I remember my mother telling me about hearing thumps after putting me down to sleep in my crib when I was a little tyke. Several thumps until they had to push the crib up next to the bed. It was me hitting the floor after climbing over the rails. Maybe I fell on my head a few too many times, but I seem to have a hard time understanding my reflection.
I started thinking about my reflection because frequently my photographs of reflections on water turn out differently than I see them in my lens. After I do a little post-processing, I see reflections that are brighter and more vivid than I remember seeing with my naked eye. Sometimes I am surprised by the moment my camera captured, because it is different than the moving reflections my eye was seeing.
I wonder what I reflect back to others when they look at me. What do others see in those few seconds in which we connect? Obviously they can’t see the lifetime of me’s lived day to day. I don’t want them to see the snarky, mean times when I didn’t feel good, was too tired, or was wounded and wanted to fight back. Only the people who have lived with me a long time have seen those parts – the ones I feel guilty and shameful about.
I want to reflect something different. I want to reflect beauty and joy and acceptance. The joy is easy for me because most of the time I do feel a sense of joy at being alive and making my way through life. Yes I have had my times of gut wrenching sadness and pain. I know others do too and I respect their times. But it is nice to be happy and to share happiness with others. You know, to spread it around.
Most of the time acceptance is also easy. I used to be more judgmental and I know that showed in my voice and actions but as I have grown older I am finding that I have a greater capacity to accept people as they are. Professionally I learned that the more I was able to see inside a person’s psyche, the more I was able to overlook their faults and irritating behavior. Isn’t it strange that the more I saw the parts they wanted to keep hidden, the more I was able to love them. I want people to experience acceptance so they will be able to love their hurt and ‘ugly’ parts in the same way that I am able love them. Is it possible… can I also reflect acceptance to the person serving up my mocha latte or bagging my groceries? Will they feel it and accept it?
The hardest to understand is beauty. I think this is hardest because when I look at myself in the mirror I don’t see beauty. What I see is a woman who is growing older and has put on too much weight in all the wrong places. Okay, so there weren’t any “good” places for those fat cells to settle, but you get the picture. My internal image is still the under 50 person who was tall and thin – but this isn’t what my shadow and reflection shows me.
I have read the psychology books and know that beauty is important. Beautiful children get more attention. I also know a lot of people who are not physically beautiful but are very beautiful people. What is it that radiates out from them that makes them so beautiful? How do some people radiate so much beauty that we feel beautiful in their presence? I think I am going to have to think about this. I think I can learn a life lesson as I look for beauty through my lens, especially in reflections.
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