Absent Minded Muser

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Mirror, Mirror – No daydream, only a Nightmare

on March 9, 2012

‘How doth the mirror reflect the little nightingale that sings its sorrowful tune; 

A cry of such sweet sorrow, that only pain can bloom.’

Reading the blog Faith Barista about how she longed for photos of her childhood, ached for the memories, brought to mind a pain that is inside of me, I had and still have a bad relationship with photos.   I look back on the years that were captured and I feel, more than anything, wretched.

Back then, I avoided mirrors.  I hated seeing my reflection, I barely remember what I looked like back then – if I think about all the times I looked at myself.  The only reason I even have the slightest idea of what I looked like is because of photos.

There were a lot of harsh words spoken when I was young.  I never felt good enough, strong enough, beautiful or kind.  I was constantly being degraded by the people around me – regardless of their true intentions, it wounded me.

No mirror cast my reflection for six or more years.  Even in a store, a public place, I dodged the mirrors.

I recall one time, I was with my aunt, sisters and cousins, we were in a store and as we were walking to the check-out, I received a flash of my image in one of the mirrored columns that kept the building standing.  In that, distorted mirror, I saw something I had hoped to never see… my reflection.

I ran from it, literally; I fled from that mirror, as my heart  began to hurt and ache.  Who did I think I was? Feeling even the slightest bit of confidence? I was a nobody, a fat, ugly nobody, who wore green-sweats all the time because I couldn’t fit into jeans and I was too ashamed to try.

I still remember that day with perfect clarity, it was a harsh day on my heart.  I wasn’t the same after that moment, I could barely give a smile.  It was all so forced as I wanted to run, hide and cry.

I hated myself; hated who I was; hated all my short-comings, all my ugliness.  It’s harsh to say, but, my mom had quite a bit of influence on my self-loathing.  I know she didn’t mean to, she was only trying to help me; but, I still recall one time, in her bitter words when she said; “You’re just so fat!”

The word ‘fat’ came out like a whip, and slashed through that thin crust of confidence I tried to make look larger than it was.  Thinking about it, it still hurts me today, even to my own mother, I seemed inadequate.  How dare I believe I was worth something.

That’s what I told myself.  I was cruel to my image, abused myself repeatedly in my head.  Vicious, nasty words that no one could stop or control.  I hide my pains behind a layer of smiles and laughter – not that all of it was fake, just some of it.

I know I am not alone, there are many people out there, who suffer from self-loathing and feel inadequate, even to the point of cutting themselves. Luckily, I never cut myself.  But, there are those who aren’t.  They cut themselves to feel something, anything or to relieve the pain that they feel.

The reason, I bring this up, is because Thursday night or morning if you like, I had a nightmare.  I was at a swimming pool with my sisters and as the dream went on… the words came out.  My sisters (though they wouldn’t say this to me anymore) sneered at me with such loathing and spoke nasty, hateful words to me.  The dream continued on much like that, people all telling me such hateful things about who I was, how I looked, how ugly and ashamed I should be.  In my dream, I was crying.  I woke up sobbing.

It all felt so silly once I was awake, but the pain from that nightmare lingered in my head the rest of the morning.  It’s a reminder of the cruelty of my past, it is a battle that I am fighting as I type this; a battle that I must win.  Even if it takes me my entire life, I will win.

Even today, I have a hard time looking in the mirror.  It’s hard for me, but I do it anyway, because I am learning to love what God sees, not what I see.

Dear friends, you are not alone.  We have all suffered some heart-ache; some hurt that we felt we would never get over, or you feel you will never get over.  But, there is a way to at least, ease the ache of those wounds and it’s through God’s love, and His love alone, that we can be healed.

Things never get better by ignoring them, they only get worse.  I pray you all will seek out those wounds that torment you, especially when you are alone, and give those pains to God.  I know it’s hard to trust, but if there is anyone, anyone at all you should be trusting… it’s Him.

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