I loved this in Snow White. A mirror that can actually see deeper than the surface of the reflection in it. I always wanted a mirror that could really look at me and tell me what was what. Can you imagine really being seen like that? Well, we are seen like that in just an average mirror. We are the “mirror mirror” part of this story. It is not a fairy tale that leads to happily ever afters into a sunset while riding on a beautiful horse and holding hands with a handsome man or gorgeous woman. It is the truth. It is the true reality. It is what is staring back at us in that mirror. YOU. You know yourself like no one can ever know you. You know what you like and don’t like. You know what makes you happy and what makes you sad. You know your favorite color or your most despised color in the crayon box. Why are we all so scared of that true reflection?
We all want to look in that mirror and see a supermodel looking back with no imperfections and an amazing post-worthy life. But I have to be honest about this idea, it is non-existent. Even the most beautiful supermodel looks in the mirror and sees something wrong. You may not see it. She does. When I was young, I was skinny. I was size 00 and weighed less than 100 pounds. Then the scale tipped to 102. At 16, I thought that is why I don’t have a date. I am fat. So I starved myself. I didn’t eat for an entire month. Just shakes everyday and lots and lots of exercise. For my return to high school, I would look like a supermodel (a short one but regardless a gorgeous model) who was desired by all. Well, weight didn’t change my life. My fears changed my life. It wasn’t fat looking back at me. It was fear. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of rejection. Fear of being not good enough. Fear of not being everything that I wanted to be. That fear turned into a wall of protection that never allowed me the ability to open up to anyone for many years. I think it all goes back to getting made fun of in elementary school because someone liked me. Then two kids teased me when they realized who I liked. They left fake notes on my desk and laughed when I read them. It continued to Junior High. They teased me because the bad kid in class liked me. (I was quite the fashionista then too LOL.) I was scared that letting anyone know how I felt about another person would open me up for more ridicule especially if those feelings were not reciprocated. So when I looked in the mirror, I saw a girl stuffed with so many feelings and fear that she looked fat from it all.
Unfortunately, I unstuffed myself later in life to the wrong person. When I met him, I was struggling with my reflection. I was a bit lost in life but was not living in despair just limbo of which path to take. There were many options to choose from as a young single woman with possibilities surfacing. I met him and he set a stage for the perfect opportunity to open up my over protection heart. I unstuffed. I felt so good. I felt so safe. I felt so light and thin. I felt beautiful to myself and to someone else. It was like I had imagined. I was so happy to find him and marry him. We started a family. I felt even more amazing.
Then I started looking into the mirror and seeing an image I didn’t recognize anymore. Eyes filled with sadness. Skin weathered with stress. Body exhausted with emotions. She wasn’t fat or thin. She wasn’t happy or sad. She wasn’t pretty or ugly. What was she? Who was she? How did I become like this? I spent hours trying to change her to be what he wanted and needed. I added and subtracted so much of myself that I was a mismatch of random pieces. I was like faceless ghost of who I once was. I was like this after 15 years of narcissistic emotional abuse from the man she married. The man whom I unstuffed myself to and thought loved me regardless of it. He took all that stuffing and used it against me to destroy me piece by piece until all that was left was a woman in so much pain that she didn’t recognize her own reflection.
Narcissistic Emotional Abuse is real. It is so painful that there is no true way to describe it with words. It takes our reflection and makes it so scary that we no longer even want to look. You are not alone. There are so many of us going through this too. We have opened up to an emotional abuser. It is okay. We can heal. I see my reflection now and see the lines. They are there from squinting to look at a beautiful sunset or sunrise. They are there because my kids gave me the joys of laughter. They are there because God reminds me to smile when a friend gives me flowers or a stranger holds a door for me. They are there because they are part of my beautiful story that created my beautiful soul radiating through my eyes and every line. I walked away from the narcissist. I can see the strength in my body.
Love yourself. You are beautiful. You are treasured. You are loved. YOU ARE ENOUGH today and always. Some days will be hard to look in the mirror. Just remember where you have been, what you have learned and where you are going. Look in the mirror and say, “HELLO GORGEOUS, YOU GOT THIS AND WILL ALWAYS BE ENOUGH!”
Breathe out the negativity. Breathe in the positivity. Breathe out the ugly. Breathe in the beauty. Breathe out the loneliness. Breathe in the power of you.