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THH: What Is It Like To Actually Step Into Someone Else's Shoes?
Yes, yes, I know. We do this every day we pick up our pen and create art, us writers, artists, musicians, sculptors, painters, and so many more. But let’s think slightly more physically: what if you woke up in someone else’s body, not unlike A in Every Day by David Levithan?
(And with that, I emphasize ‘experience’—and not to step out of our own physical shells in relief, no! In fact, not at all—the purpose of this imaginative exercise is not to lament what we consider our physical shortcomings. We are each unique physically and mentally and gosh darn it, it’s a great thing.)
1. Proportions, contortions.
Your consciousness has traveled to another person’s body, and you now have a fresh set of physical attributes to control and contort. What is it like to age up forty years, or down ten? I’ve always wondered what it’d feel like to have laughter wrinkles by my eyes.
Perspective changes as you now might be shorter, or taller, or thinner, or curvier—it’d undoubtedly be incredible to experience a completely differently shaped package.
2. And for our entrée, the physical features…
Now have a different head of hair, different hands, different skin. Forget about those two buck teeth you despised and hair that refuses to curl—everything’s different now! What is it like in your mind to see yourself examining a new shell in the mirror? Does long hair feel heavier? What is it like to be double-jointed at the shoulders (like the Holy Hitchhiker herself)?
3. Alas, new “windows to the soul”!
Oh, and don’t forget the fun part. Not only do you see through someone else’s eyes (and their level of vision as well; what is it like to no longer need glasses, or vice versa?), you also have different eyes. I know I dream of the day I’ll wake up with green-blue eyes and a whole lot more lashes—but perhaps that is to come.
Also, let’s get figurative! Let’s add some detail to that mental picture, and imagine seeing from someone else’s life—what is it like viewing a completely different schedule? Knowing you have a whole new (temporary) set of contacts, associations, and commitments?
4. A rite of racial passage…
Think about it—what if you changed your race or origins? I know, that’ll stretch those imagination muscles. It might change your entire personality, wiping away the influence ethnicity has given you. Or, if you naturally don’t identify ethnicity as a regular part of your life, what is it like to transfer races? And (thinking positively) what different perspectives do you gain?
But that’s not it: get creative with this! Take what this article has and turn it into something incredible—stretch those brain tendons long and hard! What I’ve compiled isn’t nearly all you can possibly consider: what if your consciousness were transferred to something not human? Not living? Not on this earth? What if you were guest to a brain that faced different obstacles—how would you face them? Gosh darn it, what happens when you add in superpowers?