The Mirror

There are times in all our lives each of us wonder, what does the world see when they see me. When I look in the mirror, I see all of my flaws, real and perceived I count them off one by one. Staring in the eyes of my harshest critic, I see each year stamped across my face telling a story I might rather forget, or wish was never written at all. So I stare, I run fingers through hair sprinkled with silver, I count the furrows across my brow, the lines surrounding my mouth and eyes; then I wonder where the time escaped to and what others see.

Does the world see my flaws in the same way I see them? Can a stranger read my pain, my triumphs, my  history as if it was a roadmap written on my face, across my skin and over the angles, plains and curves of my body, or do they only see slight imperfections where I see something altogether different, something damaged, unworthy of a second glance, unlovable in the harsh light of day.

Cool wind dances across heated skin

Leaving memory of other breath

Fingers trace the water’s edge

Sending ripples across a reflection

Unrecognized in the moonlit glow

Coalesced I come together, softer

In the silence memories pull nearer

The ethereal me beckons, closer

Remember, beauty under stars

Shredded without thought, nor care

For youth, innocence or hope

Lost in a scream for mercy

Tracing the water’s edge once more

Reflection lost to harder currents

Merged again, harder and more true

In the moonlit garden of memory

Does the world see my flaws? Does the world see the scars of my history? I don’t know, some of them are obvious, they are badges of honor I can’t help but wear them on my skin every single OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAblessed day of my life. I wish this were not the case, but it is the skin I live in the only skin I have so it is the skin I will have to walk this world in and the skin I will leave this world in. My problem? Truly, my problem is so many people over the years have left their calling card, announced their presence and left me something to remember them by; I can’t seem to step away far enough to start over again without carrying them along with me.

So, when I look in the mirror, I see my history. Some days I see myself victorious, but other days I see myself vulnerable and hurt, stupid for all the times I have laid myself open. When I look in the mirror, what I see is someone unloved and unlovable, someone who is not worthy of honest straightforward love, who must pay for any affection with something, either straightforward with my money or something else of value, including pain, because this is how it has always been.

Every single day I work toward changing my vision and work toward demanding more. But some days like today, this is what I feel.


  1. Val,

    Thru our brokenness, we RISE.

    I admire your honesty and strength and POWER & how you reach out to others…
    even in your darkest hours.

    Love you. xx

  2. I think you described us all one way or another at any given time. We all have monsters that come out to play, who rattle their cages, and roar at the gates of our minds. There is an old gospel song that says: “When you’ve done all you can–just stand!” Sometimes “standing” is all we can do and that is enough. Hang in there, babe.

  3. Beautiful in its painful honesty. I recently did a mirror-themed post as well; it’s interesting to see what other people perceive when they look in their own mirrors.

    • Mark, I apologize truly I did not mean to ignore you. I find the idea of mirrors and what we see when we hold them up fascinating. For me, well mine shifts I suspect for most of this it is true.

  4. Each of us have a history and carry heavy baggage. As we get older, we may make our baggage heavy on ourselves. Yet … instead of focusing on the mirror, we must try to live ahead.

  5. You have had more challenges than the average bear, that’s true. But it has given you depth, understanding and compassion. That is what I find in your face. And empathy. You have earned admiration.

    • Oh Elyse, it was a bad day that day. Just one of those days the monsters came out to play and my journal jumped up and made it to my blog. Thank you, though.

  6. Some days it is good to just let the bad thoughts out to cleanse yourself as you have done with the poetry. I see my dark regrets in the middle of the night without a mirror. You are strong, Val, with a beautiful self and soul! But always turn away from the darkness and go to the light.

    • Truly my friend, I do. Between my journals and the poetry I purge most of it. This was just something I scratched out of my head at a low point. I am good, most of the time I dance with my monsters, I win.

  7. Oh, Valentine. I think a great many of us have been there. Sometimes, we just get weary. That’s when you think back to realize all the battles you’ve won and pick up to keep moving along. The ultimate choice is to do just that. It’s difficult, I know, when we allow people in our lives and they become a bad part of our history but I think we become better for ’cause of it. We really do.

    • I do know, truly. We dance with monsters and we ultimately learn to dance backwards in high heels. That mirror though, lawd it is a terrible witness.

  8. You’re beautiful inside and out – you are, Val. But I also know how sometimes you just can’t see it. Why are we so, so hard on ourselves?

    Great food for thought.

    • I think Peg, we are hard on ourselves because we absorb the world around us and it can be toxic. Thank you, it is what purges the poisons that allow us to emerge stronger.

  9. Val your poem touched me… I doubt if any of us were honest with ourselves when we look in the reflection deep into our eyes, we can not find those pains which have left their hidden scars no one but our reflections can see..

    We bury them deep and its not until we ‘reflect’ look inward that we then see all that we have carried that still holds its power over us to cut us even deeper, should we care to peel back another layer of our outer skin we have built up over the years to form a mask in which we can hide the hurts..

    Recently I did a little of my own inner mirror work.. And managed to uncover and peel back some more layers which I had thought I had removed.. But no there they were, lurking in the shadows waiting for me to look deeper still ..

    I loved what Red said.. for she hit the nail right on its head.. when she said ” I get it, even if it is not what I see. I cannot see it because I love you.”,,,

    And that is what you need to see….

    I realised its only ME who is holding this image of me.. Its only Me who is choosing to carry the past hurts.. Its only ME who can Laugh at my face, my faults, my imperfections, and say Hey you know what.. What the heck.. I don’t give a monkey’s.. Because If I were perfect what am I doing in this earth life.. I am here to grow.. expand my consciousness of who I am..
    I AM not perfect.. but I am ME.. Unique.. I am not who I was when I was 5, all of my cells within my body have changed.. I am not who I am last week.. I am ME.. NOW.. and what I do in the MOMENT is what matters..

    You said Val..”Every single day I work toward changing my vision and work toward demanding more. But some days like today, this is what I feel.”…

    So FEEL!!!… And know its how YOU feel that matters the most.. Not how others see you..

    I love you.. ❤ Hugs Val..
    Sue xxxx

    • Yes, just that Sue. We peel it back, then some days we release the monsters to dance. That is what I have doing lately, letting them dance in the moonlight. It is terrifying, you know?

  10. georgiakevin says:

    What a beautiful sad poignant poem! I think that we are our worst critic. Have an idea that you are more than worthy of being loved, that you are very lovable indeed.

    • I think we can’t help but be our worst critic, I suspect it is our nature to be. Thank you, I am glad you liked the poetry I don’t often embed them but this one I thought needed the explanation.

  11. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “Beauty” is in the eye of the beholder!

  12. When you are in that frame of mind Val, it’s your masculine, logical brain, the can’t , shouldn;’t – all the reasoning stuff. But switch to your right feminine creative brain, and feel your real self, the part of you that is in touch with your intuition and your inner knowing, and you will feel just what a wonderful human being you are… no left brain ifs or buts…
    I sometimes tell myself, if I’m good enough for God ( or whatever you call he she or it )
    then I’m good enough for me….

    • Valerie, I just let the monsters out to play. I think I have to otherwise they take over my head and never give me peace. This is the result, this self-doubt. It isn’t an all the time thing but when it is in play it surely does bring me low.

      I am good though, I will be fine. Thank you, that is good advice.

  13. Gray Dawster says:

    Without tasting the sweetness of life how can one begin to understand the life that is ours to live? We all have the history of living, we cannot avoid that it is how life evolves but what we can control is how we view our life, this is something that needs to be viewed realistically. When you look in the mirror Val and see the past following you do not think that you are unworthy my sweet friend, no, think positively for thou art a lovely soul, you have not done anything wrong whatsoever. Think of the past as a life learning curve, it is similar to a lot of different people but how we digest that past is the key,

    I believe that we go through life picking up on countless experiences, some are awesome whilst others drop by the wayside, those memories that stay with us are the genuine one’s, the real love of life that has given us such a thrilling ride so far, and for the others, well my dear they need to be discarded, and not give melancholy moments of thought.

    The next time you look in the mirror see the authenticity of your inner being, you are not flawed, nor have any reason to feel unwanted, the sadness needs to be left at the door and a new feeling of worth replace everything that you feel right now, Believe me Val you are a wonderful woman, a true gem and definitely will love again, passionately, deeply and ever so sweetly, no flaws, just you a lovely lady that I know is worth every second of every day.

    Have a beautiful start to your Thursday Val 🙂

    Andro xx

    • Thank you my lovely friend. Don’t worry, it is a sometime thing, not an all the time thing. Sometimes history beats at the door and monsters come out to play. It is fine, truly.

  14. I get it, even if it is not what I see. I cannot see it because I love you. ❤

  15. As you allude to, how we see ourselves in the mirror (both the literal and figurative mirror) changes with our moods and emotions. On a great day we see a pretty awesome reflection. On a rotten day our reflection can make us cringe and turn away. Guess that’s what makes us human.

    Wonderful post, Valentine.

    • Thank you Carrie. Yes, it is not every day, it is some days. Those days are hard. But other days, as alluded to they are not so bad, or even damned good.

  16. You just wrote my story. Again.

  17. There is more to us than a mirror’s reflection. Remember it’s only a mirror.

  18. It took ages, but the best place I finally found myself was in my comfort zone. I liked myself despite years of quark, quark unhappiness on his part and probably nothing to do with me. When I was alone again, I navigated from day to day and week to week. It wasn’t pretty but , I began a different thinking about Me. Now I could do what I wanted, anytime I wanted and if not NOW, when? Those last four words stopped me in my tracks. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • I am getting there Tess. Swinging from highs to lows. For some reason, my lows are at an all time the past few days. This one has been sitting there and I thought, well I will just get it out there, poem and what generated the poem.

      I am okay really, but just having one of those moments.

  19. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

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