Mirror Gazing

Mirror Gazing

When I joined the ranks of motherhood I think looking at myself in the mirror became something that happened on special occasions.  Like when I had to leave the house!   The thought of really looking deeply and seeing myself is a foreign concept.  Think about it. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and really saw yourself?  I’m not talking about glancing to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth.  I’m not talking about plucking unwanted hairs.  I’m not talking about applying make-up.  I’m talking about mirror gazing.


When I named this blog Imperfection Revolution there was a reason………I want to start an Imperfection Revolution!  From the very beginning, I had ideas for expanding beyond just this page.  The second step of my plan was to create and run a women’s only online support group to help others join this revolution.  A few weeks ago,  Imperfection Revolution-Private Group was created!  Feel free to follow the link and request to join!


In this group we’ve started reading Warrior Goddess Training and following the lessons each week.  Week one required mirror gazing which sounds really simple.  For ten days, you’re supposed to stare at yourself in the mirror and notice what you see, how you feel and what you say to yourself.


My first attempt was accompanied by laughter and four-letter words.  It felt utterly ridiculous to sit in front of a mirror staring at myself.  My instincts all screamed for me to turn away.  When I forced myself to look it was difficult and uncomfortable.  I saw sun damaged skin.  I saw wrinkles I hadn’t noticed before.  I realized how deep my frown lines between my eyes have gotten.  I noticed the laugh lines now etched around my mouth.  The scar on my cheek where Tristan punched me with a cowbell had faded but is still there….


Yes, he did!  And yes, it was really a cowbell!


I picked and picked and picked until finally, discouraged I walked away.


The next day I procrastinated because I didn’t want to try again.  I would have done anything to get out of it, but I knew the ladies in my group were counting on me.  Back I went to mirror gaze and back I went to picking myself apart! I found rogue hairs in places they shouldn’t be and hair missing in spots it should be!  I noticed a line in my neck that makes it look like I have some kind of weird skin flap thing going on when I’m doing videos for the group.


I picked and picked and picked until finally, discouraged I walked away.


The next day Noah passed his driver’s test and when I mirror gazed I told myself I looked old and tired! I probably looked fine, but in my head, I had to be old to have a son who’s now driving. Or maybe it was the stress of having a son driving that instantly aged me! Either way, I saw more wrinkles that day than ever before.


I picked and picked and picked until finally, discouraged I walked away.


By the fourth day I was DREADING this exercise, but I knew there had to be a point to it. As I sat in front of the mirror looking at my frown lines it occurred to me that those lines come from twenty years of stress.  Those lines come from twenty years of cancer fear, twenty years of autism stress, and twenty years of anxiety.  To not have those lines at this point in my life would mean to not have had Tristan for the last twenty years.  In that moment, my thinking shifted.  Those lines were no longer a reminder of aging.  No longer a blinking neon light of imperfection.


They were a battle scar from a war I’ve been fighting a long time.


Once I made this realization, what I saw in the mirror shifted.


Those laugh lines I hated a few days before were now a reminder of how much I’ve laughed in my life.  That’s a blessing!


Those sun spots I try to hide, are reminders of all the time I’ve spent relaxing at a beach or by a pool!  Those are my favorite things to do!


That scar from the cowbell……honestly, I could do without that one because it hurt like a bitch!  However, it made for a funny story!


For the first time that week I didn’t cringe and I didn’t pick.  I looked and then I was able to walk away instead of running away.


The evolution over the next few days was pretty insane.  I noticed my long eyelashes that I’ve passed on to both boys.  The ones that cause envy in others.  I haven’t really SEEN them in a long time.


I noticed that while I can come across as aloof sometimes, I have kind eyes.  And I noticed how my face lights up when I smile.


That day I spent longer looking than the others and again I walked away instead of running.


By the end of the week I started to see someone I haven’t seen in a long time.  ME!


I LOVE being a mother and I would not trade being home all these years for anything.  I cherish every single moment of every day.  Even the really bad moments where I thought I’d end up in a padded cell.  But during that time, I lost myself.  I was so wrapped up in being a caregiver to everyone, I stopped being a caregiver to me.  This is something I work on daily, but because I’m human, there are some days I fail at it.


There I sat staring at myself and I realized I was seeing the woman others see.  I’ve heard for years how strong I am.  How admired I am.  What a great advocate I am.  I understand where those compliments come from, but I’ve never felt I was doing anything extraordinary.  Part of me still doesn’t.  However, while looking in the mirror I saw that warrior that lives inside me emerging.


In the last few weeks I’ve stumbled onto a path I never knew I was meant to be on.  My existence has been so wrapped up in special needs that my heart has always lead me that way. It still does.  I will always be passionate about working in that field and helping other families like ours.  But I’m also discovering that I have so much to offer women who like me, lose their identity in motherhood, or in careers, or in relationships.  I’ve walked into that ring of fire where the oxygen is gone, looked around, and been completely lost.


And I’ve walked back out.


It wasn’t easy coming out the other side.  It takes courage, hard work, consistency, and diligence.  Being aware of your weaknesses and watching for signs that you’re resorting back to old habits is tough.  Every single day I work on me.  I make time for me.  I pay attention to what I enjoy and what makes me happy.  Those aren’t things to be ashamed of or feel guilty for.


Today when I mirror gazed, I felt like I was being reunited with an old friend.  Maybe an older friend, but in many ways, she’s new and improved.  Before motherhood I was on a path I thought I was supposed to be on, but I now know I would not have been happy.  I would have become a teacher and worked in a school because that’s what I thought I wanted.  I realize now that I’ve always been a teacher innately, but my path was meant to diverge so I could teach other special needs families and so I could teach other women.


If you’ve never mirror gazed before, I highly recommend it.  Be prepared to run screaming the first few times, but stick it out.  You never know who you might meet!


As for me, I find myself smiling at myself when I walk by a mirror now because that chick smiling back at me reminds me I’m exactly where I’m meant to be at exactly the time I’m meant to be here.




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