She didn't know I was looking. And I had never seen her before. I was bewildered by the suppleness of her moist skin and the contrast of the darkness of the areola surrounding the nipples of her full breasts in comparison to the rest of her body. Her tummy bulged with a sexiness, I had never seen on any other woman before; and her hips and thighs were round, mature and graceful. I found myself mercifully staring in disbelief. Her eyes were engaging and innocent. And her lips invited me to stay. "Who is she?" I wondered to myself as I studied her reflection in the mirror.
While on a business trip in another state, my soul reveled in its new surroundings. My hotel chamber was exquisitely decorated, room service was exceptional, and the only thing I had forgotten to bring with me -- was myself. The self who instinctively knew where all of my body's flaws were hidden and each morning she effortlessly reminded me of each one. Even though I was away from home, she was still there making sure that the children were cared for and the bills were paid. This is the self whom I had always depended on and she had never lied to me.
She never meant to hurt me. The purposes of her criticisms were to chisel me into the image of beauty approved of by society. "When you lose weight -- you can buy this dress--you can have that man, fit into those jeans, and I'll even throw in the job you have been dying for," she would sternly, but gently whisper in my ear. I believed her. She helped me find creative ways to put my dreams on hold and quiet my desires. I missed her voice of reason. I needed her advice because the presence of the beautiful woman in the mirror looked like me, and she didn't look like any other woman I have ever known. If indeed this woman in the mirror was me, then I had no idea of who I was.
Contrary to me, the woman in the mirror was sensuous, bold and confident. Unclad, unadorned, and undisguised she was certain of her femininity. The mirror reflected but only her body; no make-up, no earrings, no shoes and no clothing; yet nothing was missing. With nothing she appeared complete, and I envied her. Whereas, my beauty was assembled by garments, accessories, make-up, and perfumes and without these, I felt bare, ugly and unattractive. I was daunted, though aroused by her immodesty and the way she freely exposed herself in front of me. I wanted her to be me. I longed to hear the same music that propelled her to passionately sway as if she believed in herself. I desperately needed to feel what she was feeling and see what she was seeing.
"Who are you!," I boldly insisted as tears streamed down my face. Her silence forced me to listen as I watched my trembling hand wipe the tears from my eyes. I beseeched her to answer my plea for self- acceptance. "Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful hands, mystical eyes and a pleasing smile," the reflection murmured to me. Spellbound and mesmerized by her beauty, I let her take my hand on a guided tour of my body. My fingers fumbled as they explored previously forbidden places. Places marred by cellulite, stretch marks and blemishes. Places I was reluctant to ever let anyone see or feel because I was so ashamed and embarrassed by its imperfections. I trusted the beautiful woman in the mirror and I let her take me there. I discovered that my body was radiant, soft and lovely. It was me as I had never seen me before.
I held a mental picture of the beautiful woman in the mirror close to my heart.
Upon returning to town, I was eager to share my experience with the woman in the mirror with the self I had left at home. We were going to start a new, more exciting life together, I promised. I was going to tell her of our plans to buy new clothes and finally go to the mall for a makeover. Monday morning I would enroll in the ballet class we dreamed about. But, when I tried to tell her; she was always too busy, too weary and too tired to listen.
She couldn't hear me because she longed to see her beauty reflected through the eyes of others. I was anxious to let her know that she is perfect just the way she is, if only she could see herself through her own eyes and not the clouded vision constructed by others. I wanted her to know that her true beauty would never be seen in the eyes of others, unless it was reflected from within her own soul. Sometimes when the world is quiet and her mind is free, I still invite her to glimpse the beautiful woman in the mirror.