notes from Jen - "a matter of perspective"
Okay, so a few months ago I'm washing dishes at the kitchen sink and feeling a little sorry for myself because I'm washing dishes at the kitchen sink. Our 20-plus-year-old Whirlpool dishwasher (that scrubbed with such ferocity it sounded like a pack of rabid wolves devouring our dirty, greasy plates) had finally thrown in the towel. On top of that, the plumbing for one side of the double-wide sink went kaput. Add to that the long-since nonfunctioning disposer, and you've got a recipe for an unpleasant situation to say the least.
While I'm laboring away with my soon-to-be-dish-pan hands, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window. I look down-right frail! Who is that boney-shouldered, tired, haggard and puny woman? It certainly couldn't be me.
The next day I'm blindly going through my morning ritual and decide to open my eyes for a bathroom mirror evaluation. Oh my goodness! I have elephant legs where my upper arms used to be, and what's this water-balloon paunch of a thing I have for a stomach? Who is that thick-wasted, padded-hipped, flabby-armed, turkey-necked woman? It certainly couldn't be me.
So I curse the lighting and wander into the bedroom to put on the same clothes I wore yesterday, because, after all, they're still relatively clean and it's easier than thinking about what else to put on. If I could avoid the mirrors in our bedroom, I would. But, unfortunately, we've got 1980's mirrored closet doors that take up nearly an entire wall, and they are entirely unavoidable. ("Oh, but don't they make the room seem so much larger, and look how they reflect the windows so nicely. And honey, when you get done there, let's put another layer of wallpaper on top of the three layers already there to make it as difficult as possible for the next people that live here to strip the wallpaper off the walls," I say to myself in the voice I use for the woman I do not know who lived in, and decorated, this house two decades ago.)
There I stand, in our tiny, untidy, nicely mirrored bedroom -- partially stripped, surrounded by walls that are partially stripped. All their layers are showing, from the 20- to the 40- to the 60-year-old wallpaper, and yes, I've managed to clean small, but grand, portions of wall right down to the 90-year-old cracking plaster. It's been that way for longer than I care to tell and is a daily reminder of one of my biggest personality flaws. Though the walls aren't worthy, two pieces of art hang. One is mine -- two cupids throwing hearts and roses on sleeping houses. The other I bought. It quotes Kahil Gibran. "I am the poet's elation, and the artist's revelation, and the musician's inspiration...I am the song of love."
Then, you guessed it, the unavoidable happens. I see myself in the mirror. Oh my! I look so soft and lovely and proportionately round -- so smooth and unblemished and even kind of... pleased. Who is that slightly blushed, twinkle-eyed, strong (but somewhat odd) woman?
It must be me. Certainly.