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The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 1

You find yourself in a quiet room looking at your reflection in this beautiful old mirror. What do you see? Is there anything in particular you like about yourself? Is there anything you don’t like? Tell us about it.


Having been raised by a mother who was NEVER satisfied with the way she looked (though she was very beautiful and sold Avon for  a living) or anyone ELSE looked, for that matter, mirrors have always been painful things for me. The first thing mom did with everyone — especially my sister and me — was critique how they looked, then comment on it. And no one lived up to her impossibly high standards.

My sister grew up and followed in mom’s footsteps. I, on the other hand, practiced not giving a hoot about how people looked. How does that work? You ask an alcoholic why he’s an alcoholic he might answer you, “My dad was an alcoholic. What do you expect?” Ask his brother who doesn’t imbibe the same question and, like his nibs here, he might say, “My dad was an alcoholic. What do you expect?” Funny how that works.

Anyway, mirrors and I have never been friends, though in the past I would have been able to at least be kinder to myself. At the moment, however, on a high dose of prednisone for this autoimmune disorder, I look like Chip or Dale with my cheeks crammed full of acorns. I do NOT look like myself at all. And I hate what I see. I knew going into this therapy that weight gain would be an issue, but most of it has been from the neck up! (rolls eyes…)

But I suppose I should at least TRY to cut myself a little slack. My hair has held up fairly well for being 66. That’s a plus. It’s short at the moment, though his nibs really prefers it long. He’s still laboring under the fantasy that I’m going to morph into Beach Bunny Barbie at some point (the man has the patience of a saint!). I tried to dissuade him of that possibility by buying a key chain that says “Not born Barbie; trying to cope anyway!”, but it hasn’t helped.

Now that I sleep with a bi-pap machine (because the MG has weakened the muscles around my lungs and I breathe way too shallowly) with straps that go around the back of my head to hold the nasal pillow on, some of it is being pulled out! I can’t afford a lot of withdrawals from that bank! My hair is thin and fine.

It’s an inconvenience because I REFUSE to go out of the house without a shower now! I look scary as hell when I get up in the morning! Even my grandkids look at me with fear and trepidation! They moved back here from Maryland in the spring just as all this was happening, and I sure didn’t look like who they remembered grandma was! 

But I have gentle blue eyes that are usually smiling. I don’t mind the wrinkles at the corners of my mouth and eyes. I earned every one of them legitimately. I don’t however, do open-mouthed smiles for pictures because there’s a big enough space between my top two front teeth to stick a bloomin’ straw through. Kind of gives my face a jack-o-lantern look at the moment. 😉 But those same eyes go dark steel blue if I get angry. Sort of like a mood ring. Remember them? Oh, you didn’t live through the 70’s?

If I like anything in particular about my appearance, it would be my hands. Though they are veined and look probably older than they should, I’ve been told repeatedly that they are very graceful. I don’t bite my nails so they are usually polished. Ok, I think my polished nails are pretty classy. 😀 The rest of me, not so much. I live in jeans and t-shirts, but hey! It cuts down on laundry!

All kidding aside, I’ve learned to not trust what I see in mirrors anymore than I trust what I see on the outside of people. But if I am to be honest, the thing that cowers me about this first exercise is that I don’t feel like I belong somewhere looking in a beautiful old mirror like that. There’s a lot of insecurity hiding inside me. That’s why I continue to dig around in my heart’s cave. I’m trying very hard to heal some of those wounds left from childhood. That’s what drew me to Allen’s book in the first place…


Picture Sources:
Selfie — GoodFon.com
Key Chain — mine
Crazy Hair — GQ.com
Mood Ring — Choicest1.com