What It Feels Like To Be Me
Gives a rare glimpse of what other people feel like: a reflection on the experience of being.
This book is about being alone in our heads. It gives a rare glimpse of what other people feel like: to read it is to reflect on our own experience of being. People hide behind their appearance in order to get by in the world. In this book men and women alike of all ages reach beneath their skin to reveal their inner self. Am I the same person day to day, year to year? Is there an essential core as the layers of life are peeled away? And to what extent do the different stages of life beg different kinds of answers to the question "what it feels like to be me"? Readers will see how similarly Julie aged 85 and Nina aged 14 address the questions and how the themes thread through all the contributions. Brilliant poems by Dannie Abse and Peter Phillips look back and forwards in their lives. An Israeli artist looks at himself in two photographs. Three commentators give their views: a professional counsellor, a distinguished scientist and Dr Jonathan Miller.
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Contributors nerve themselves to the task of revealing their hopes, fears and doubts, their coping strategies and what they think are their various areas of repression. They attempt to accept themselves, and to cope with the thought that parts of their personalities cannot be altered: ‘...Anxiety is part of who I am’ (Stephen). As life can be considered largely a matter of balancing the various tensions within it, so these pieces mention optimism and pessimism, self-loathing and self-love, the desire for a stable identity, and underlying feelings of ‘not fitting,’ of social ineptitude. With regard to the latter, it is tempting but perhaps simplistic to assume that people with basic self-confidence are less prone to practice introspection. We all know of people who claim that they ‘never look back.’ Yet the ‘unprocessed past’ is a heavy burden for some (Dominic). Some of the contributions are intensely moving, as people struggle to come to terms with the past. In the case of Helen, the accumulated losses seem to this reader at least to be almost too great a weight to bear. Accidental deaths in her family have ‘remained ineradicably close, there just under the surface of everything, always ready to come up and colour my thoughts or actions.’ Helen also records very poignantly the experience of her hearing loss and what this means in terms of her life and her relationships, an experience that people with normal hearing find very difficult to understand. But ‘becoming a grand-mother has eclipsed all else, a huge joy and privilege’ It has been recently reported that American director Tom Shadyac has made what he terms a ‘little film’ called I Am, an autobiographical documentary. Shadyac himself says that ‘Who am I?’ is the most important question people ask themselves. ‘But they let who they are become secondary to what everybody else wants them to be’. This book is an attempt to answer that question and to convey the answer to others. A brave and honest attempt. ~ Life Writing, Taylor and Francis
In this fascinating book, men and women of all ages explore and reveal their inner selves and how they really feel about and deal with different stages of life. Told with emotion, humour and honesty, their candid accounts make for compelling reading, especially if, like us, you’re rather nosey.~ Abbie Price, Closer Magazine
An intriguing yet highly accessible book.~ Garden Suburb News
Thought-provoking insight into other people's lives: this thought-provoking collection of essays offers fantastically diverse viewpoints on what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes. ~ Hampstead and Highgate Express
Jenny Manson has been inviting contributions from friends and family to share their thoughts and she has published them in a book, titled What It Feels Like To Be Me.
She told The Press: “It confirmed something I always thought, that there’s nothing as strange as being a person and it’s something we all share. Every morning you have to wake up and live your day – no one teaches you this at school. This is something that a lot of people admit they have thought about but have not actually managed to articulate.”
Jenny collected the contributions from 25 people, more men than women, none of whom had necessarily gone through any particular experience.
She said: “Rather than supporting the point that men don’t like to talk about themselves, I found this showed the reverse probably because it’s a different sort of question, rather than how many girlfriends have you had.”
She added: “I selected people who I thought were very honest and I think this question is limitless. I believe there is no such thing as a person who is not interesting.”
This collection of essays takes a look at the world through a whole host of other people's eyes. Each offers a unique and personal account of another, very real life, the beauty of which is in the different approach each writer has taken. Their contributions range from full blown autobiographies, to simple, sparing highlights and lowlights of what it's like to be them. While some clearly agonise over every word, others flood us with information and insight, until we're left feeling like we really have gone a few hundred miles in their shoes.Some are better writers and more interesting than others but because they're all different, each brings something new and for that reason, I raced through this collection, greedy to meet the next and the next, until all too soon I was done. This book's simple, personal approach works: it left me thinking about other people I'd like to read about in this way and wondering where I can find more! ~ Amazon
This book is certainly worth reading.~ Deb Hawken, Eternal Spirit
The book includes a foreword by Sir Jonathan Miller in which he calls it “an intriguing anthology of personal memoirs” – and the clue to its attraction is it may make you ponder on the question: “What is it like to be me?” and in turn be more aware of others’ personal experiences. ~ Camden NJ and Islington Tribune
The real seeds of the book lie, she told me, in her early experience at work sharing a room with a man with a very different experience of life Fascinated by the differences between them, she found herself lacing their daily conversations with questions – questions that aggregated into the fundamental question ‘What does it feel like to be you’? He was as interested in the questions as she was in the answers, and in what she calls the combination of “universal puzzle and poignant detail.” It was out of those conversations that the idea for the book first arose.She got as far as starting to produce a set list of questions, designed to elicit an answer to the question in the book’s title. Then career and children came along, and the idea was put aside, although, she says, it never really went away, and she continued to think about it.Over the years she abandoned the idea of the questionnaire, for example, as too restrictive. As she mentions in the preface, this was partly influenced by reading John Updike’s memoirs Self-Consciousness in the 1990s. Four years ago Jenny found herself having conversations of a similar type to those she used to have all those years ago, and this prompted her to revive the long-dormant idea. .Jenny clearly continues to be interested in what it’s like to be other people. Perhaps there is a bit of all of us in her book ~ Arc News
A fascinating collection of personal essays which loosely address the title: What it Feels Like to Be Me. Through introspection and reflection the contributors come up with highly individual responses. Salaman Manson has done a good job as editor.
~ Kate Thompson, Therapy Today
In my work as a psychotherapist I am always fascinated by the way people present themselves to the world, often in a way that belies how they really feel about themselves inside, behind the public face. Someone who comes across as confident and self assured may in reality feel insecure and ambivalent about themselves, with doubts and uncertainties about how acceptable, likeable or loveable they really are to those around them. In therapy it may take weeks, months or even years for someone to trust enough to be able to start revealing what is really going on in their private inner world. This dichotomy reveals itself as a central theme in many of the candid, and often extremely moving, accounts of the contributors to this book in their descriptions of what they really feel about themselves. What it Feels Like to be Me will be of enormous interest, not only to those of us working in the field of healthcare, but also to anyone who has an interest in his fellow human beings, and what really makes them tick. ~ Olivia Harvard- Watts MA,, analytic psychotherapist, member of the Guild of Psychotherapists.
In this book the author allows the reader the privilege of accompanying the contributors on their journey to discover the essence of them. The disarming honesty and insight, the humour and ways of dealing with life's difficulties and tragedies are all there to be shared. As a relationship and family therapist of many years standing I know this book will be of interest to both professionals and to those with an interest in how we experience and cope with life. As professionals we go in search of the reality experienced by others; in this book we are invited in. ~ Jackie Bartlett, Relate Counsellor
I enjoyed reading this book and really welcomed the way the writers/contributors invited me to think about the self in a fresh and original way. I found some chapters very insightful and thought provoking and I enjoyed meeting all the writers and was engaged by their reflections, thoughts and ideas. ~ Gail King, Psychodynamic Psychotherapist in private practice, University Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy (retired)