie captures here that like a well-cut gem, we each have many facets and that different people may know different versions of us. He also makes the stronger statement that 'those who know us construct us'. I'm not sure that I am only the construct of others; but I guess that in many ways the different tellings of who we are, or how we have been experienced by others do build a story around us, a picture of who we are that we bear with us on our life journey.

I am captivated by the idea that when someone who knows you disappears; you lose one version of yourself.

There is much in this for me to consider and investigate. The concepts resonate at some level, for some reason, and so I will continue to explore them...

©Fiona Dempster 2010 - Finding my way home (detail)


  1. Yes, well said, Salman and Fiona - I resonate with the idea of 'facets' but for me the facets cover the true core of who I really am xoxoxo

  2. I believe there is a saying (Native American?) that we have two deaths. The first when we die, and the second when the last person who knew us dies.

    My family just had a loss, one of the few remaining of the generation preceding mine. The stories were heard and written, but still, no one can get it all.

    The concepts you are exploring here are so touching to me, too. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

  3. Yes, I'm with Leslie on that. It's the same when someone dies: you can't make up for it, and part of it IS about how that person saw you... I am fascinated by your inspiration and look forward to seeing the results! Sara x ps. looking forward to meeting you on Saturday!

  4. N thanks, it's intriguing to me to try and unravel some of this stuff.

    Leslie - thank your for your thoughts, words and wisdom. That thought about two deaths really speaks a truth to me. We do try to catch the stories of our elders but so many must slip thru our fingers... Go well.

    Thanks Sara, I think it's an interesting thing to think my way thru and expect it will play in my work for a while. Looking forward to Saturday as well!

  5. HI Fiona, what an interesting concept-it rings true for me. Losing someone = losing a 'version' of yourself. Perhaps it's also true that each new person who gets to know us creates a new version of us. I like that idea.

  6. Such a simple way to express such powerful universal truth. Rushdie's masterful lines speak the truth that the longer we live the more we are affected by it, the more we experience it and understand it.
    Very touching and thought igniting post, Fiona; thank you!

  7. This resonates with me deeply, Fiona. I do a lot of pondering about how we present ourselves and how we are perceived by others. While I would say with certainty that I no longer care about what other people think of me, in the sense of allowing that to dictate my attitudes and behaviors, I do continue to have a very heightened awareness of the versions of me that exist in other people's hearts and minds, as if they were indeed tangible facets of who I am. It especially troubles me when I feel someone holds an unfair or incomplete or outright negative version of me inside them. Sometimes it can distract me from all the good versions of me I strive to keep healthy and alive out in the world! But too, the idea of some part of me dying when someone who loves and knows me is gone haunts me as well. When someone dies, you not only miss them, you miss who you once were to them, and that is a hard loss. Provocative stuff! Many thanks.

  8. good food for thought. and very good stitches find their way home with you.

  9. I too am captivated by this concept. Since we lost our daughter, several years ago, I have been pondering about lightyears and how the light is still in the sky even when a star no longer exists. Comparing it to losing our loved ones. When they pass, their light still exists in our hearts and in the faces and mannerisms of our families.

  10. Fiona,
    Thank you for your comments on my last post. Thinking about my Mum's passing you will know that this post of yours has a special resonance for me. I think this is a magical concept, something that has made me stop and think. Thank you. Lesley

  11. Jane - I agree, there is certain truth within it that resonates...but I also love the idea of continuing creation as well! Wow!

    Anna - thank you; he touches on a bit of magic I think, and life is so full of learning.

    G/TT - so true - that final part of missing who you once were to them. I imagine at times we might look for folk who can then let us be that bit of ourselves again? The sadness that others sometimes hold this 'other' view of us; incomplete and without grace or care is a toughie. I know there are folk in my life who probably will never know the best of me; or the me I am with others...

    V- thank you - yes lovely ladder stitching!

    Robyn - thank you for sharing that story. Our bodies are matter and matter does things like light does things...the idea of ongoing existence in other forms...There is something still there isn't there?

    Lesley - thank you again. I think here is a certain magic held within this idea, this way of thinking; and it helps me understand some things a little bit better...Go well.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.