Lately I look in the mirror and I find all of my flaws so quickly. Maybe it’s because half of my day I have to look in the mirror and be concerned that my makeup is flawless because I’m a “face character”. I have never spent so much time looking at my face as I have this year, and at the same time I haven’t been through so much stress and climate change so that has been a bad combination on my self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am an attractive girl. I am happy with what I was given because I see so much of the people I love from my family in my face, so how could I not embrace that? But, like almost everyone, some days, you look in the mirror and you see all the things that you don’t like.
Tonight, as I was getting ready for bed I couldn’t stop looking at my eyes in the mirror. Oh, how they have been a blessing and a curse! My entire childhood I was ridiculed for having big eyes. “Bug eyes” is still ingrained in my heart as this hurtful, embarrassing torment. Even though I would look at my mom’s big beautiful hazel eyes, and the big beautiful round eyes of my Aunts, it just didn’t look right on my face. I felt like an alien. I hated it. I felt like if I just didn’t have these big eyes, I’d be pretty. At the same time, as a stage actress they have been such a blessing! You can see how I feel on my face all the way to the back row of the house! But, up close and personal I have always been incredibly insecure about my eyes.
Then, at 17 years old, my high school sweetheart Brion came along. At first, he’d call me Bug because of my eyes, but it was coming from a sweet place. I didn’t understand this, at the time, of course because of all of the previous torment. I remember getting so mad at him, saying, “Stop calling me that! I hate it!” and he’d say, “But you’re my little bug! I love your big round eyes!”
He was mister popular, party guy. I was president of drama club. I don’t know how or why it happened but he was smitten and so was I. He’d drag me to the cool kid parties and I’d feel humiliated because I felt like all the popular kids would look at me like, “Why is Brion bringing this DORK to the party? What is he thinking?”
And my eyes have always completely given me away! I’d get in trouble in school for “rolling” my eyes when a teacher was a jerk. I’ve never been able to hide when I’m hurt behind these huge windows into my heart. No matter how hard I’ve tried, these eyes give me away every time.
Brion would hold my hand and be by my side the entire time and even go so far as to say to people, “Isn’t she so beautiful? She’s so beautiful!” I would want to crawl in a hole and die. In my mind, everyone wanted to say, “NO! She’s a freak! What are you thinking?!” But, he never cared what anyone else thought. Ever.
Brion was my first real boyfriend and we were together for a little over two years. We started to grow apart in our second year of college because we were going to separate schools and had developed totally different lives and worlds. Now, he is married to a beautiful woman and they have two girls and a little boy on the way. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I know he is probably the most incredible husband and dad.
I can say with confidence that every boyfriend I have had has taught me a big lesson and given me something to look for in a mate or avoid in the future. I was such a child when Brion and I first started dating that I didn’t realize how important the way he treated me would impact me over ten years later. I wasn’t jaded yet. I hadn’t been cheated on. I was a trusting, insecure, smitten little girl.
Tonight I found myself looking in the mirror after I washed my face, hair pulled back, analyzing my facial features and all I could think was, “Gees! My eyes are so big! I hate them!” I thought of Brion saying, “But I love your eyes! You’re my little bug!” And I smiled. I thought of the random things that have endeared me to past boyfriends that they might have found to be flaws and how much I adored those endearing “imperfections”. When you are crazy about someone, all those silly little things you hate about yourself, generally become the things that endear the other person to you, because they are YOU. They aren’t perfect or like everyone else. Embracing those things only make you better and happier. From being close friends with some of the most stunningly beautiful women on this planet I can confidently say that no matter how gorgeous a woman is, she can tell you at least three things she finds absolutely disgusting about herself. Frankly, that sucks. As much as I get mad at all my pretty girl friends for talking down about themselves, I have to face the music myself and accept and love the exterior that this soul has been given.
I took a deep breath and tried to look at myself through the blue/green Irish eyes of an innocent 18 year old boy and thought, “Okay, that’s me. I can embrace this. This is how I look. I’m okay with it.”