“I want someone to look at me, I mean really look at me. That looks at me like their favorite place. That looks at me and fears losing me.”
I know exactly how you feel. Believe me when I say I perfectly understand that desire to be wanted; almost like a need. It gnaws at you with a fervor that can at times render you detached. I know what it’s like, late at night, when the world is quiet and your mind wanders to the What If‘s and If Only‘s. It took me a very long time and countless failures to realize that if you don’t find that person in the mirror, you won’t find them anywhere else.
And here’s why.
When I look at myself in the mirror I see untold stories, unchanged hearts, unmade smiles, unshed tears, unspoken words. When I look in the mirror I see dreams waiting to happen, arms waiting to embrace, lips waiting to taste. I see unknown sorrows, and unsolved problems. I see unloved people and unknown friends. I see an unfurnished house, an uncooked steak, an unbathed dog, an unwritten book, a cooling cup of tea. When I look at myself, at my too dark-brown almond eyes and my unruly curly hair, and scarred skin, I see unmet goals. I see potential. I see ambition. I see everything that is yet to be done. I see what you so poetically describe and I fear losing her and all she can become.
And it took me a long time to see my reflection this way. It takes an immense effort and a lot of self-nurture to become the person you’re looking for, to love yourself and all your flaws and all your things yet to be done. It is freeing to be okay with just yourself. I am a conundrum, an enigma, a raveled mystery. Today I am the best me I can be and what I’ve not done yet can only happen in the future. I hold on to those infinite possibilities like a lifeline.
I look at myself, and I mean really look at myself, and do you know what I see? I see a world waiting to happen. When I look at myself in the mirror, I smile. I’m still here. She’s still there, always doing something, checking items off her very long list one tick at a time. And if she were gone, if I let her be lost, all that’d remain would be an ellipsis of what could’ve been…
Art by Hallie Elizabeth