I am writing this post because I looked in a mirror today. Okay, to be honest, I look in the mirror every day (fine, sometimes several times -- I'm a girl, after all), but today was a little bit different. Today was different because today I was caught off guard. And again, to be fair, I probably should have expected to run into a mirror or two when I walked into Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It seems like the kind of store where mirrors would be plentiful -- bedroom mirrors, bathroom mirrors, and, well, beyond. So, yeah, I probably should have been expecting to turn a corner and get hit with a random mirror attack, but I wasn't. I was surprised.
The first thing I noticed when I saw myself today, besides the fact that my jeans were somewhat dirty (to be expected after a day of trying to help unpack my new apartment), was my new scar -- the one from my melanoma removal last week, which also happens to be the one that currently is full of stitches until tomorrow afternoon. And this was probably noticeable at least in part because this 2.5 inch beauty is, in fact, on my face. Or, rather, on my chin to be exact. Oh, yeah, and did I mention it still has stitches? Also, that said stitches are surrounded by a bruise that makes it look like I slammed my chin repeatedly into some immovable object? Because yeah, that would all be true.
And this might also be the time to mention that I'm recovering from a cold, and that my lung function is such right now that walking to the store without O2 is enough to make me breathless. Because that's all the truth also -- for right now, at least -- and that's what I came face-to-face with this afternoon on aisle 4, right next to the rotating fan I was planning to purchase.
One word, guys: Ouch.
So, dear friends and strangers, let me say one thing in response to the mirror in aisle 4. Let me be the first to tell you that even when I'm standing there tired and breathless and sporting war wounds on my face, there is one thing I want more than anything else in the world.
Please look past all that. Please see me, instead.
Please see a woman who is smart, adventurous, playful, and even, on occasion, kind of funny. Please see the person who is stronger than facial scars and damaged lungs -- the kind of gal who pushes boundaries, who fights back as hard as she knows how, who just in the past year has come through some pretty tough stuff and has done it with as much patience and humor as she knows how. Please see someone, if you can muster the imagination, who has completed road races and raised literally hundreds of thousands for charities, who has a randomly silly laugh and a puppy who still thinks she hung the moon (shhh, don't disillusion the poor guy!). See someone who is loved, who is happy, who is not afraid of the future (not really, anyway) because she has faith in herself and in God and in all the wonderful people who surround her -- like you, for example. See someone who is a lot like you, actually, because she laughs and cries and gets overly excited about little details and votes and likes ice cream and she, too, wishes she could be on a beach somewhere instead of standing by the mirror in aisle 4. See a woman who could tell you all about living life for 3 years with breath and energy and health, because she had that and she knows deep down that she will have it again soon.
And how much of a gift that truly, truly is.
She could tell you about living your dreams and making a difference, about medical miracles and the selfless gift of organ donation. She could tell you about loving someone and feeling loved back, and why we should never take that for granted. She could take your hand and put them on her other scars -- the ones you can't see, the ones on her chest -- and let you feel what it's like to feel the breath of a beautiful stranger giving life to another. She could tell you about speaking in front of crowds of hundreds for a cause you believe in or she could make up stories and rhymes to make you smile, because that's what she's best at in the whole wide world. And she would ask you about your life, too, because hearing the stories of others is one of her favorite pastimes. She could make you believe in something, anything really, because we all have the power to share that with each other.
Or, if all of that is too messy (and believe me, it can get messy) then please just see a person, any person, who is trying to make the best of whatever life throws at them, and who is grateful, even for her scars.
That would be enough, I promise.
And mirror, mirror, on the shelf
Shine past our scars, and show our selves.
With love and light, beautiful people.