The Mirror Problem

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I used to have a beef with bathroom mirrors.

When I left the house that morning

I had three zits.

Small, but still noticeable.

The bathroom mirrors at school disagreed.

They say,

"Is that a volcano on your face?"

"You've got a bunch on your chin there too."

"Did you know your pores are huge?"

Before I knew it,

my whole face, my features:

eyes, nose, tiny mouth, chin, freckles

have been swallowed by a screaming red

mass of acne that somehow wasn't there

when I left the house that morning.

 

My mistakes:

blaming the lighting

blaming hormones, and then...

blaming my horrendous teeth

that never got yanked back into place by braces

blaming my double-wide birthing hips

blaming the thick layer of fat around my belly

blaming my thighs that rub together

blaming the genetics I was cursed with.

 

And my most important mistake of all?

Not realizing that my body was not the problem.

The problem was not the number on the scale,

nor the number of pimples on my face, 

nor the number on the tag in my jeans.

 

No.

 

The problem was my mind.

 

Perception.

Mine was horribly distorted.

For twenty years I lived my life day to day,

choosing to wear what hides the jiggle

or the roll or the muffin top or the

thunderthighs, spare tire, man shoulders, back fat.

Choosing to eat only small portions in company that left me hungry

to prove to someone else that

I

was

not

a

fat ass.

 

Now let me explain why I am using the past tense.

 

He calls me beautiful,

whether I am dressed to the nines,

dressed down in yoga pants and not a trace of makeup,

or simply naked.

 

Naked.

I've only trusted this one person enough not to laugh at my naked form.

And yet still,

he runs his fingertips across my skin

watching the goosebumps rise and fall on my ribcage.

The look on his face is that of a blind man

suddenly opening his eyes to see the ocean for the first time.

This man calls me beautiful.

Even after seeing every inch of me,

even after seeing everything clothes manage to hide,

he calls me beautiful.

 

No one had ever told me before

that it's okay to be me.

It's okay to be flawed.

It's okay to be imperfect.

 

This is why I no longer have a beef with bathroom mirrors:

because I learned that we are not beautiful

in spite 

of our flaws.

 

We are beautiful because of them.

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