By Mali Gank
There are days when I look in the mirror, and I am amazed at the reflection. I suppose this is because there were years when I refused to even own a mirror, let alone study the woman staring back at me from the surface of one.
A youth spent listening to backhanded compliments and outright criticisms seemed to have tarnished the image I saw for many years. My reflection was always a twisted form of me, as though some rogue funhouse glass had found its way into each surface I glanced in to check my hair or fix my makeup.
An early marriage perpetuated the feelings of shame I harbored for my own appearance, for the woman in the mirror. “If only you were……” (taller, more graceful, prettier, etc.) seemed to be the refrain beating against the amphitheater of my mind, intensified tenfold for every cell that picked up the rhythm and became convinced of the truth in it.
Years passed before I learned that not one of those voices had any control over me that I didn’t give it, and that a dedication to unearthing a true mirror would be the only way to confront the hurt and lack of appreciation I held for myself. It did not happen all at once, but as each element came together, I began to truly enjoy being myself, and gained respect and love for who I saw in the mirror.
Now when I look into a mirror I see bright eyes, a curly cloud of thick hair, and features that are strong and steady. I see joy and appreciation for the life I have been given, for all the blessings granted. It is a good life, and the reflection smiling back at me from the mirror knows this to be true.