How many times do you look in the mirror each day? Ever counted? Now how many of those times do you actually take the time to look at yourself? Not to count gray hairs, not to tweeze an eyebrow straight, not to make sure you brushed breakfast out of your teeth. I’m talking about really seeing the true you. Most people don’t like to look that deep. They don’t always like what they see.
I’m finding a new appreciation for the mirror. I’ve been looking lately. I’ve seen things I do not like. I’ve seen all the emotional baggage I picked up from my mother, and my ex. We all carry that stuff around with us. Sometimes we don’t realize just how much of it there is or how it weighs us down. It makes us look and feel old and worn out, sucking the life right out of us. Once you look at it and recognize it for what it is, you can start to shed that baggage. It’s not easy. You have to admit what the problem was before you can let go of it. That means we have to forgive the ones who have hurt us, even it means forgiving ourselves.
It takes a lot of courage to look into that mirror. Sometimes we need the help of a friend to build up the nerve for that first peek. You need a friend who truly understands you even when you don’t understand yourself. I’ve always been the friend who can be brutally honest and still love you enough to help you through the crisis. I was lucky enough to have a friend to do that for me. Since she forced me to confront my demons, I am at least 5 times stronger than I was. But I still have many issues to work on. For instance, I haven’t actually seen my ex since we split. I know I will probably go all to hell the first time I do see him. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let him see it happen. It’s not so much that I still have feelings for him. I do still care about him; it’s hard not to after 14 years together. It’s like grief. What I thought I had is dead now. I’m still dealing with that grief even though most of what I thought I had has turned out to be a lie. That kind of baggage is hard to let go of. It hurts. It’s raw and bloody and it hurts enough to drive you mad.
But I have learned that I am not that person anymore. I am no longer the scared, dependent little wallflower my mother raised me to be. I have worked hard on forgiving my mother for that. I have worked hard on forgiving myself for not knowing how to stand up to her. I’m still working on forgiving the ex.
I am seeing things in my mirror that I love now. I love the passion in my eyes, the fire and strength. I love the weird and often perverted sense of humor. I love how my outside is starting to match my inside. I’m slowly chipping away at the façade that overshadowed the real me. Yes I still have a long way to go. But I have travelled miles and miles from who I used to be. I now see a creative, vibrant woman who cares deeply and laughs often. I’m learning to take risks that I never would have considered before. I’m no longer dodging the small mirrors in restrooms. I’m standing in front of a cheval in a mahogany frame deciding what to wear for my next adventure.