[I wrote this on January 18, 2011, but then didn’t get it published before something counter to the entire idea derailed me. I appreciate my lack of memory when it comes to these things. I can’t remember what set me off, but re-reading this post, I do remember what I felt about myself that night.]
Women are tough. Unfortunately, we are tough mostly on ourselves and on one another. We see not only the worst in our own images, but also the weakest points in our allies. It’s sad (and annoying, and perceived as stereotypical) and somewhat legitimate, too: it’s part of what makes women good troubleshooters. It’s why “moms” can protect “cubs”. Women have the skills to tweak and fix and make things better. Furthermore, women tend to do it the “right” way instead of just “fixing it” with “duct tape”! After all, it was the men who invented Gerrymandering and Gerry-rigging!
I don’t think I’m much different than most women on one major point:
I look in the mirror and see all my flaws, but none of my assets. Also, I’m careful. It’s a short mirror; I can’t see my ass at all!
From 1997-1998 (a story/post that has been in-progress for years and will be published at some point), I acted outside my character: shy (What?), demure (WHAT?), and even reserved (WTF?). A year or two later, I fell back into my own personality. When I did display knowledge or exert authority, I was accused of being the “bitch” in the situation. I wasn’t, of course; I was just different than previously perceived.
Tonight, I surprised myself. I happened upon my reflection in the mirror. (Looking at myself regularly is not part of my pattern after the 1997 incidents.) In doing so, I saw something different than I did a few days ago. I saw someone thinner and younger. I am—-in spite of my exhaustion from a Saturday-through-Tuesday national conference—-refreshed. I am also energized and excited by all the ideas floating around in my head and in my notes.
“Youth is wasted on the young”, but we are only as “young as we feel”. Yeppers. Both apply.
Regardless of the reasons for my new-found literal-view of my own reflection, I’m glad. I’m happy to see progress and hope and inspiration. For me, this manifested in the mind of a woman reading her own presumably-thinner-than-4-days-ago face.