I could see my reflection in the glass wall as I marched begrudgingly up and down the stair climber. As I took a step up, my head would be cut off in the reflection, then the next step would lower me and I would see my face reflected. I know Michael Jackson wasn’t singing about a literal mirror when he sang, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways”. However, when I see myself reflected, I can’t help but try to see some truth within the reflection. As if the person looking back at me has some secret wisdom, and if I could talk with her, she might share her insight. She stays silent though, and appears flat and surface-level, and no wisdom is shared. The moment passes and now I’m just concerned that my shirt is bunching up and I can’t tell if my waste looks bigger than yesterday.
I have been struggling with this concept of mirrors for the last week. I’ve rewritten this post now for the third time. I want to get this right. But I think I’ve realized there is no “right”. My thoughts change daily, hourly, sometimes even by the minute. One minute I look in a mirror and all I see is how I look. If I think I look good, then each reflection I see after my initial one helps to keep validating that I picked the right outfit or I’m still having a good hair day. The next week, I could put on the same outfit, do my hair exactly the same way and yet it feels off and the reflection is enough to make me change clothes 10 more times until I find something that I don’t completely hate and will get me out the door.
This is all surface level stuff though. That isn’t the tough part. I can always change my shirt or pull my hair back, change something until I become content with what I see. But what happens when you look at your internal mirror? Or do you even take the time to do that? Because you may not like what you see, or you may be confused by it and have no idea how to change it or what needs to change. I recently came across a discussion where two individuals were arguing about whether their figurative mirror was broken or if in fact, they were broken.
“It is not the mirror that is broken, fore it is us who are the broken ones.”
Broken is such a strong word. I prefer to think it’s the mirror that is broken. If you look in the mirror and see a broken reflection, it’s as if underneath the surface you are whole, but because the mirror is broken, you are unable to see a true reflection. You’re buried somewhere under the broken glass. If the mirror is fixed, you will then see a clear reflection and in that clarity, it will hold the truth of who you are.
If you believe you are broken, you might believe the mirror only reflects what is within yourself. If you look in the mirror and the reflection appears broken, it is only because you yourself are broken. You believe no matter how many times you fix the surface of the mirror, it will continue to appear broken because you haven’t actually fixed what is broken inside of you.
So I guess the question is do you believe you are broken inside? Whatever is wrong or off in your life, it runs so deep, that at your core, you are broken. YOU need to make changes, YOU are the problem and until you fix those things, you will never see a clear reflection.
It seems extreme to believe you are fundamentally broken. I am not saying that people shouldn’t work to better themselves. You have read plenty of my blog posts to know I am a work in progress. But trying to be a better person is different than fixing broken pieces inside you. Are you broken if you feel out of place, or if you are angry or upset about a situation you find yourself in? One where you feel the risk outweighs the reward, people may judge you, someone might get hurt, you feel stuck? The example that comes to mind for me are those people that believe you can “fix” being gay. As if you are broken somehow and with the right therapy, you can be fixed. When really you are not broken at all, you merely feel out of place because either you haven’t accepted who you are or others around you haven’t.
What makes you feel broken in the first place? Could it be you have been searching for something or someone? When you are young, you can have that feeling of brokenness because you feel out of place, you don’t really know yourself or how you fit. But I argue that doesn’t make you broken, it makes the reflection you see broken. And once you piece it together, you can then see a clear reflection.
Maybe along the way when we lose the security of childhood naivety, all of our mirrors begin to crack. As we find our place, as we find our love, we continue to piece ourselves together until we see that clear reflection. If we fight it, if we deny who we are, what makes us happy, who we love, our mirrors will continue to be broken. You can be content in your ignorance. If you never look into that mirror, you never have to worry about any of it. Once you are awakened though, once you find true love whether it be a person or something else you are passionate about, you will never feel content again, because you know what it feels like to be captivated by that passion. It’s hopeless to fight it and you will look into that mirror and you will see a broken reflection. The more you fight against it, the more it shatters until you only see fragmented pieces of the fraud you have become.
So is the mirror broken or are we broken? I believe it’s both. Because we are the mirror. If the mirror is broken, we are broken. We are in control of what we see in the reflection. And if we are confused or in denial of what is really making us feel broken, then we will be wasting time “fixing” the wrong things. If we aren’t able to be honest with ourselves or really understand ourselves, if we are denying who we truly are, what truly makes us happy, we will spend years and years fixing things that were never really broken and missing out on the things that will make us truly feel whole.