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What I See in the Mirror

by Daniel Speraw


I have just realized that what I see in the mirror is not nearly as much as the mirror sees. I am looking at nice cheekbones, unusually light-blue eyes and hair. The mirror also sees wrinkles, a big nose and balding.

Has it always shown the parts that I like and hidden the rest?

“Yes.”

I fumbled, dropping the hair gel and gaped at my reflection. I sometimes talk to myself, but this was creepy.

My reflection asked, “So why not look at all of you?”

I stuck my head out the door and checked the bedroom; it was probably best to be alone right now. Back to the mirror, I stepped in the sticky gel.

“Well?” he asked.

I stammered, “I, I am not sure, I just do not like seeing some parts of me.”

“Because?”

“I, I don’t--!”

“How about because of the way it makes you feel?” he interrupted.

“Maybe.”

“Come on!” he urged. “It’s not the body parts you are avoiding but the negative feelings that go with them.”

I could hear the rebellious tone in my voice, as I said, “There is nothing wrong with a little avoidance.”

“No, there is nothing wrong, as long as you want to stay delusional, defensive and weak.”

I frowned. He did not.

I heard the belligerence in my voice, as I said, “The only delusion here is talking to you.” It sounded weak, even to me.

“Think about it,” he answered. “You look at your cheekbones and eyes and avoid looking at your lack of hair and wrinkles in order to—.”

After a moment, I whispered, “—see myself as younger.”

“But no matter what you ignore in the mirror, you do not look younger.”

I nodded, not quite believing it.

“That is the delusional part. Shall we talk about defensive?”

I reluctantly nodded again and said, “No.”

Ignoring me, he said, “You also hide these parts of yourself from everyone else. Are you hoping they will not notice?”

I was getting tired of nodding.

“And what happens when they do notice? Remember yesterday when that secretary looked at your high forehead? What did you feel?”

“Well, Dr. Phil, I am just not sure.”

He waited, eyebrows raised.

I sighed and said, “I suppose I felt embarrassed.”

“And defensive?”

“Alright, defensive.”

“And you are never defensive unless you are feeling in a weak position. So, there you have it: delusional, defensive and weak.”

I began a retort, but he rode right over me: “If you had nothing to defend, you would not care what people thought.”

Indignant, I said, “I do not care now! And I say so, loud and clear!”

“Those who say it are the ones who care the most.”

I opened my mouth and then reluctantly shut it.”

He said, “Come on, you can handle reality.”

I took a deep breath and asked, “So, all I have to do is look at what I do not want to see?”

He nodded and said, “And eventually, you will move beyond these feelings.”

I slowly began to say, “So if I look at the—”

My image jumped in: “—ugly, disgusting, awful parts of yourself—”

“—and feel the feelings, I will end up accepting all of me?”

I turned my head and felt relieved as my image turned with me.

“What an awful nose,” I thought. “Long. Humped. Skinny. Nobody should be saddled with a beak like this.”

My image startled me: “Breathe normally and relax, especially your stomach.”

I took a deep breath, let go of the tension in my body and thought, “How can I hold up my head in public, knowing that people are seeing this nose? It just—.”

My image again interrupted: “Try feeling without using any words.”

“Hey!” I said. “Enough.”

My wife called from the bedroom, “Who are you talking to?”

I jerked away from the mirror, foot sliding in the sticky puddle and stuttered, “Nobody, uh, myself, I, uh, dropped the hair gel.”

 

 Daniel Speraw began writing in the 1980's, with a nationally syndicated newspaper column; however, through-out his Life, he has searched through religion, meditation and psychology, so that he could release the past and connect more deeply with those in his life. His current literary project is This Human Condition, sixty-four short pieces on positive change. For those that desire change in their lives, Daniel uses his gift of deep intuition to support fulfillment. He also uses the gifts of insight and storytelling in writing The Human Condition, a series of entertaining vignettes supporting positive change. Contact Daniel: dshc@att.net or 831 768-7604


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