But I was still me. I still laughed at the same weird things (Like looking like an Oompa Loompa. All vanity aside, that shiz was funny) I was still Mom to those three girls standing there with me....still carrying my 31 overnight bag I absolutely love, with knitting tucked inside. No matter what the mirror was reflecting back at me...it was still me...
I've never been to a carnival, but I am familiar with the house of mirrors. The walk through every kind of reflection possible. The stretched out, tall and skinny...short and fat, warped faces, bodies, perceptions...and you know what? It may just be the most honest place on earth...that hall of mirrors. Because we really do see ourselves like that. All of it. We see ourselves as less than, as more than, as beautiful, hideous...and we look...constantly at ourselves. Constantly. Always concerned with not only what reflection WE see, but how others see us. Depending on the person you can be any version of yourself.
Have you ever been around someone you feel beautiful around no matter what you actually look like? They SEE you. Beyond the hair, the perfect eyeliner, the cute dress. They look at you in ratty yoga pants, hair up in a messy bun with part of your sandwich still on your face and just SEE you. Hear you. Feel you. Conversely, have you ever been in a room.....dressed to the nines..and felt like the ugliest, stupidest, least valuable person in the room? You could have checked the mirror a million times before you left, completely satisfied with your appearance only to see something devastating in the women's room mirror when you arrive. Your hair is all wrong, your dress not fancy enough....you should have known....you aren't good enough to be there...But you're still you.
You are still you.
Flip it around now. You know...you know when you look in the mirror that some changes need made. Everything looks just perfect, but it's only the surface of who you are that's reflecting back at you . You....are still you. You are still struggling with every heartbreak you've ever buried being unearthed. Every hurt you convinced yourself you didn't feel ripping open and bleeding You are still you when everyone around you tries to convince you that because the surface is fine, the rest is too....and even when they don't want to see you for who you really are....you are still you.
You are still you.
You are still the person who doesn't understand why anyone can see what you see...your heart, your emotion, your life...no one knows what you do....so they can't possibly convince you of what...of who...you actually are.
But they try.
"Well at least..."
"Well if it were me..."
"Well if I had that...I'd...."
And you want to scream STOP. This is my life. This is my story and my pen, my paper, my choice and unless you were part of writing any of the previous chapters you can't possibly know what made the cut when editing the bookstore copy.
So you decide. Done. No more. No more opinions about what the mirror is actually reflecting back. No more. Because it never mattered. Ever. Keeping up appearances for anyone else, anyone...ever..is a waste of time, energy and life. There's nothing beautiful about masks....
Not only do you stop comparing yourself to others, you start refusing theirs to you. No, my life is not perfect. Yes, I have something you want....you have about 17 things I want....and about 100 I don't. That's the raw, ugly truth. You no longer allow anyone to compete with you on anything. Ever. If someone needs to, let them win because they aren't there yet...in that place where they realize no two human beings should ever compete, compare, contrast who they are with who you are and decide one's the winner. It's a distraction. A massive eye off the ball because wanting to be someone else will forever keep you from wanting to be yourself.
And you are enough. Every human is a self-contained work of art, a masterpiece, a wonder of biology and spirituality and magic....in every mirror, in every reflection....every glance, thought, breath...you compete only with you....
Only with you....
And at being you? You always win.