AI Me: The soft, curious dreamer

AI Me: The soft, curious dreamer

I have partial face blindness, and looking at myself in photos and the mirror has always been a little bit confusing. I used to think that there wasn't anyone who looked like me. I also thought that I looked like about four different people depending on angle, time of day, and facial expression.

Looking at the portraits of me created by Saoirse Egan this morning was an unsettling and profound experience.

Because I also feel different things when I look in the mirror, depending on which version of Michael I see. And as I searched for the chiseled images to pick for social media, I came across another Michael: the curious dreamer, the elementary school nerd who always had his nose in a science fiction book, who dreamed of other worlds and who had few friends in this one. It's a Michael from ages ago, soft and innocent, without any armor built.

I felt shame, curiosity, wonder. Who are the other parts and what do they have to teach me? What parts of myself have I stepped over to present a particular face to the world?

What if the parts of ourselves that we most try to hide are the ones that are the most unique and beautiful?

First I'm not going to share the images that make me feel hot. I'm sharing the ones that make me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.