exploring life and love with pictures and words

Reflecting on my reflection . . .

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Sitting in the salon today, I face the mirror, waiting while my color is mixed. I am wearing only mascara and lip balm. I study my 50 something face, crows’ feet accentuated when I smile, furrowed brow even when I am not furrowing, the parenthetical curves that frame my mouth, the puffiness beneath my eyes, and my nose, well it’s just big. It’s been far too long since I’ve frozen, filled or lasered my imperfections, but I’ve been busy, and, quite honestly, comfortable in my skin. I have grown accustom to my little defects and certainly learned over time that my inside is much more important than my outside.  In this moment I can look at my reflection and smile inside.  I like the way I look. Even in this not so flattering light, I really do.

Thoughts about aging and feelings of insecurity definitely sneak up on me, mostly when I think about the possibility of dating and how I look to others. I read somewhere that the adult attention span is now 8 seconds, just one second more than a goldfish. With first impressions and initial attraction ruling the competitive dating world, my chances of grabbing someone’s attention get slimmer by the second.

Nearly a year has passed since I decided to take a break from finding coupledom. Just when I thought I had finally gotten it right, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve spent the months looking inward, setting priorities, and focusing on aligning my head with my heart. Integrity and self-respect rule my inner voice, and gratitude keeps me grounded. I have practiced being alone, and pondered the possibility of remaining alone. I actually find some comfort there, knowing that I can happily live my life as a single woman. Still, it’s not my first choice.  I shake my head, knowing that I was alone in most of my relationships, wanting and fighting for the couple we never were.

I do want to share a life with someone though. That means I have to be okay with not having control. I cannot make someone love me, or even like me. I can control who I allow to get to know me, imperfections and all. But I cannot control how they will react to all that is me. Friends always say, It’s not personalHe just wants something else.  I have to laugh . . . what’s more personal than someone saying, I don’t want you.  Ouch! I’m not good with rejection. It sends me right into the abyss of self-pity, a place I swear I will never visit again.

As my hair is washed and my head massaged, eyes closed and completely relaxed, I remember and miss the intimacy of even the most common and routine touch. Holding hands, wiping a small crumb from a lip, or an errant eyelash from a cheek, shaving someone’s neck, or having lotion rubbed on my back.  These simple gestures I truly miss. But before I get there I must be willing to let down my guard, be my most honest self, choose who is best for me, and let go of those who never will be.

At the moment I have no reentry plan for doing the dating dance. But, with a clear head, both feet on the ground, and for the first time, maybe in my life, a clear idea of what I want in a relationship, I think I could give love another try . . . maybe . . .

Maria dries my hair. Looking in the mirror we talk to one another about getting rid of old ghosts, and fresh starts. She knows all my stories and secrets, and gently offers some nugget of wisdom. With the added color I look refreshed, maybe even younger.  Everybody needs a Maria in their life.

These days, I do my damnedest to live in the moment, no regretting yesterday and no fretting about tomorrow. I listen less to the anxious voices in my head, and instead focus on the wisdom of the Universe.

I smile again at my reflection . . . My how I have grown.  . .  I am stronger and wiser than I was a year ago. More importantly, I like who I am . . . inside and out.  And when I’m ready, I will decide who is worthy of my love.

xo

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31 Responses to “Reflecting on my reflection . . .”

  1. calensariel

    What a wondrous post! There must be something in the air because I’m struggling with some issues I thought were put to sleep months ago. It’s such a learning process. I was so struck by what you said about someone not “wanting” you not being personal. It made me sad because it seems that’s what our culture has boiled relationships down to — nothing personal. But your declaration of emancipation was marvelous! ” I am stronger and wiser than I was a year ago. More importantly, I like who I am . . . inside and out. And when I’m ready, I will decide who is worthy of my love.”

    (That little saying up there sounds like something Plato would say. 🙂 )

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  2. Judy

    I will never get tired of reading anything that you write. You express yourself so beautifully. I remember my dad would always say, starting when I was a teenager, “If a man does not treat you like a queen he does not deserve you”
    of course I would say, “Daaadddd” but there is so much truth in that.

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  3. Judy

    I remember when I was dating my parents next door neighbor. I told mom things about him that I wasn’t thrilled with. She said, “Don’t you think you are getting a little ‘long in the tooth’ to be so picky. I had never heard that saying before, but knew what it meant. I laughed and laughed. I said, “I have waited this long I am certainly not going to settle now!” I knew that if I married him his work would be #1. I was going to be #1. 🙂

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  4. Judy

    I remember in High School everyone loved you! Everyone wanted to be around you. Weren’t you Home Coming Queen or something similar? Being picked Queen in a High School of almost 4,000 …….That is a lot of people liking you. 🙂

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    • Bare Naked in Public

      I was Freshman princess. I never thought of myself as the way you describe. Still those were great years. I think my troubles started as a grown up. I spent too many years with people who couldn’t give me what I wanted because I didn’t know how to ask.

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  5. Judy

    I think people confuse asking as being weak. They can do it, they don’t need help, they are independent, “I shouldn’t have to ask, if they knew me …….” I think it is difficult for people to learn to ask for what they want. It is something that should be taught to kids when they are little. But, there is a scary element in asking, the person can say,”No”

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  6. Dean Farmer

    I also have no ‘reentry plan for doing the dance’. I’ve become humbled by my age, the way I now look, the way I’ve forgotten more stuff than most people will ever seem to know? It just doesn’t seem to matter to me anymore, getting all those nitpicky details so perfectly correct. Stressing over the chalkboards full of careful calculation in theories involving revolving doors leading to more vaults of data as yet unseen to human eyes. My library of technical manuals, with teacher’s guides attached, all seem so useless now. Yes, brain surgery is responsible for some of my memory loss, but I still crave for those ‘base needs’ as all good people still crave, and don’t we all? Fishing off the HB pier (and not catching anything!), going to the horse races in Del Mar (and winning ten dollars!), playing ‘Frisbee Golf’ in Central Park (I got a ‘par’ on hole three!) Body Surfing (somewhere safe!), Pretending like I’m ‘Duddly-do-right”, shouting: “I’ll save you Nell”! Going to church with my sisters, Janice and Laurie. Visiting my Mom and Dad at their gravesites in Temecula. I still choose to hold out hope, that love can still survive in this life of mine, God willing, please make it happen, if it’s part of your master plan for me to be alone, than so be it. But I’m still going to look for that innocent smile on a face looking at me for even just a moment. I guess it all comes down to hope being kept alive, and that, how ever simple it seems, will keep me focused on my future. One so bright, I’ve got to wear shades!

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  7. susanna

    The key: to like and love yourself.

    I so love your writing, don’t ever stop believing in yourself, and never “settle”. We deserve to be gloriously happy. I personally want to be loved like the Velveteen Rabbit.

    Letting go and trusting God in all things has led me to happiness. I wish the same for you.

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  8. Phyllis Kerlin

    I missed this last year! I’m so glad you re-posted this. Alone time has caught up to me and I’m checking out my image too much and noticing every little aging thing. Guess I’ll reach out and hug it all since “happy” is the look I wear best. Thanks, Christine!

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  9. Pam paul

    Love you Christine! You are genuine, real and the men I know you had were way beneath your excellence, at least at that time in their lives. I pray that God provides you the man you deserve. Gonna be hard to find someone who can be your equal. Took me a long time to find my man. Kissed many frogs lived with two. And I knew RP for a few years and hung out with him socially. Never thought of him romantically . Thought he was quiet, boy was I wrong! But I was blessed with him. So it can happen. And cool you are good without it sort of, but you need it, we all need it. So again prayer for you,God can do what we can’t .

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  10. Pilgrim

    I can relate to this story about sharing ones life, as a couple. One thing tho rejection is not as ouch as I take. I am so glad to be rejected. Even glad and happy to know. It’s better to know now than having invested so much time. And finally, yes, we all can have a Maria in our life, but not need. I happen to be a Maria and I prefer not to be needed but wanted in their circle of life.

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