Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Woman in the Mirror
I was standing in the bathroom this morning thinking about today's post...you know like...what the heck am I going to write today after Lou gave me such a wonderful compliment yesterday and now I feel the pressure to be witty and coherent? (Just kidding Lou - thanks again.) Then I looked up to see my reflection in the mirror and thought, "Who is that woman?"
I have NEVER liked the way I looked. I have always struggled with my weight, skin and self-esteem. Part of it comes from being the sister of a gorgeous person (at one time) and most of it comes from being the daughter of a narcissist and an alcoholic. It really doesn't matter - what's done is done and I've been trying to overcome it all of my life and as a result, I am preoccupied with how I look and how I appear to the world.
Inside is really no better. I'm trying to see myself as I really am but this early into recovery I'm still second guessing everything I do and say. My confidence has been taken down several pegs (which is a good thing in some respects since most of my confidence in the past has been false bravado) and I'm working on rebuilding it.
So this morning I took a really hard look at that woman in the mirror.
I saw olive green eyes with long lashes, perfectly coiffed brows, a straight nose thanks to two nose jobs, very few wrinkles due to oily Italian skin and limited sun exposure, ears that do not stick out, a mouth that has begun to turn down slightly but that still has fairly full lips the lower of which remains rather pouty. All in all not too bad for a woman who will be 51 in less than a month.
Then I looked at my face as an entire package and...nope...still don't like it. The fact is I look too much like my mom and my sister to ever really like the way I look. Their sins live within me and when I look at myself I see them...plain and simple.
Then I start trying to look through the reflection to see what I am inside. This is somewhat trickier since, like most recovering souls, I am really not sure who the hell I am anymore. I used to know (or thought I did) but it involved a great deal of drinking to numb pain and to make me feel confident and included. Without it? That one is still up for debate.
Here's what I know so far. I'm still loving, warm and kind hearted. People still want to come to me for advice and hugs. I can still be funny and make people laugh out loud. I still have a great sense of humor. I have a greater capacity for compassion and empathy than I have ever had. I tend not to judge people and wait to find out what's going on underneath before I draw any conclusions. I am nice. I can be charming.
One thing you should know is the use of the word know is very important in that last paragraph. Some of these things I thought I was, prior to sobriety and recovery, but now I know. I'm not sure how well you can relate to this, but it is such a relief to know that I am good and kind and loving all the way down to my teal painted toenails.
And perhaps, eventually, that will begin to show through that reflection and I will think of my self as pretty. For now, it is enough to know that my soul is pretty. And since that's all God sees I'm pretty dang happy with it.