Your challenge is to take something intensely personal — the bits and pieces that make you YOU — and use them as a springboard for a post that makes a larger point and resonates with lots of other readers.
In the symmetry of my face the right three-quarters is my mom, the other quarter my dad, or so I’ve been told. In the shape of my eyes I see my mother’s love and facility for art in decades of notebooks that no one will ever see. In my hair I see the frailness of my fathers poetry.
My parents are broken people, slivers of who’s lives have cut their way into mine. I see their gifts in me; cooking, poetry, talent, love of nature but more often I have felt the shards of their brokenness and see the scars. The imperfections and abandonment. I see anger and disappointment. I see the world through eyes of pain and misplaced fears. There are scars everywhere, most old some new: fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, insignificant.
I see Southie in my core, the tough neighborhood of mine and my parents childhood. A private place. I was taught not to share my life, because it meant sharing theirs. The privacy of our inner worlds that no one was allowed to see; vulnerability, weakness. But we are connected, our families help shape who we are. If I can’t share you, I can’t share me; rendering my life and experiences insignificant, somehow unworthy. It left me disconnected, bounded by roots, stunting my growth. I see guilt for not being strong enough, brave enough, pretty enough…or simply enough.
As I’ve learned to look more closely I see the mirror has more volume. Like the symmetry of my face where my parents both dwell in my features; I have emerged an individual. I have been staring in this mirror for years searching for myself and fighting for my existence. I have found a change. My features are softening, warming and calming.
Today I glance in the mirror and stop, not to stare, but to breathe. To allow my life to fill in and seal the shards. I touched the scars and blessed them with forgiveness. I am different and quintessential. I always thought I was broken. How else could it be, I am my parent’s child am I not? But when I look in the mirror today I see a woman, scarred but whole. I see the person tending to the wounds of the past and piecing together the slivers of my parents with forgiveness and compassion.
I see strength and power, someone who understands the gravity of communication, openness and connectedness. I see the web I have built; an intricate, beautiful network of artists, friends and individual family members who know me beyond the shards who have all added to my healing.
The woman I see is human and flawed, brilliant and compassionate and always working to be the best individual she can be. I see a wondrous work in progress emerging from the shadows of the past ready to leap into her own peace.