grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

More On Mirrors

on June 19, 2014

So I went to the salon for a trim today.
I decided not long ago, after seeing the cutest hairstyle in the Chico’s catalog, that I wanted to give growing out my hair long another try.

But I needed a trim.
The ends of my hair were a little crispy and my style was a little out of shape.

Growing my hair out to the length of the style I found in the Chico’s catalog signifies something to me.
Actually…honestly…it’s a few things…

#1 – when I lost all my hair to chemo almost four years ago, I cried like a baby. Slobber-crying crocodile, projectile tears. And I couldn’t even have guessed that losing it would hit me so hard. So I think growing it back and growing it long feels to me like a symbol of health…of wellness…of a sense of I’m Okay Now.

#2 – for a long time, due to things like being taller than the average woman (I’m almost 6 feet tall) and having lost almost all of my female body parts to surgery or disease, coupled with having been sexually abused, I haven’t felt much like a girl…also, feeling girlish has never felt safe…so, in an attempt at self-preservation, I’ve felt more like some sort of asexual thing…and long hair would signify, to me, my inherent girliness…my embracing of the female part of me.

#3 – I want to believe, to embrace, that God made me a girl…a full-on woman. But, to be honest, that scares me a little. Somehow, growing my hair longer than it’s ever been and pushing through the awkward, difficult phases that come with the growing-out could wind up signifying the awkward, difficult phases I’ll need to go through to heal areas that have been damaged by others using my body for their own purposes and by my allowing it. The question is, do I really want to face that? Do I really want to stare those things down? Do I really believe I can move past the objectifying that dominated so much of my life?

These are all subconscious realities that play like soundtrack music as I sit in my stylist’s chair.

Then, we bring up the Mirror Work she assigned me at one of my last appointments. (Yes, you know it, and I know it…stylists are lower-paid therapists who give you great hair.)

All those weeks ago, she and I were talking about self-perception and I let it slip that I don’t do so well with the mirror…that I’ve always believed I was ugly. And severely lacking.

To say she was shocked – horrified, even – at the depth of belief I had in my own fundamental ugliness would be an understatement, to say the least.

So she sent me home with an assignment. (Can you imagine? Getting an assignment from your stylist? Yes, she is that good. *smile)

She assigned me Mirror Work.
I was to get face-to-face with my self in the mirror, look myself directly in the eyes, and tell myself how lovely and lovable and beautiful I am – just as I am.
Daily.

Honestly, I almost threw up at the thought of it.
And I think I would have, if I hadn’t been nervously giggling so hard.

But I left her salon that day, determined to follow through…and to practice that Mirror Work.
Despite the anxiety even the thought of it caused me.

I’m proud to say that I did manage about 80% compliance for the first couple weeks.
Then, I lost momentum.

At least in the telling my face those things.

Today, though, when she and I were revisiting the subject, I realized something…
I have been seeing gains in telling my body those things.
And I told my precious stylist that…
That being kind to the rest of my body has come easier for me.

{I think back to when I was 17.
The age my youngest daughter is now.
And I remember that, at a bit over 5’11’’ and 155 pounds, my father called me Thunder Thighs…told me I could never sneak up on someone because the slapping of my thighs would give me away every time…told me I was large…unacceptable.
Thinking of that today just shocks me.
Especially when I look at my precious Baby.
I cannot imagine anyone saying those things to her…marring her delicate soul with words that weigh as much as leaden wings.}

Today, at age 47, I’m still a bit over 5’11’’ and weigh quite a bit more than 155 pounds.
I no longer have the breasts God gave me due to the separate single mastectomies I underwent in a battle with breast cancer about four years ago.
Today, my breasts are made of silicone, they’re marked with scars, and they look more like a Barbie doll that was left too close to a candle’s flame than typical breasts.

And I find myself loving them.
Being thankful for them.
Proudly realizing that I chose these.
Gratefully acknowledging that my scars are actually souvenirs I picked up in the Cancer Battle Gift Shop.

So, when my beautiful stylist and I talked again today about the need for me to do the Face Mirror Work, I bravely acknowledged growth in the Body Mirror Work arena.

She said, so sweetly and so sincerely, ‘I wish you could see you the way we all see you.’

I almost cried.

Because I want that, too.

So, I’m going back to the original assignment.

The Face Mirror Work.

And, even though there are so many voices, so many reasons I can come up with about why I shouldn’t even try, when I think of my four beautiful girls, I feel a call to my heart…

Model for them a healthy appreciation for the face, the hair, the body God created uniquely theirs.
Let them see what it actually looks like to have a grateful heart for God’s handiwork.

And, who knows…in all of this, I may just be able drown out the voices that try to convince me that the mirror shows only lack…ugliness…freak-show looks.
I may just be able to thank the One who created my eyes just so, my nose the proportion it is, my lips and chin in a way that is only mine.

I’d like that.
Well, that and longer hair.

{Gratefully linking up – even if it’s a bit later than usual – with Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory. So much good there, friend. She’s the author of Love Idol, after all!}

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6 responses to “More On Mirrors

  1. Laura,
    First, let me tell you that you are so lucky to have this hair-dresser! Never change to someone else!! Those words, “I wish you could see you as I see you,” are such energy filled words and those alone can change a life – just as your father’s words did when you were young.

    I’m reading a book right now called, The Energy of Words, by Michelle Arbeau. You need this book. It’s all about how words hold energetic vibrations. I’m a believer of the law of attraction, but this book is amazing.

    About the long hair thing. I am almost 49 and go through the same issue – should I cut it? Should I keep it long? I had it short when my kids were small and felt frumpy. Long – I can where a ponytail all summer long and I love that. Lots of advantages to long – go for it, Lady.

    The last thing that popped into my head as I read your post was a video I saw online awhile back. I would do this in a heart beat ~

    http://videosift.com/video/tattoos-after-breast-cancer

    Love and peace to you ~

    Shari 🙂

    • LauraK says:

      Oh Shari!

      All of these priceless, sweet words from you! Thank you for taking the time – not only to read my words, but to speak hope here!

      I most definitely agree that my stylist is a keeper! And, I count her as a dear friend, too, so am doubly blessed. 🙂

      I am with you on the power of words, as well. After all, think of all the times we’re reminded of the power of words throughout Scripture…Jesus is even called The Word. *goosebumps*

      You hair — I’ve loved it in every photo I’ve seen of you! Thanks for cheering me on in my quest for Long. 😉

      And, I LOVE Molly’s tattoo story! I follow her on Pinterest because I am planning to do something along the same lines as her tattoo(s) after my next -and final – surgery. Can hardly wait!! 🙂

      Love and Peace right back at you, friend! xo

  2. elizabethfstewart says:

    I am so happy that I ended up next to you at Jennifer’s link up! You are so brave! Your scars are a symbol of your victory over a huge battle, not just the ones that can be seen, but the unseen scars, too.

    • LauraK says:

      Hello, Elizabeth!

      Grateful you were next to me over at Jennifer’s, too! I’ll get back over there and click through to your place in a bit. Thank you so much for your generous words!

      xo

  3. becky says:

    Laura – this is so beautiful, touching, honest, vulnerable. I felt honored reading this.

    You absolutely do have a special hair stylist. She certainly must be in her career for a reason, to remind women of their feminine beauty, to embrace it, to help them see themselves (the way others do … like she said). She’s a gift.

    And I felt so touched reading about how you are coming to accept and love, even, different parts of your body. To accept your femininity, especially knowing that the patterns of the past told you that was unsafe. It’s so beautiful (hard, too!) to push past those old belief patterns and accept, or even consider, a new way of thinking. Those old thoughts, though, kept you safe. They served a purpose, you know. Your brain was just trying to protect you by making you feel not so feminine. It wasn’t trying to hurt you; but now, you’re in a safer place in your world. It’s a place where you can gently tell your mind, those old thought patterns, that you ARE ok now. Thank IT too, for trying to protect you. But that you don’t need it to do that for you anymore because you’re not in the same place. That now, the safest thing it can do, the most vital thing it can do to help you REALLY survive, is to help you embrace all your gracious woman-ness. It is our gift. It is how we were made. It’s life. 🙂

    I just love you.

    • LauraK says:

      Becky!

      Your words here…grateful tears falling as I read them.

      My stylist is most certainly a gift in my life…and in the lives of her family and her other clients. She is an amazing woman.

      Thank you for your gracious reminder that those thoughts served me, protected me for a long time…and that it okay to let them go now. And that embracing my femininity will what thriving looks like. 🙂

      You know what?
      I just love you, too.
      xo

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