She double-checks her reflection yet again, judging herself, wishing she could look like the model on the magazine she has haphazardly lying on the floor. She frowns at the fat rolls she can’t smooth out under her sweater. She thinks if only she’d tried harder in P.E. maybe she could look more like the other girls, the ones with the shiny hair, and the straight smiles. Maybe then she’d fit in. She runs her tongue over the braces on her teeth and frowns yet again. She only wishes she could look like them, then she could be happy.
She keeps her head down in the halls, trying not to attract attention. She gazes longingly at the gaggle of cheerleaders chatting by the lockers and thinks about how she was too afraid to try out for the team because of her weight. Secretly she loves to dance. As one of the jocks nearly plows her over while walking along, she rolls her eyes, and continues, wishing she wasn’t always so invisible.
She finishes her eyeliner and mascara, smooths on her lipgloss, then stares at her reflection. With a dissatisfied look on her face, she takes the straightener to her hair one more time. Her mother yells from the other room that she’s going to be late again if she doesn’t hurry up. She hates all the pressure to wear makeup and straighten her hair. She likes it curly, but her mother says she looks better with it straight. She doesn’t even like wearing makeup, but as head cheerleader, it’s sort of a requirement. She never wanted all of the attention being a cheerleader brought, but her mother was a professional dancer and forced it on her, so she felt like she had to. She sighs as she runs out the door.
While she stands by her locker getting ready for class, she checks her reflection again when she sees one of the jocks nearly plow over one of the other girls from her class, or she thinks she’s in her class, she’s not really sure. She watches her roll her eyes and thinks longingly how nice it would feel to be able to just brush that off and not care. She notices the girl’s sweater and wishes she could wear sweaters. Her mother says sweaters make her look too boyish. Not that girl, that girl looks nice.
She blots her lipstick as she looks into the mirror, a smear of discontent on her face. “That’ll have to do,” she says as she turns to walk out the door. She notices a stain on her suit jacket and sighs. Grabbing a baby wipe from her car she does her best to get rid of it while backing out of the driveway. She’s got a big meeting at work this morning and she’s hoping nobody notices the disastrous birds nest on her head today. She had no time to style her hair. She wonders how those polished business women do it. The ones who seem to have it all together, their kids are always clean with matching socks, and their hair is so smooth like they must have a coconut oil infused shower head or something. It must be nice to have it all together like that. She wishes she could. She snaps out of her reverie as she realizes she’s going to be late, yet again. Oops.
She purses her lips as she looks at her watch. She wonders why people can’t seem to get anywhere on time. She taps her foot impatiently and wishes she had grabbed a refill on her coffee before leaving the house. If only she’d taken a few extra minutes, it’s not like anybody was here anyway. She thought about the kitchen and wondered if she’d turned off the coffee pot. Yes, surely she did. Or did she? Oh well, at least she looked the part. She wondered if they would see through it. If they’d find out she’s all a fraud. That she doesn’t actually have it all together, but everything is instead hanging by a thread tied to her shoe as she drags it around all day clutching her thoughts in her handbag. Would they know? While she waits her thoughts return to the coffee pot. It’s okay if the coffee pot stays on for a while, they have homeowners insurance so the worst thing that could happen is the house burns down, but nobody is at home, so that’s okay.
She forces a smile as her colleagues begin to trickle into the meeting. She notices one woman who seems the cover model for casual chic. How does she look so effortlessly put together? And she seems genuinely happy and relaxed. She admires her messy bun and wishes she could figure out how to style her hair that way. As she gazes at the woman while sipping her coffee, she wishes she could be that happy. “Let’s call this meeting to order.”
So often we look at our reflection with critical eyes. With eyes determined to point out our flaws, our weaknesses. Perhaps if we looked through the lenses of the eyes of others, we might see the things we miss, what we take for granted, what is already there, waiting to be noticed, to be appreciated. We might see our weaknesses become strengths. Our flaws become assets. Our sorrows become joys.
The next time you see your reflection, try looking with softer, more forgiving, more loving eyes. Try to see yourself the way others see you, and appreciate the beauty that is already there just waiting to be noticed, to be seen. What would happen if you stopped comparing and allowed yourself to just be-you-tiful? I think that’d be pretty special. How about you?
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