The Mirror: an update on AnnaMai

I haven’t written consistently in awhile. Every time I sit to write, I am caught in a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings that yearn to make their way from my mind and onto the page. I write a few sentences and then highlight and delete. Nothing is good enough. Nothing truly reflects where my heart is.

In my time writing on Tanks in Heels, I have focused heavily on modern dating, and the pitfalls of my love life as being one of the biggest issues I face. Yes, it is a battle – and I am constantly deleting and re-downloading the apps, going on pointless dates and having conversations that go nowhere with total strangers. Yet, these past few months I have been in another foxhole, on another battlefield, in a war much greater than the one I have waged on my singledome.

And I got this far and almost deleted my entire piece. I picked up my phone and went to Google Play, ready and willing to re-download Bumble, to have more pointless conversations and swipe through more ill intentioned bachelors.

It is easier to go down that road than it is to face the mirror. It is easier to look at other people, to look to them for answers, than it is to see my own reflection. And it isn’t that I refuse to be self critical, or that I refuse to see my own faults, it is that I dwell on them.

I tend to avoid mirrors in certain lights. I hate looking at myself without framing it properly, seeing my face raw – seeing myself raw. When I see my face bare, myself bare, I tend to revert to a state of cruelty – unfair cruelty. I’m mean to myself. I bully myself into believing I am less, into believing I am unworthy.

I recognize this, and I know that I need to see who I am in a more positive light. I need to boldly approach the mirror and recognize the things that make me beautiful – not the flaws. My therapist gave me an analogy, one that hit a chord. It is like driving a car through the mud. If there is already tire tracks, the vehicle will always drift toward the road already taken. It takes conscious effort and strength to guide that vehicle through the mud, and to make another pathway through it.

Cognitively, it is easier for me to focus on my faults. I am trained to pinpoint them at the drop of a hat and defer to a state of self-deprecation. Conditioning. The root of these things is unclear, but I have perpetuated the habits throughout my life.

RuPaul always says, “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell can you love somebody else?” I feel that.

It is a long and exhausting road. It is a bit of a battle. Changing one’s perspective on themselves is undoing almost a lifetime of habits. How do I begin to shift my opinion of myself? The only answer I have is to consciously make patterns – to re-condition myself, to face the mirror and to forcefully look for the things I can consider beautiful – inside and out. It is also looking at other people, not seeing their flaws but searching for beauty in every person, learning to see what’s good.

I’ve realized how difficult it is to do this in this society. We live in a world that publishes articles like “ten makeup fails on Facebook” or “top 20 worst beach bodies.” We have all been conditioned to see ugly, to recognize it and to exaggerate its significance. It is east to sell tabloids that expose the messy, private insecurities and the inevitable blemishes that make up a person. How is it any surprise that looking at myself positively can sometimes be an exercise in futility?

My heart is heavy these days, because I am in a consistent battle. A battle to purge the things that are negative, a battle against the expectations of society, the battle against my own expectations of myself. I’m learning and in the end I expect to be victorious, and to find myself living a healthier life, beholding the world with a more beautiful and balanced lens.

I wish everyone a wonderful week and I dearly hope that you will find the beauty in yourself today. I’ll update everyone on the journey as soon as I can.

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