WITHOUT A MIRROR
“The mother gazes at the baby in her arms, and the baby gazes at his mother’s face and finds himself therein… provided that the mother is really looking at the unique, small, helpless being and not projecting her own expectations, fears, and plans for the child. In that case, the child would find not himself in his mother’s face, but rather the mothers own projections. This child would remain without a mirror, and for the rest of his life would be seeking this mirror in vain.” Donald Woods Winnicott
For many years I was that child without a mirror, I went looking for it years and years ago, and I found it. There were times, back then; I didn’t like what I saw. That is when I took the responsibility and made changes in myself. Later, as time went on, I chose to look in the mirror and this time I wrote with lipstick… “Loved, valuable, forgiven, healed, and growing”. I was learning about boundaries and how valuable I was, no matter what people said about me; I would shake those words off and go on. I started to say “no” and lost a lot of friends and acquaintances, but continued to go on. I couldn’t have done it without support.
My journey continued. I continued to ask for help and pray as I went deeper into the pain of my soul. It wasn’t until the pain of my present drove me to the pain of my past that I had the courage to look within and deal with it. I have to say, every time I did my soul felt renewed, far past anything I had ever experienced before.
Now I can look in the mirror and see the person I was all along, I just didn’t know because of what had happened to me. It was the trauma that occurred to me at a very young age and continued for many years, by the people I was entrusted to.
This journey is not for the faint of heart, and I think my strong will helped in many good ways. I believe that my past made me into a very resilient person. There were times I felt I was going through hell itself. I rested along the way and many times I wanted to quit. I would dig deep down and start looking for the resources I needed to take the next step.
I can boldly say I am a woman with a mirror, I like what I see, I may have a few wounds, bruises and scars but that’s what happens in life. I see a woman who I love dearly, and see great value in and admire. I found the strength I never knew I had, I am able to love people more than I thought possible and I still show up for life and live on purpose.
I realized sometimes saying “no” is the best way to love myself and others. I’m proud of myself, I like who I am. I don’t get everything right, and that’s ok. I’m still learning and doing little by little, like being assertive and setting healthier boundaries.
Do I have fears? Do I have doubts? Yes. But I am allowing myself to stop and think, and make decisions that are best for me.
–Anon, Family Service Regina, Domestic Violence Workshop