Self-perception and how others perceive us is a topic I find fascinating - not so much the actual perception but how one differs from the other.
There is, of course, a lot going on in our lives other people don't know about, and mostly it is impossible for them to perceive much from just looking at us.
For example, when my husband died and I went to work again a few days later, I walked the same road to the station, I took the same train as usual, and saw a lot of the same people I see almost every day on my way there.
To them, most likely I appeared exactly the same as always, wearing the same coat, carrying the same old handbag. I looked at them and thought, they have no idea.
And just like they had no way of knowing what went on in my life, I had no idea about theirs. What did I know of their sorrows and pains, pleasures and joys? Nothing.
It is entirely possible that some of them were in a similar situation to mine; recently widowed but getting on with their lives as best as they could.
What made me want to write about this topic now, and another example of this difference in self-perception and how others might see us, was my visit to a painter's study tonight, where I was to sit for him.
So there I was, walking along the road in the cold and dark, and to anyone passing me on the way, I looked just like the average middle-aged woman, shapeless in her big padded winter coat, in a hurry to get out of the cold or to complete some errand.
They did not know that this woman was about to have pictures of herself drawn for the very first time in her life, and that she was looking forward to finding out more about the painter, his art, how he worked and what it was going to be like to sit for him.
And of course, I didn't know where those walking past me were coming from, and where they were headed. What adventures did life have in store for them tonight? Where they dreading the next few hours or looking forward to them? Had they had a good day or had it been one of those days that are best forgotten as soon as they end?