Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Reflections

I glance into the mirror and pause. A face stares back at me; a face cleansed of make-up, of pretence. A face that is both familiar and unfamiliar to me.

This face looks tired, drawn, careworn. The faint lines at the corners of the eyes seem more defined now, shorn of their cosmetic camouflage. The eyes look lost and blend into the rest of the face without anything to define them. The skin is blemished and naked.

This woman is plain. She looks vulnerable. She appears to only have a passing acquaintance with sleep but too much familiarity with pain; it shows in the tightness around her eyes, a tightness usually hidden from view. The layers of artifice and disguise have been stripped away and she is but a pale shadow of the mask she wears daily.

This woman is me, and yet she is not. This woman goes unseen, hidden beneath the layers of superficiality. She is protected by the painted mask and now, dragged into the light, she seems reduced somehow. She has less presence, less substance, less reality. She is my shadow self and yet she is also my true self. She is that which is hidden in plain sight.

She is me, the me that I permit few people to glimpse. And now, like a small animal dragged in terror from its burrow, she is exposed. I stare into the eyes so like my own and yet so different and then I turn away from the mirror, already casting aside the memory of that wan, tired, naked face gazing back at me.

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Comments on: "Reflections" (13)

  1. Reblogged this on lkd13blog.

  2. Can so empathise with this post. Beautiful writing.

  3. I think we all look in the mirror and see this at times. I know I do; I often think I look old, tired, my teeth stick out a mile, I am pale and plain and unremarkable. But I know this isn’t really true at all, and it’s just my self-critical eye seeing things others don’t see, and the same is true of you. Others don’t see you as plain; I think you’re really pretty; but also, once you get to know what someone is like I think you kind of stop seeing just their face, and instead see their face illuminated by their personality. People become beautiful because of who they are. And this isn’t a cliche either, it really is how I look at people.

  4. Wow Sam this really touched my heart. I was that woman, just after we lost our son, every detail that you have written, I was picturing the day I stood and looked properly at myself in the mirror. A really beautiful piece of writing, very raw and honest, I love it x

  5. Lovely writing style, stunning post.

  6. Wow Sam this is beautifully written! As others have said, we see ourselves different to how we see ourselves 🙂

  7. This is beautifully written but very sad. You should be proud of your true self, my mum use to say that a face needs to look “lived in” so people know that you’re giving living life a good go =]

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