A couple of months ago, I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw.
I was horrified, repulsed and thoroughly disgusted.
Before anyone flies off the handle at me, know that this is not a post about how fat I am (because I know I’m not fat despite how fat I think I am which I think is just part-and-parcel of being a woman in this day and age, and my mind is still playing catch-up with the new me).
This is also not a post about how physically unattractive I am. Trust me; I could wax poetic about the 247 distinct physical flaws that I have, but I’d likely bore you to tears before you could pounce on me and my self-pity parade.
This post is actually a hard one. It’s a confession of sorts… for you see, the “mirror” I gazed into was my reflection in the eyes of an 8-year old child.
Some people know this, and some people don’t, so for the record: I’m not a person of patience, nor one of keeping my temper in check.
I’m not sure how or why it evolved; while I believe I’m turning more and more into my mother (and this I don’t mind at all), there are parts of me that are very much unlike her. My father died when I was very young, so I don’t know the how or where it developed that I would become incredibly impatient and then angry at everything. People. Inanimate objects. Myself.
It’s how I developed the registered trade-mark of “I Hate Everything®.” A phrase I’ve said so much that someone once purchased me a Happy Bunny magnet with that very phrase on it.
Now, as with running, I’ve been trying to become more focused on losing the trade-mark, having more patience, and finding peace with myself and others.
A couple of months ago I found that, as with running, I haven’t been practicing very well.
There I was back then, standing in Whole Foods, trying to get stuff accomplished with The Husband. I wanted him to go stand in line while I picked up one last item. He hates to stand in line while I go to pick up one last item because he believes I’ll never make it back in time.
Most times, he is correct. This particular time, however, I was nearly standing next to the thing I wanted to pick up.
“Just go,” I said for about the fourth, trying to make a dash for the final thing that would free us from the over-crowded store that day.
“If’ you’re gonna go get more stuff,” he mumbled, steering the cart away from the cash registers and more towards my direction.
I then snapped. I do not do very well in crowds, and I do even worse when anyone, even The Husband, starts hovering around me.
“Dang it, The Husband, go wait in line!”
Now yes; I did say “dang”, not “darn” or worse… but there was no mistaking the the meaning of my words.
He jammed the cart in the other direction and headed for the check out.
I began to turn towards my last item, my freedom, when I happened to catch my reflection in “the mirror.”
Twin mirrors at that. The eyes of an 8-year old boy gazing up at me. They grew large as saucers as he emitted a scandalized gasp that seemed to go on forever.
I was suddenly humiliated. I was horrified, repulsed and thoroughly disgusted.
I do believe I turned 7000 shades of purple as I went for my item. I heard the little boy whisper to someone, an older female relative. I heard the adult “tsk” and “at least you know better” and other key phrases, each further deepening my shame.
Some claim to patience, peace and losing the trade-mark I have been making.
Since that time, I’ve been working-actually working– on the inner peace.
Like the running, it’s not been easy.
Today, I went to run after work. As much as I didn’t want to, as much as I wanted to go home, take a nap, eat, do anything else, I actually got home, changed my clothes and went out.
Lasted all of 7 minutes in the cold, windy weather.
I’m kind of bummed. I was also kind of bummed that I lost my patience once or twice with my pc.
But I got 7 minutes. And there were moments where I took a breath, remained calm, and let the anger pass me by.
Small victories. I will cling to them. I will make them grow. Because I want to look in that mirror and feel proud of what I see. I never want to be that person again.
And I’ll need a lot of patience to get there.