REFLECTIONS OF MYSELF

Looking for something else, I stumbled upon a notebook musing from a few years ago:

I like best to see my face reflected in a window at night. The outline is clear, but the details are less distinct. It’s such an accomplished [self-contained] pleasure, admiring my own reflection.

I once asked a man, at the beginning of a new romance, when we were first shyly revealing the traits we found marvelous and fascinating in each other, “Don’t you think I see you differently than you see yourself?”

He considered and replied, “It’s only natural. I know myself better than you do.”

It was so easy for me to admire and cherish him. But he to himself and me to myself–it’s not as easy. We know the blemishes.

When I look into a mirror–a clear flat, distinct and well-lit reflection–my eyes seek our all the imperfections. I put my face right close and examine all the planes and crevices. I wonder what I’m looking for? Don’t I know my face already? I don’t linger over the good features, but I move straight to mottles in my skin, or to my crooked teeth. Are my eyebrows incorrect? And which standard should I choose?

I want to believe I am beautiful. I want it so very badly. Because if I am beautiful, I will be loved. And if I am loved, then I will live in the sunshine and nothing can be wrong.

I don’t undersatnd this trap, a slippery slop to never-fulfillment. What if I am loved, but am not beautiful? What if it rains on me and the ones who love me? It must be a flaw in me. When hard times come, it must be because I am not loved enough. But who could love me enough? I am not beautiful enough for that kind of love.

When I see myself in the night-window reflection, I am less distinct. I don’t have to see the confusing minutia of my appearance. I can be pleased with the outline. I can love myself, forgive the imperfections. I can have what I so crave and not be indebted to someone else.

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