Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Minute Friday: The Mirror

This week I'm participating in The Gypsy Mama's Five-Minute Friday writing exercise. I actually participate every week, but I rarely post what I write because it's well-nigh impossible for me to write anything for publication without obsessively editing it first.

But this one came out pretty "finished-sounding," so I'll publish it here. The Gypsy Mama's topic for today was "When I Look in the Mirror, I See ..." The idea is to write for five minutes flat, not editing, and to publish what you come up with.

What I wrote ended up being kind of depressing. But I like it anyway. (And I promise to go back and "edit" only if I see a typo.)


When I look in the mirror, I see ...

A gaunt, aging woman with bloodshot eyes and sprigs of gray hairs sprouting from my scalp, and from my temples in particular. Dark circles under my tired eyes. Unsmiling face. Plum wore out.

Hair hanging past my shoulders, much longer than it should be, because I haven't been to a hairdresser since last July. My hair looks as exhausted as I feel.

I don't like looking in the mirror. I never really did.

When I was a teenager, I spent hours at the mirror, fixing my makeup just right, moussing and gelling and curling and teasing my hair. Or, on darker days, berating my own reflection for its chubby cheeks, its fat thighs. I remember all the weighing and looking, weighing and looking. How many hours did I spend weighing myself and looking in the mirror, hopeful that somehow I'd become a little bit thinner? And always hating my reflection, no matter what I saw?

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I didn't have time to look in the mirror. Or if I did, I suppose I liked what I saw well enough and went on with my life.

Now that I'm in my 40s, I look in the mirror each morning and see an old woman. Forty isn't old, I know, but I feel like I've aged a few decades in the last five years.

I'd always looked a good ten or twelve years younger than my actual age. No more.

Depression, sleeplessness, and far, far too many hours spent at the office, or in the classroom, or mindlessly in front of a computer. Not nearly enough time spent in the woods, writing, making music, doing what I love.

This neglect, it's showing in this reflection in the glass. Too many years of being tired, too many years of stretching myself thin, too many years of living with eyes closed to beauty and hope.

Maybe I should have looked in the mirror more.


Want to join me and others in Five-Minute Friday? Go to The Gypsy Mama's blog and find out how!


Jen said...

"Not nearly enough time spent in the woods, writing, making music, doing what I love."..."Maybe I should have looked in the mirror more."

I came upon your blog through Five Minute Fridays and wanted to leave a little comment.

Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on my life and what I am filling it with. Praying that upon your reflection God will give you the desire and ability to change your days and that more of them would include the things you love. Thanks for writing so honestly!

lifeinlimits said...

Oh, Nina, I'm so sorry you feel so stretched-thin. We need to get you out of that office and on a hiking trail. :) I love what you seemed to be implying though . . . that doing what the Lord has caused us to love saturates our hearts and lives and maybe even bodies? with beauty. Maybe because our love for His passions in our lives brings Him glory? Powerful thought, my friend. Thank you. And I'm praying for you.

Nina said...

Jen, thanks for stopping by!

lifeinlimits, you are exactly right. I can't really write more about it here--if I have a chance this weekend, I'll shoot you an e-mail!

Jammie J. said...

I understand. More than I'd like to admit.
I think this is when we are supposed to start stating with confidence born of our 40 years of living that beauty comes from within, not from a reflection of our outside. Right?

The dB family said...

Nina, you ARE a writer! What a beautiful post! I know I feel much the same way quite often -- except I was able to colour my hair this week ;o).
You are a beautiful person inside and out. Lifting you up in prayer.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Just know that others do not see what you see so negatively -- *hug* - but I do know what you mean - sometimes I pass a mirror and think "who was that old woman? Surely not me!"

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