This is Who I Am

mirror-1548409The other morning, I sat in the bathroom, on the toilet, and stared at myself in the mirror. There isn’t much else to do on the toilet in this bathroom, you know, if you don’t bring your phone with you.  I’m not sure I was really using the toilet as much as I was still half asleep and didn’t want to actually stand up and move. I was leaning against the wall, and I think it was holding me up. Hell, I might even have fallen asleep. But when I when I’m awake and using this bathroom, I often avoid eye contact in the full wall mirror in behind the sink–yes, even with myself–so I don’t have to actually SEE myself.

Why? Because I hate the way I look.

And to be fair, if this is how I’d always looked, I might not hate it as much or perhaps even at all (hell, I’m a woman, so… no, I probably would [is anyone ever really satisfied completely with how they look?])… but I haven’t always looked this way. A combination of things–age, health, time, money, mental health, life– have all changed how I appear. My hair is thinner than in my 20s and not as red as it used to be, duller, frizzier. My skin is less tan and drier. There are the beginning of lines around my eyes and mouth. I found a grey hair the other day–one lousy grey hair! I’ve put on and lost more weight than I weigh over the course of my life.

My nails need filed. My hair needs brushed. My skin needs exfoliated. I need to clip my toenails (not that I could see that in the mirror, but when you get tired of staring at your face, you look down, and surprise! toes! I need to lose who knows how much weight. I need to color my hair, maybe. I need to wear different clothes–or maybe even manage to get dressed in real clothes and not pajamas on any given random Wednesday.

Shoes. I probably should wear shoes more. *wiggles toes*

And then there’s the health issues. The oxygen cannula. The anemic look. The flushing and red cheeks. The little broken capillaries on my skin. The bruises.

I could actually go on and on… but I won’t.

You’re welcome.

Because see, I stopped and mentally screamed at myself: QUIT THIS!

Stop it! Right now!

THIS IS NOT WHO YOU ARE!

This is not who I am.

Who I am is not the image in the mirror. I am not my appearance. YOU are not YOUR appearance. That’s a facade that changes. I can gain or lose weight. I can color or cut my hair. I can change my clothes or go naked. I can do any number of things to alter that appearance, up to and even including radical surgical alteration!

But WHO I am would still be the same…

I am the girl who felt butterflies when Molly Ringwald kissed Andrew McCarthy. Ack! I wanted to BE her right then. I’m the girl whose lips trembled when she had her first real kiss, and whose soul trembles now when I have a real good kiss, even after all these years. This should tell you a whole lot about me, whether you realize that or not.

I’m the girl who loves foot massages but is ticklish on her feet. This right here actually defines me in such a metaphorical way if you really stop and think about it. Mr. Michy understands, oh, but all too well.

I’m the girl who doesn’t like sweet things (pass the chips, please!) but will go ga-ga over the perfect creme brulee and will almost skip dinner completely and go straight for it, especially if served with Turkish espresso.

I’m the woman who loves food, good food, messy food, sexy food, healthy food, and all the components that go into making and eating food. I love to cook. I love to feed people. And I’ve gotten pretty damned good at it. All of this makes me a little bit of a food snob, and a restaurant’s best friend or worst enemy. I like how that has come to define me. And yet, I’m also the woman who has a love/hate relationship with this food, because I’m constantly, my entire adult life, fighting with my health issues to control my weight, and it’s all this lovely food that adds to that struggle.

I’m a slob. Not really filthy or anything like that, and there is a method to my apparent madness only I can understand, but I a a packrat and have no real organization to my life. This also drives certain OCD people in my life to distraction, but this is who I am. I have fought it for years before finally giving in to it. These days, we just hire someone to clean the house!

I love animals. I love them more than people. I could live in the wild and never see another human being again for the rest of my life and as long as I had my birds and my dog, I could be happy. I’d love to have a duck and a pig and some rabbits too, but my family has put their collective foots down and said no. The meanies. What the hell do you mean, Five parrots, two dogs and two cats are enough? Bah! Mr. Michy called me Ellie May the other day. Hrmph. I turn into a four-year-old squealing child when I’m playing with puppies. Ask Lynn. I do. Really. Animals are honest, real emotion. They are trust personified, or animalonified, or whatever.

I completely with all my heart believe that lap giraffes and unicorns are real and that I will eventually have one of each of my very own.

I dream in third person.

Stop and think about that for a moment. I seriously dream in third person. I’m betting you don’t. I ALWAYS do.

I have voices in my head that don’t belong to me. They’ve been there my entire life, as far back as I can remember. They talk to me. I talk to them. Sometimes, they tell me their stories and I turn them into novels or short stories. Other times, we just talk and they keep me company. You’d think this would make me crazy, but in reality, it’s mostly what keeps me sane. You will think I mean this in the same way that most writers mean this. I don’t.

It’s possible the previous paragraph is the reason I dream in third person.

I am generous to a fault, and sometimes to my own detriment. I give, even when I shouldn’t. I trust, even when I know better. I care, even when I get nothing back to fill me up in return. I give second and third chances, when I probably shouldn’t even give first chances. And it’s hurt me, sure, but I assure you, for ever sling or arrow received, the gratitude and abundance that living this way has given me is beyond enough to make up for it and then some. I regret nothing.

All that said, when I’m done, I’m done. There is a line you can cross, and once you cross it, that’s it. You’ve heard what Mr. Wonderful says? You’re dead to me? Well, this is one of those times when I can honestly say there are worse things than being dead.

I’m the woman who sees when her friends are hurting, I hurt. I physically, emotionally hurt for them. I’m the person who says you can call at 3am who actually WILL be there for you, no questions asked, no matter what it takes. Speaking of friends…I have a lot of “friends”. There are a lot of people who call ME ‘friend’. There are, however, very few people I trust as MY friends, and I treasure those hearts completely.

I am a good mother. I am a good friend. I am a good partner/wife. I am a good person. I have a big heart, and not just because I have heart failure! LOL I love to laugh and make people laugh. I love to make people feel at ease and smile.

When I go out in public, I try to make sure that the people I meet during the day walk away from me slightly happier than before they ran into me. I compliment random strangers, but my compliments are sincere. The secret is, their smiles and surprise does more for me than my compliment does for them.

So I think about all these things… and many many many many more… and I realize that I am a mix of all these crazy mixed up things, all these qualities that are who I am. These feelings and emotions and actions that make up the whole of me.

And I like who I am… the me inside.

My outward appearance is such a small part of who I am that it might not even matter.

And quite frankly, if it matters to you only what I look like and the rest of it doesn’t sway you at all, then you’re not a person I need in my life.

Which causes me to look back up from my feet at the woman in the mirror. And I say out loud to her, “If the whole of who I am doesn’t sway you to love me just as I am, then…”

Wow.

Maybe I don’t look quite so bad, after all.

Love and stuff,

Michy

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One comment to This is Who I Am

  • Buffy  says:

    We all, every one of us, have at least two sets of vision (some of us have more). How, you might ask, is that possible when we only have one set of eyes? We can see things objectively, those physical things which exist in the visible spectrum. We can see them, if we choose, without judgement, seeing them exactly as they are. But, let’s be honest, how often do we humans ever see anything without some sort of judgement?

    So, some of us see things through filters we impose. The filter we use determines what sort of vision we employ.

    Use the “Hollywood” filter, and nothing, not even perfection, is good enough… we find fault with everything/everyone and noone and nothing can ever measure up.

    Use the “logical” filter, and then things either make sense or they do not. We apply logic and maybe our own experiences to what we see… perhaps we are more compassionate, or perhaps we are selectively critical… depends on the individual, I think.

    But use “the eyes of love” filter, and suddenly you find a much greater degree of acceptance, compassion, caring, adoration even. How does your faithful dog see you? He thinks you are amazing! He thinks you hang the moon nightly. He accepts you when you are healthy or when you are ill, when you are dressed to the nines or just out of bed, hair askew, disheveled — he adores you!

    Children are like this before we start corrupting their vision. They love us simply for who we are.

    So wouldn’t it be lovely if we could look at ourselves through the eyes of love? Surely, we deserve to see ourselves with some compassion and even some adoration? It’s a very tall order for most of us… we’re harder on ourselves than we are on most everyone else (or maybe not – maybe we need to employ the eyes of love much more often).

    And have some faith that if you can see yourself through the eyes of love, others will be able to see you through that lens, as well. And if it helps, just a little, then know that I see you through the eyes of love. When you are having trouble with your vision, look through my eyes for a while, please.

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