Why is it that when I meet a new person, or even if I'm with an old friend, I take them in with my appraising eye and I notice how their eyes sparkle, or their smile has an endearing little crook, or how the lines on their face tell a story of where they've been and what they've experienced and I love them even more for it? But when I look in the mirror I am not so loving. Not so accepting. Not so kind.
Why is it that when I look at others I see life, and feel wonder and awe, yet when I look at myself I see aging and excess? I feel a bit of panic. How can I fix this? How can I cover up that? What will make me look thinner, younger, more whatever it is that I'm not?
I've been doing this my entire life. At one point I wanted to look older, more experienced, thinner. Hell, I've always wanted to look thinner! I look back at old photos and I think, my god I looked great! Why did I waste all that time feeling "less than"? Why didn't I celebrate that I looked like I did? Why don't I do that now? I am never going to look like the image of myself that I carry around in my head so why don't I just let it go?
My mom used to say things that reminded me that from her perspective, years ahead of me on the road, my age sounded pretty young. So today I have decided to look at myself as I look at my daughters. They are both so beautiful and have so much ahead of them. Today I will look at myself as I look at others. With kindness. With acceptance. With appreciation.
A young man checking my groceries yesterday said, "Do you mind if I ask you a question? You look like you'd give me an interesting answer." I wondered what he saw in me that led him to that conclusion. When I answered his question he smiled and said, "Wow! I knew you'd give me an interesting answer." That was a very satisfying moment.
Today I won't worry about trying to look younger or prettier or thinner. Today I will allow the mask to slip away and just be. Today I will enjoy that a stranger thinks I look interesting.