The other day one of you stood before me and looked at herself. She stared at me for a moment then she looked down; I guess in shame. I almost begged her to look into me again but she walked away. If she had only looked again, I might have been able to convince her to feel confident with whatever she was looking at. Today, I write to you with the intention of telling you how I feel when the three billion of you look in the mirror, whenever you have access to one. I do hope that that this letter will be something that you will hold onto if ever you falter when staring into any mirror. I also hope that this letter will show you how much you’ve broken my heart at times.
I watch you
I watch you walking towards me, often treading with caution and intent. Just as you stand before me, I can’t help but dread the very first thoughts that are processed in your minds the moment you look at yourself in me. I see you flinch and instinctively draw your hand to the first flaw you can see on your face, on your body, depending on my length. I watch you prick and poke yourself as if that is going to bring in the kind of ‘perfection’ you want to see on yourself; in me. Then you open your mouth as if I’m not there, as if I can’t hear you or I can’t feel. And then you say the most negative things that come to your mind in the moment.
“Oh my breasts are too small.”
“Oh my breasts are too big .”
“This belly – how am I ever going to get rid of it?!”
“My thin legs.”
“My fat thighs.”
As I continue to mirror what you truly look like, I have a hunger within me which constantly wishes I could mirror you in the way you wanted to look. That you could see you beautifully according to the standards set by yourself and society. Then perhaps you would live my wish; which is having you come before me feeling beautiful and leave me without saying anything negative about how you feel about what you see on me.
I am fragile too
What drains me about all this is that you seem not to appreciate that I also have my flaws.
I break and crash into pieces. I am fragile.
When I see you drained and angry about how you look, I can’t help but think that you are broken. And yet you can’t see that your brokenness can be fixed. As is, my brokenness renders me useless. I can never become who I originally was. It’s usually the end. Some can use a piece of me again, but it’s never the same.
As I write this letter, I want you to know that flaws do exist and that some never go away. Know also, that most of the flaws were defined as such by popular culture. You feel ‘ugly’ according to how you were socialised by your guardians, your friends, your media, who teased you, who laughed you off, who told you you weren’t good for much.
But I have nothing to do with that.
I do not have preconceptions about what’s beautiful and what’s not beautiful. I am only glass. And yet when you stand before me, you fail to comprehend the power within that. How then will you be able to believe that whichever look you have, you can still thrive? That you can present me with the same body that you see as flawed and that I can show you something else?
My request to you is a request for you to be kind to yourself. See all of yourself first before pointing out any flaws. Work on what you can change and accept what you cannot. And, please, do not look into me all day and weep at what I show back to you.
Appreciate what I show you of yourself, the unique construction of all the parts that make you you. And then put me away. And get out into the world and own who you are.
I am not your worst enemy. It is only you who can be that by deciding what to see in what I show you.
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