those are designer bags under my eyes

The mirror and I have a history.

When I was a baby, it would make me stop crying to set me in front of it (my parents still give me grief about this).

I have spent more time in front a mirror than anyone I know.

Not primping or perfecting the reflection.

But searching and questioning what I see.

Pimples and cowlicks and eyebrows and lips and wrinkles and sun damage and eye color and gray hairs a the number of chins and random face hairs and long eye lashes…all overly scrutinized…all imagined different at one time or another.

I have locked myself in the bathroom, plopped myself criss-cross-applesauce  on the counter, and cried to the mirror.

Please be different.

Please be stronger.

Please be better.

Please be braver.

Please be…more.

I have stood, tears streaming down my face, and yelled at the mirror: THIS IS NOT WHO I AM! WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS??

I have stripped down to nothing and chastised the mirror for what it showed me:  fat, out of shape, lazy.

I have smacked the mirror with the palm of my hand hoping, that like our TV from my childhood, I could knock the picture back to what looked acceptable to me.

Many, many times I have thought myself to look one way, only to have the mirror punch me in the face with the truth.

Or at least the truth I see when I look in the mirror.

“I wish you saw what the rest of the world sees,” I have heard my husband, my friends, my family say.

I do not know what this is.

When I look in the mirror I see flaws first.

I hate to admit that.

I want so badly to embrace the confidence I try to put out there.  I want the high self-esteem. Not even for myself, but for my boys.  It’s important to me to model what is a healthy attitude.

But many times, I don’t see whatever it is other people see.

But I am trying.

Today I saw a new again mom who was excited about her second son’s baptism.

I saw a bigger me than I wished, but I mostly didn’t mind.  I did just have a baby, after all.  And I am still lighter than I was when said baby was conceived.

I saw a good hair day.

I saw eyes that shined with joy.

I saw a nice smile.

I saw a wife and mother who tries really hard to be the best she can be…and when she falls short?  She tries again the next day.

In fact…this is what I see most days when I stand in front of the looking-glass.

Well, with the addition of a couple bags under my eyes from all the night feedings.

But I tell myself they are Coach bags.

Oh, and?  if Cort passes through the bathroom to our room while I am using the mirror, I see myself as a teenager again…

…because I am probably laughing.

And in that split second, I love myself.

Exactly how I am in the moment.

 This weeks prompt was “When I look in the mirror, I see…”

Also?  Happy birthday to my dad who taught me that it’s ok to get the “funniest looks from everyone we meet.”


New book reviewed: Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler