Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reflections on the Mirror.

After starting The Mirror Project last week I've been doing a lot of thinking.

Why did I start this project?  Is it because I want it to catch on so I can be famous?  So I can be on Oprah or something talking about my blog?   So my blog can be listed somewhere important?  So I can afford my own domain name?

Or is this project something that I am doing because I care about the women and girls in my life and the readers of this blog and the women and girls around the world and I'm hoping that in doing this project and viewing these projects they will be able to see themselves for the gorgeous people that they are - on the INSIDE?

It's a soul searching sort of thing.

I want to be honest in my writing.  It's one of my biggest and scariest goals.


Is there some little part of me that wants to be famous?

Yeah.  I admit that.  There is that part that thinks it would be amazing to have my blog recognized on a grand scale.  Did I think about the fact that if this catches on at all then that might happen for me?  Yes.  I did.

Is that the reason I started this project?

No.  It isn't.

I have been praying a lot for humility.  Which is a really scary thing to pray for, because, as they say, when you pray for patience, what you get are opportunities to be patient.  But I don't want this blog, at any point, to be about me getting famous.  That's insanity.  That's not why I'm writing.  It's not why I hope for readership.  It's definitely not why I started this blog.

This blog is a blog that has a lot to do with me.  Sure.  It's my writing.  It's my voice.  A lot of it is based on my personal experiences.  But this blog is about a journey.  A journey into womanhood and through it.  A journey about embracing something that in my younger years I had rejected: my femininity.

It's not some feminist manifesto.  It's not about my political bent.

In the end, the blog is about me trying to spread a message to the women around me that they can embrace the fact that they are women.  It's not a weakness.  It's something in which to find JOY.

So in my soul searching about my reasons for the mirror project, I asked myself a lot of hard questions.  I determined that if this project was really all about me and getting what I wanted and having people do my bidding then I would be taking it down.  Then it was a sickness.

So I prayed.  And I thought about it.  And I asked myself those questions.

And I analyzed the reasons for doing the project at all.

I looked at the pictures sent to me by all these women and I stared at the words I had written on my own bathroom mirror and I realized the why.

So often, when we look in the mirror, we look to check for flaws.

We want to see if that pimple is still there or if we have a hair out of place or if we've got some food stuck between our teeth.

With these words on the mirror it is hard to see the mirror as something negative. It's hard to stand there and study how your skin doesn't fall the way you'd like it to when you are faced with the reasons why you are beautiful and none of them have to do with your skin.  That's the first thing.

The second thing is - as I was writing my reasons - I realized that it was sort of hard.

It was easy to write down things others had said about my body - I could write down - unique hairstyle, pretty eyes, shapely collar bones... but when it came to the internal beauty parts, I found it more difficult.

I found myself coming up with cop-out answers that really didn't have a lot to do with me.  It actually took some time and a re-write to decide on the three things that I really wanted to have on the mirror and in my photograph.

I think the biggest point of this project is for women and girls to get inside themselves enough to figure out what it really is about them that makes them beautiful.  To take that time to come up with three things.

I hope that for many of you, it will be easy!

But for those of you for whom it is hard - those are the women I really hope take the time to do this.  To think about it.  What IS it that makes you beautiful?  What are your three things?

As I was doing all this soul searching, pacing around the kitchen in front of the computer, putzing around the house in general, and thinking about what I had written and why I had written it and wondering what the project was all about, I trudged back upstairs to the bathroom.  While I'd figured out the symbolism behind the Mirror Project, I still felt sort of weird about it.  Like I was missing something.  Like maybe it really was just some selfish self-indulgence.  I also figured, now it was evening, my writing had been there awhile, it was probably time to just go ahead and clean off the mirror.

When I got to my bathroom, this is what I saw:

The brown dry erase marker was lying next to my purple one, still uncapped.

The heart was from my son.  And it's message was so clear I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I stared at it right there, over my sink, and under my words.  A message of love.  Unconditional love.  The love of a child.

I realized in that moment a myriad of things - but more than anything it affirmed what I was doing.  That this project was a worthy one.  No matter how many women actually send a photograph.  My son wanted to reassure me that I was loved no matter what.  My beauty isn't just wrapped up in what I think of me.  It's wrapped up in the love that I am able to give to the people around me - it's part of our duties as women to make OTHERS feel beautiful... 

And when I went into the kids' bathroom, I saw this:

Hearts.  Hearts all over their mirror - and my two year old daughter's additional writing in purple (that's her in the bathtub).

To pass on this love to my children - to  understand and have them understand that to pass on love is the greatest thing that we can do, and to understand that when you pass on love you feel love in return, and that it is cyclical and beautiful and Godly...THIS is the lesson!  Jonah, my amazing six year old, got this simple truth when I couldn't wrap my head around it. 

My son drew that heart on my mirror because of the love that flowed out of him when he saw what I had written - he wanted me to know that no matter what the words said or what I was thinking about myself, I was loved.  And after he had done that, he wanted to spread that love even further.  To his sister, and yes, to himself.

It is my absolute feeling that to love is the greatest duty we have on this planet.  To love others.  And in order to love others - to REALLY love others we must first understand our own worth.  Our own worthiness of love.  To know that WE are loved.  To understand the great love that has been shown to us through Christ - yes, this is a part of my message.  I know not all my readers will follow here, but I think you get the point anyway - the great love WE have been shown can spill out onto us and into us and through us and out of us to those around us.  Gosh - this project really has NOTHING to do with me at all.

I'm just the messenger.

And a participant in something more.


The Mirror Project is about beauty.  It's true.  But it's also about LOVE.  Loving ourselves.  Loving our children.  Loving the people around us.  Allowing them to love us.  To see us.  Knowing that we have value and knowing that everyone around us is valuable too.  And lovable.  And somewhere, sometimes very deep down, they are also filled with beauty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is awesome. Just FYI.

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