If you have suffered from trauma, one of the most healing things that can happen to you is being seen. Being seen doesn’t have to mean that someone actually lays their eyes on you, although that certainly helps. Being seen means that your being is held by the other person without comment, without praise or blame or indifference, just with some kind of open care. One of the most moving parts of the corny blockbuster Avatar is the moment at the end when Neytiri, the alien humanoid (albeit blue with a tail), holds in her arms the nearly-dead Jake (whose Na’vi avatar is bonded with her), and as he begins to breathe the oxygen in the mask she has slipped over his face, she says the phrase, which in Na’vi we have been told, early on in the film, means just this unconditional compassionate holding: I see you.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Being Seen (for Ed Panar)
So I just wrote an afterword for the second edition of his excellent Animals That Saw Me. Starts like this: