When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Lines you swear weren’t there the day before and tiny grays rupturing through your scalp? Lips that aren’t quite full enough and patches of skin that stick out to you? Pimples or birthmarks or moles that detract from your perfect palette? Eyes that are too narrow or too wide or too squinted or too basic? Do you see unruly eyebrows or over-plucked ones or ones that are clearly the wrong shape? A nose that’s too squashed or too full or with too large of pores?
When you look in the mirror, do you see thick arms that jiggle too much and lumps and bumps you wish you could cover? Do you see pouches and wrinkles and marks you wish you could vaporize? Do you see a stomach that will never be a six-pack and legs that are just too flabby? Breasts that aren’t even or perky or big enough? Do you see cankles and cellulite and things the models in your magazines never have? Do you see skin that’s too dry or too pasty or too lumpy?
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Imperfections and reasons to hate your body, reasons no one could love it? Reasons to cover and hide, to paint and to perfect?
The Strength to See Past Social Expectations
Look in the mirror again. This time, strip away all of the social expectations that have programmed you to zero in on perceived flaws. Take away the thousands of pictures of what a woman’s body should look like. Block out the comments from high school that told you how you were too skinny, too heavy, too small, too pale, too chubby, too whatever. Block out the inner critic finding every reason you shouldn’t see beauty in the mirror.
Now look in the mirror and see you, the beautiful, true you. See how every mark, every speck, every element of you is exactly…you. Every line has been earned by experiences. Every mark, scrape, scar, lump, bump, and mark makes you who you are. They are symbols of where you’ve been and what you’ve lived. They are not flaws to cover up, to paint over, or to regret. They are beacons of you, which is perfectly beautiful in its own right.
Still, keep looking in the mirror because these things are a part of you, but they are not you.
You are not the lines and gray hairs and bumps and lumps. You are not your lips or eyebrows or bra size. You are not your eye color or the number of cellulite chunks you can count or the leg hairs you forgot to shave or the roll under your chin you notice in pictures.
You are not defined by the lack of frizz in your hair or the flawlessness of your skin or your skill level at creating a smoky eye. You are so much more.
The Real Woman in the Mirror
In truth, you must look deeper into that mirror past what you can only see with a socially acclimated eye. Instead, look beyond, see the gaze looking back at you. See the fiery passions, the regrets, the dreams, the achievements, the hopes, the fears, the charity, the empathy, and the trust. See the things that make you laugh and the things that make you cry. See the things you’ve done and the things you still have to do to find happiness. See the adventures and the travels, the laughter and the tears. See you in all your complex glory.
See the you that cannot be summarized by a glimpse in the mirror or a selfie on Instagram.
Look in the mirror and see you, the real you, the woman of strength, intellect, optimism, and happiness. See the woman of fear, sorrow, stubbornness, and concern. See all of you, ever emotional characteristic, every strength and every weakness.
Because looking in the mirror, you cannot be defined by one thing. You should not be defined by any single aspect, especially physical. More than that, the color of lipstick you wear or the perfection of your foundation or the highlights in your hair should not be what you see first. To be a woman—to be a strong woman—is to refuse to see only what society wants us to see.
It is to see beyond the mirror, to see beyond what society trains us to look at first. It is to see the depth of character and the power within. It is to see that physical imperfections aren’t actually imperfections but simply signs of real life. It is to see that makeup and beauty products are accessories but not essentials.
To be a woman is to look into the mirror and see a fire that cannot be put out by any expectations.
So when you look in the mirror, what do you see?
If you don’t see the fiery woman who is perfect in her skin just the way it is, look again. She’s there. You just have to have the bravery to see her.
Author: Lindsay Detwiler
Author Bio: Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing. She has published seven novels and has an eighth scheduled for release October of 2017. Additionally, she is a high school English teacher and a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post. Lindsay lives in her hometown with her husband Chad (her junior high sweetheart); their five cats; and their mastiff Henry.
Link to social media or website: http://www.lindsaydetwiler.com