My New Mirror

25 Nov


In my teenage and young adult years, I was a mirror checker.  I checked, not because I thought I was beautiful, but because I was worried about what others were seeing.  I was seeking perfection.  If I caught a reflective glimpse in a glass window or in the car’s rearview mirror, I had to check.  Was my hair out of place?  Was my makeup OK?  Did I need some lipgloss?  Did I hide that zit well enough?

I was insecure with how I looked and even more with who I was.  I wanted to fit in.  To be one of the beautiful, popular girls.  I wanted to be wanted.  I’m not sure why I was so insecure.  My parents were wonderfully nurturing, supportive and loving.  There are two things that I figure factored in pretty strongly.  First, we moved many times throughout my childhood, which resulted in me usually being the “outsider” who didn’t fit in.  Kids find anything to pick on other kids about, and when you’re the outsider, you frequently become the target.  I remember many comments like “four eyes, buck teeth, brace face, ugly girl,” etc.  Pair that with being a preacher’s kid who is constantly reminded and aware that others are watching her and making judgments, and you might just end up with a big heap o’ insecurity.

HOW it developed is not so important really.  The point I’m trying to make is that I became a mirror checker.  Constantly assessing my appearance and trying to look a little better.  Worrying about how I looked to all those people watching me.  Wanting to fit in.

In one of my moments of clarity on my recent trip to Atlanta, I realized that a shift has taken place since I became a mother.  It hit me when I came out of the restroom at an airport and sat down to wait.  I wondered if I had crumbs on my face and realized that I hadn’t checked the mirror when I was in the bathroom.  I thought about it, and realized that I rarely check anymore.  Me.  The same woman who used to religiously check in any reflective surface.

I’m not talking about NEVER looking in a mirror.  I still mirror-gaze during my normal morning (OK… sometimes noonish) routine to do my hair, apply makeup and all the other self-care things that require a mirror.  It’s not that I’ve “let myself go.”  It’s something different.

It’s a shift in my perspective.  A new peace within myself.  I’m OK with who I am.  I don’t need to check reflections to see what others are seeing.  I have a new mirror.  Her name is Jenna.  What matters to me now is how she sees me, and what I want her to see most is what’s on the INSIDE.  I’m focused more on values and morals, and much, MUCH less on outward appearances.  It also helps that she could care less if I even have makeup on or if my hair is done.  A huge zit equals concern for my “boo-boo,” but no judgment of any sort.  Baggy sweat pants and a faded t-shirt don’t result in raised eyebrows or concern about my hygiene from her.  She loves me for who I am.  Unconditionally.  She attends to internal qualities like kindness, patience, humor, gentleness, and love.  The things I want to focus more on.  She makes me want to BE a better person, not just to look like one.

So, if you see me on the street in clothes that are a little “last year” (or last decade), my hair is out of place, my lipstick is worn off, and my shoes are a little “clunky,” raise your eyebrows if you must.  It’s OK with me.  I’ve got a new mirror.



Posted by on November 25, 2008 in Jenna, Stream of consciousness


13 responses to “My New Mirror

  1. Renée aka Mekhismom

    November 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

    What a great post. I feel the same way. I have to admit sometimes I go out in public way less than perfect. Actually, I look downright horrendous but in my son’s eyes it doesn’t matter. And really that is all that is important. Great post!

  2. Kylie

    November 25, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Fabulous post.

    Unfortunately it is not allowed for me to leave the house not looking fashionable and fabulous. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal here. They seriously follow you around in stores if you’re shopping while wearing jeans.

    But it’s not important, and you’re absolutely right.

  3. Lee Anne

    November 25, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Great post!

  4. Issa

    November 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful post. Truly. I feel the same way. The only mirrors I need are the three little people who love me just as I am. Plus, I want them to know that the outer stuff isn’t important, compared to the inner qualities. Do I have beautiful children? Yes. Is Jenna Beautiful? Absolutely, yes. But kids need to learn what is really important. Girls especially, since they are shown what they should be and never a realistic view, from a very young age.

    Ok, so two other things. One you won my contest. Funny lady, you are. Send me your address and I’ll put that gift card in the mail to you. I promise I’m not an eye eating stalker. 😉

    Two, I kinda want to eat Jenna’s cheeks. They just look so yummy. Hey, i never said I didn’t eat cheeks, just eyeballs.

  5. Heather

    November 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    That is so lovely. I totally agree with you and love how you wrote it. I love the fact that we can be fat, thin, spotty, greasy haired and all those other things that we once cared about and our kids will see us as beautiful.

  6. Insta-Mom

    November 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I love, love, love this post. Beautiful.

  7. Domestic Extraordinaire

    November 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Awesome post!

    Although sadly my older mirror started getting lippy with me and now makes me rethink how I am dressed at times. I truly hope that Jenna is more of the Chicken variety (who loves me and tells me how fabulous I am) and not of the Giggles “older mirror” variety.


  8. psychmamma

    November 25, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Renee – I definitely have lower standards for myself going out now too. Good for me – Bad for the rest of the world. Ha!

    Kylie – THIS is why you need that invisibility cloak!

    LeeAnne – Thanks!

    Issa – I agree with you 100%. I’m so excited about the contest win!! Thanks a million. And, um, stay away from Jenna’s cheeks (but they ARE very kissable)

    Heather – Unconditional love is amazing!

    Insta-Mom – Thanks friend!

    DE – Ha! I actually thought about the fact that my mirror might be telling me something different when she gets around 13 years old. I decided to enjoy the now and cross that bridge when I get there. I’m glad you have Chicken to balance out the Giggles. 🙂

  9. iMommy

    November 26, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Wow, what a great post. It is amazing how motherhood changes us – in ways that aren’t always immediately obvious.


  10. Maura

    November 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Sweet! 🙂

  11. wonder woman

    October 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Hey there — I’m here reading the link you posted for Heather of the EO’s anniversary. What a fantastic post. It makes me think of that Martina McBride song “In my Daughter’s Eyes.”

  12. christy

    October 7, 2009 at 3:43 am

    I loved this post – I found it through the comment on Heather’s blog. I see you haven’t posted in a while and may not again, but I’m going to go through your archives when I have a chance. I feel the same way about myself now – and I used to stare in the mirror for HOURS….

  13. Heather of the EO

    October 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

    “She makes me want to BE a better person, not just to look like one.”

    I love that. I love this post. Thank you for sharing it with me.


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