Every day WordPress posts its Daily Prompt. It is a proposed subject for us to blog about. A way to kick start our imagination and writing process. Today’s subject is called Mirror, Mirror. It asks us to look in the mirror and write about whether the image reflected back is the same as the image we have of ourselves. I wrote about this very subject a few months ago in my anonymous blog. That entry was laced with anger and frustration as is almost everything on that blog. I am curious if during the intervening months, I have changed enough to write on the same subject from a different perspective.
I am contemplating this subject over a cup of St Dalfour Organic Black Cherry Tea. The subject is a difficult one for me. I am as good as the next guy at self-delusion. Maybe even better than most. Looking in the mirror though, I am brought both literally and figuratively face-to-face with my situation. I can’t deny what I see reflecting back at me.
The brutal truth is that I look older than I am. The years of chronic illness have taken their toll. The man who looks back at me is at least 80. Chronically, I am still in my 50’s. Inside? That is a harder question. It really depends on the day. Some days I am still 15. Some days I feel I’m 120. Most days fall somewhere in between.
When I wrote about this before, I was at a seriously low ebb. I was in between hospital stays, and I was dangerously thin. The lack of weight only made the image more stark. As I write now, I have gained back 25 lbs., and I am considerably stronger. I still have bad days, but the average is better. The reflection now is less scary, but it is still a much older man looking back at me. There isn’t much I can do to change the man in the mirror. All I can do is try to change the man inside.
More than anything, the man in the mirror has brought me in touch with my own mortality. It is a clear reminder that I don’t have forever. While nothing I have will directly lead to my demise, I have to wonder if the cumulative effect of my various chronic conditions will shorten my time here. It has led to a level of uncertainty I’ve never experienced before.
This uncertainty is what led to this blog and to this project I am on. Whatever time I have, it is obviously limited as it is for everyone. I just have become more acutely aware of it. It is staring me in the face, so to speak. This blog and things I am writing about are what I am doing as a result of this awareness.
My physical resources are limited by my illness. So if I am to be in bed most days, then I am going to do the best I can to use that time to embrace those things I am passionate about: music, art, food, culture. Those days when I am strong enough to be out and about? Those days I am going to appreciate those things in my community that give me pleasure and satisfaction. Especially the small things, since those are things I was most likely to overlook before. There is a beauty in small things that I never appreciated, and that I am only now beginning to recognize. It is cliche to say it has opened up a whole new world, but it is in some respects how it feels.
So, the purpose of this post is to talk about the man in mirror. I am trying to reach an accommodation with him. It isn’t easy because he is tough, old bird. I haven’t rid myself of the anger, hurt or regret he represents. Those are still a part of me and they still have influence. But they don’t hold sway. They don’t dominate. They are just part of a chorus that informs my actions and guides me down this road. There are a lot of voices in that chorus however, and ultimately, I choose which ones to listen to and which ones to act on. I am doing my best to choose well.