SELF IMAGE

I looked into the mirror yesterday and wasn’t sure who or what was looking back at me.  The face seemed familiar, yet I was unacquainted with this particular woman.   She was unusually confident with a definite air of mystery, as if a secret was hiding just behind her eyes.

It caught me by surprise.  I normally avoid looking at my reflection unless absolutely necessary because, like most females, I fixate on imperfection.  This time, however, the face held her ground, mocking my criticism and challenging me to look beyond the surface.  Could it be that this person might actually be a friend?  I’m not sure what alarmed me more, that I could be friend to myself or that I hadn’t been such in decades.

To thine own self be true.  I’ve heard it a million times, but it always seemed shopworn and more than a little selfish.  Haven’t I also been programmed to put others before myself?  Both notions are in opposition; which do you choose?

I chose neither, leaving myself free but rudderless.  Sometimes I’d fluctuate madly between the two, trying to reconcile them, but it only led to frustration.  How could I embody the best of both worlds if neither occupied the same space?  It was like being voluntarily torn asunder.

Why was I playing it safe?  Did I think I could hedge my bet by avoiding allegiance?  In my zeal, I must have forgotten that abstaining is also a choice, one that doesn’t necessarily free me from accountability.  Like the many thousands of voters who fail to turnout on election day, my lack of voice influences the outcome just as severely.  Who was I kidding? 

Apparently no one.  And somewhere along the way, the choice was made and the die cast.  I looked back at my new friend and thanked her for steering me to safety even though I had let go of the wheel long ago.

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