Sunday, April 27, 2014

Through My Own Eyes

Warning:  Those who love me most should not read this--that includes you, Mom!

Many, many changes happening in my heart these days.  From the outside, every thing is exactly as it's always been.  Hard working,  dedicated to those I love, willing to do all I can to help others.

But inside, I'm changing.  It started with a trip to the doctor's office where she and I agreed that I needed help.  Just something that would help me sleep and help me enjoy life again.  It took several trips and some tears before we got it right.  But I was blessed with a doctor who understood me and even told me she had the same struggles.  She listened without judgment. She didn't look at the clock even once as I was telling her my story.  She made me feel like the most important patient of the day despite having many others to see that day.

So I left with the medication.  And it did what it was supposed to do.  But it had a side effect that wasn't on the warning label--clarity.  The clarity to see all the things I had successfully hidden from myself.  

Most of the issues were no big deal.  Yeah, my dad left me and filled me with empty promises, but I had my moment of closure on that not so long ago.  And it's true I spent way too much of my life trying to become their image of me instead of who I am, but I've turned that around, too. 

But it's the mirror that is my biggest struggle.  I avoid my reflection because I don't like what I see.  And I know in my heart that it's ridiculous.  One's outer image should not reflect who they truly are, but, for me it's hard. 

I'm not some hideous creature. I know this.  But every glimpse in the mirror causes those feelings of....well I don't even know how to say it.  Just tremendous self-consciousness I guess.  Those feelings of not being enough..  Those feelings of just not being enough. 

I would like to blame society,  but in all honesty, there is no one to blame.  At some point. I just became so uncomfortable with myself that it was easier to hide behind the ideas of what others thought I should be.  I chose that.  I allowed that. 

So, when I look at the mirror and cringe, I know it's a part of the process.  It's so much easier to look at myself through the eyes of others.  Facing myself in the mirror hurts, but it hurts because I'm truly seeing myself for the first time.  And it's scary.  It's understandable that the process of seeing myself through my own eyes is going to take time and is going to hurt for awhile.  And it's going to take time. 

But today, I know this:  I am truly awesome at what I do and would sacrifice all that I have for the kids in my classroom.  I have the four most amazing nieces and nephew that somehow see what I wish I could see in myself.  And I have a body that society doesn't appreciate but allows me to do all that I wish to do.  I can play on the floor with five year olds.  I can haul sets and scenery with middle school students.  I can make it through a day where I encounter 120 students without giving up and sitting down.

And while I'm still struggling with those self image issues, I have started on the path.  My brown eyes that I thought were inferior to my brother's brilliant blue eyes, are actually pools of warmth and hidden wisdom.  It's not much, but it's a start. 

And I know this has to be my process.  Those that love me simply love me for being me.  And that is important.  Let's face it, most of those people think that I'm pretty close to perfect.  I just hope I can see myself the way they see me--someday.