Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Peekaboo, I see you.

Pleasantly sore, became plain old sore over the weekend; mostly in part because I held my neck at such an unnatural angle for so long when swimming on Friday. The rest of my muscles were caught between feeling elated that they were back in the exercise saddle again, and bemoaning how out of shape they'd become.

My brain, that squishy but smart organ, knew we had cause to celebrate. Not only was I back into exercise, but I'm now sleeping eight hours most nights, rather than the twelve to fourteen I was sleeping for several months. Saturday, I shared a mocha slushy with Alaskaboy, and later that evening had a glass of wine. Sunday we dined at a restaurant for dinner, with which I had a pina colada, went and saw a movie and I walked up and down stairs with only the slightest thought as to how my body might react. Monday I had half a can of coke, and a glass of wine.

For those of you keeping count, that's three alcoholic drinks and two caffeinated ones over the course of three days. Earlier this year, a can of coke gave me heart palpitations and a 1/4 cup of wine would have me very tipsy: Both gave me a hangover the following day. Despite having only six hours sleep on Saturday night, plus the drinks, I had no hint of a hangover this weekend.

Not only that, but I found some interesting photos. A little while ago I'd asked Mum to look for some photos of a younger thinner me. I've been curious for quite some time to look back and see how distorted my inner vision actually was. She's been super busy with her own life and hasn't had a chance to do that yet. So, imagine my shock, when in the spirit of reminiscing with Alaskaboy I opened up one of our photo albums, containing shots from five and six years ago, and saw nothing but a normal, pretty woman. Pleasantly plump, happy, and nothing like the horrid monster she thought she was.

So, I flicked through a few more. One from my first trip to America in 2001, and another from 2002/2003. It was amazing. Not only could I remember how I'd felt when certain pictures were being taken, but I remember some of the things I'd THOUGHT to myself. Well, okay, to be fair it was LSED doing the thinking. Funny thing is, she's been strangely quiet since I bought those clothes last week. Last night, while looking through those photos. . .I noticed an absence. No, not an absence, the very opposite of an absence. It was like the part of my psyche where she hangs out had been torn down, renovated and a brand spanking new residence was there. One full to the brim with something right. Something that belonged to me. It was even a different feeling than what I get from when HSEG is talking.

There was no looking at the photos and thinking how skinny I looked compared to myself now. Yes, I am healthier, physically, in those photos. Yes, I'm fatter now than I've been in quite awhile. Yes, I'm having to work slowly at building my fitness levels. Looking at those photos I knew, deep down in my soul, that the reason my innards felt different than they've ever felt before was because I saw all of me. It was me in that picture, Kada. Me, a person worthy of love and life.

That new place is full of me and my self respect.

I saw my past. I see my present. I have hopes and dreams for the future. And I accept all of them. I accept that learning about myself is an ongoing thing that will take the rest of my life. Because I'm still living my life. Without all of my past, I wouldn't be the complex, unique individual that is wholly myself. By releasing and feeling all those emotions and experiences I'd kept bottled for so long, I've let them find the place they belong, and they've shown me perspective.

And by asking for, and receiving, my Magic Mirror I've gained yet another sense of perspective. I didn't receive responses from everyone. I received replies from some I never expected to hear from, and nothing from a few I had. Some are still planning on sending a response, they're not quite sure how to word it just yet, and a few have given me nothing but silence in return. A couple responded, but were unable to resist "improvement tidbits". Knowing the personalities of those people, I accepted their words in the spirit they were meant.

One thing I learned pretty early on as a writer, is that when one or two people tell you something about your story, it might not necessarily be true. If you receive the same advice from nearly all your critique or writing group partners, then take heed, as that bit truly does need fixing. Or that aspect really is pretty damn good. Imagine how I felt, when ALL of the magic mirror letters agreed on quite a few things. They all had unique aspects to share, but they all agreed on several key aspects of me.

I would declare the Magic Mirror exercise a resounding success. The light of their regard lit the path to my inner self. I see myself through their eyes, and I also see deeper than that. Through eyes unclouded by the gunk I've set aside, I see me. And I like what I see.

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