‘Cause Mirror You’ve Always Told Me Who I Am

(Mirror–Barlowgirl)

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall have I got it, ’cause mirror you’ve always told me who I am. I’m finding it’s not easy to be perfect so sorry you don’t define me sorry you don’t own me. Mirror I am seeing a new reflection I’m looking into the eye of who made me…Who are you to tell me that I’m less than what I should be?”

I love this. The external doesn’t define who I am. Sometimes what people see isn’t the whole story, and the way they want to define me based on that just isn’t accurate…and not just with physical beauty…I have no problem admitting that I cut the tangles out of my hair sometimes and I almost never wear makeup…I’d rather feel good than look good, and doesn’t the inside matter more than the outside? You can’t even know how good it felt when by way of introduction someone said in reference to me “She’s a sweet girl.” It is easy to see me as a rambunctious girl, or an optimistic girl, or as I’ve struggled with, a “smart girl,” so it means a lot to me that someone would define me for something that I see as a more positive quality…

On the theme of mirrors, I LOVE this quote…and it also ties more closely to what I plan to write about: resilience and strength.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall I always get up after I fall and whether I run walk or have to crawl I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.”

Thanks for letting me take a break (not that you really got a choice). It was really good for me to force myself to use other methods of processing and to be able to do it mostly without worrying about offending anyone. One thing I need to work on is expectation management—I came into this semester thinking it was going to be SO much better than last semester…and the first week was much better though it didn’t live up to the idyllic standards I set, but the let down from it not being totally awesome greatly increased the frustration when things weren’t going super awesomely. Going into it thinking it is going to be the worst thing ever probably also isn’t a great action plan though, so I will need to work on finding a happy medium…but some time to figure things out was great 🙂

One thing I realized is that while my blog started as mostly a more convenient form of journaling and a way to share things with a select group of close friends, at some point it must have become a social outlet because even though I had no way of knowing with certainty who was viewing it, the idea of an audience at least partly filled the social void in my life and that is something I have been needing to fill with real life people during this break (and it feels so good to wander around talking to everyone!–though not super productive)…and for as long as I can remember I have described myself as an extravert in the shell of an introvert, and this has really brought to light the truth of that statement…I desperately do need a social life, but being in groups of people communicating for an extended period of time is draining… I haven’t done a great job of cultivating community here, but this break showed me how thankful I should be for what community I do have. I missed y’all.

One thing I used my time for when I needed a break last weekend was work on cleaning out my email inbox, and umm, I got the email that my inbox was almost full every day for over a year before I learned about the archiving option, but even once I learned that I still had a lot of emails, but I went from around 1700 emails to about 90 in my inbox (I haven’t finished going through my sent mail, but that one only started with about 800 so it probs won’t take as long once I set my mind to doing it…one thing I did find in my inbox that pointed to some obvious struggles was the fact that I still had the “admin junk summary” for pretty much every day at the end of June…I may occasionally like to see that email as a reminder to check my junkbox, but I definitely never have any need to keep it…so the fact that it was there shows just how in over my head I was if I couldn’t even keep up with figuring out that I didn’t need those things…

Even outside of my email box, at first it may have been obvious there were issues seeing as how I was screaming and/or crying most of the day, but eventually I was so torn apart on the inside, but totally put together on the outside…even my best friend didn’t know I had been hurting until she asked a question a bit over a month later probably about something that was supposed to excite me like my friends or tutoring…and suddenly everything came flooding out (including more tears)…it’s not that I was hiding, but that there are certain situations in which it is not appropriate to be falling apart, and she mostly sees me in those situations…

I saw a really awesome blog post yesterday about the true greatness of hidden pain. You can find it here. The world doesn’t know that your two steps are your mountain.

Sometimes it is really hard when someone is potentially hurt in the shrapnel from my pain, but are not close enough to see the pain…Also in cleaning out my email I got that “oh c**p” feeling when I realized there was a really sweet girl I have no record of emailing back about tutoring…it was at a really chaotic point in life, but that doesn’t excuse not replying…there is a possibility I verbally asked her to be re-assigned because I couldn’t handle more people right then, but I am kind of worried that in my taking care of myself I might have forgotten about her…it was the day before I took a final and I had an even more important exam in another class the day after the final and I’m pretty sure I had at least one other exam that week on top of all the other non-academic things going on right then, but that doesn’t really make me feel any better about potentially having forgotten about her…oopsy-clovers…

…but I learn and grow every day so focusing on the negative will do me no good. My fingerprints are still obviously suffering the after-effects of OCD, but I am so excited that slowly my skin is recovering a bit. During second year I had to get fingerprinted for school, and it was kind of embarrassing because the police officer doing it could tell from my fingerprints that I wash my hands a lot–I could easily play it off on being a health care worker, but my hands looked pretty decent then so it was surprising that anyone could even tell that there was a problem. They could also tell that there are scars on my hands that I didn’t even know I had, but I suppose that kinda comes with having third degree burns as a toddler…I am a graduate school student, yet people still mistake me for a middle-schooler. My hands are still the evidence that proves I am no longer a middle school student (haha, the OCD was good for something!) but they no longer look like they belong either on an old lady or that they ought to be bandaged. This is something that has been a long time in coming (and that I might have been warned of a long time ago when my hands were doing so poorly that I saw nothing wrong with what they might be). I am really excited about that. The physical resilience is a good reminder that I am resilient on the inside as well…

One thing I have reflected on is strength. What does it mean to be strong? At times I feel vulnerable, fragile, weak, as something happens that causes my structures to collapse…but looking deeper I see that everything I had was destroyed, completely dismantled, nothing left to rebuild on. I took the rubble, sticks, and sand, and began to painstakingly construct something new. It was an emergency lean-to that barely got the job done, so when even a bit of wind came through it began to shake and nearly fall apart, yet I continue to re-build and leave myself open for what could be. Seeing it that way I can see the strength in rebuilding when there is little evidence of the castle that once stood, and the strength in continuing to build when the walls come tumbling down so easily. Perhaps it is not beautiful and seems to fit in better in a Hooverville (see, I did get something out of APUSH!!), but the workmanship to create with what I could find is impressive and something to be celebrated.

signing off for now,
Wiggle Worm 🙂 (^^^)

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