January 2, 2011

Post #6: Self-reflection. Literally.

“Maturity is that time when the mirrors in our mind turn to windows and instead of seeing the reflection of ourselves we see others.”

-Author Unknown

I think that's my favorite picture of me from our wedding. I just thought I'd share it because it kind of captures how I wish I would be seen at all times and how I hope I'm seen most of the time. I'm thinking about this because I just had a weird moment. Have you ever looked yourself in the eyes in your reflection long enough to feel like you have an entirely new perspective on yourself? Like there's this paradigm shift where you suddenly have this strange intimate moment with yourself and realize that you've had yourself all wrong? I just had one of those moments. As weird as it sounds, it made me cry.

I feel like all this stress and worry just came to a head, and I realized that if I were anyone else looking at me then I would give myself a huge hug and say, "Relax. Seriously. It's okay."

I faced this struggle I've had for a long time between seeing myself as a polished woman versus a carefree child. I'm always afraid being the former will make me boring, but then being the latter always makes me wonder if I'm just avoiding growing up. I mean, I fully intend on always staying a kid at heart, but it's hard to find your place in a professional setting and as a married woman, etc., when you aren't quite ready to be an adult just yet. I want so badly to feel prepared, but this playful child inside of me keeps tugging at me to not forget her.

There are a lot of things that, no matter how "grown up" I will ever be, I just don't have control over. I don't have control over what other people will think of me (though I can take actions to shed a better light on myself), I can't control who likes me or wants to be friends with me, I can't control car accidents, natural disasters, or almost anything in the outside world really. However, I have control over my own actions. I think for way too long I have felt subject to my personality. Why do we think it's okay to blame things on our personalities? I say this because we all do it. "That's just who I am."

Yes, to a certain extent, that's a healthy attitude to have. It's good to have self-confidence and be able to weed out your typical nay-sayers from people who have something legitimate to tell you. But the key is to listen to those people who really have something to say. In this particular case, that someone is me. I have a lot of things to say to myself, and I'm going to do it. Hopefully I listen.

I apologize for the confusing nature of this post. It's almost 4am. The point I was eventually going to get at is that I want to fix myself so I can stop being so focused on myself. It's like getting a car tuned up so you don't have to worry about it for another 3,000 miles. I must tell you, my soul is way past it's check-up date, and it causes me to worry about it on an almost daily basis. I would like to fix my internal world so I can focus on everything that's outside of it. I'm going to start by cleaning out my closet and getting rid of clothes I don't need.

Please don't ask how that's going to help my soul because, if you don't understand that, then you could never possibly understand me.

Did I mention it's 4am?

Edit: (February 17,2011) I just saw this poem on a friend's blog and couldn't believe how well it goes with my post above:

Love After Love
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

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