It is SO EASY to tear yourself down. It’s almost effortless these days to pick yourself apart and put yourself into piles of worthless, horrid and horrible crap. The messages the media are selling us, that you have to be thin enough, but not too thin…fit enough, but not too fit…pretty enough…handsome enough…smart enough…but not too smart. Be perfect, but not too perfect. Be what society tells you to be…but be yourself, and be unique but not too unique to stand out and be a freak. But don’t be too self confident because then you’re arrogant and cocky, and no one will ever love you because you’re unattainable, frigid, vain, or simply just a bitch.
But here’s a thought.
How ‘bout not?
I issued a challenge to myself the other day. Look in a mirror and count to five. In those five seconds my challenge was to identify a few things I not only liked about myself, but loved. My challenge was to be utterly, completely and totally vain. But I gave myself a further challenge. I had to justify, or at least explain why I loved what I saw. Justified vanity, even if I’m the only person who could see it in myself. Nothing like throwing it back in society’s face, that I refuse to be put down, or put myself down just so THEY (whoever THEY are) don’t feel threatened by me.
So. For your viewing pleasure, this is my way of meeting my challenge.
Looking in the mirror, I have a very unique eye colour. I’ve never actually seen this shade of green on another living being, without them being coloured contact lenses. But, these are the ones I was born with, and they’ve drawn a few compliments about how unique they are. But further than that, with these eyes, I see the world around me. When it looks like I’m not paying attention, I see everything. I look beyond the surface, and see what’s at the heart of the matter. It’s these skills in observation that I’ve come to rely on, to keep myself sane, and to provide insight to my friends when they need (and ask) for it.
It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I can somewhat understand that. Over the years I’ve worked at keeping my face utterly blank if I’m in an extreme emotional state. I’ve met with some degrees of success. But one look in my eyes, and you can see if I’m sad, or angry or deliriously happy. There is something reassuring that I can, in some ways, be so totally hidden and not allow my face to betray what I’m thinking. But in others, my unique eyes can show in a flash exactly how I’m feeling. Giddy or defiant, happy or sad, my eyes see and allow me to be seen. How could I not love them?
Neither large nor small, it sits there in the centre of my face not really doing anything aside from smelling my environment and assisting in that rather vital function of breathing. I’m really quite fond of breathing. Means I’m something slightly other than dead.
Scent memory would also play into this. I have a very vivid memory to begin with. Couple it with scents, and I can close my eyes and remember…just…remember. For example. I don’t have very many memories of my Grandfather Dakin. Due to geography, I did not see him too frequently before he passed away. But, the smell of tobacco smoke from a pipe, and I can remember him…just glimpses…just memories…but I can remember my “Poppa” and his laugh. I don’t remember his voice. But I can remember his laugh, all because of pipe tobacco smoke.
Cinnamon buns remind me of Gramma Manning. Spice cake reminds me of Granny Dakin. Burning wood and wood stoves remind me of winters growing up in Fort Frances, or cool rainy days out at the cabin at Twin Lakes Manitoba. I love my nose, because it helps me remember simpler times, with people who love me and who I love.
If I consider my eyes to be highly expressive, then I’d have to say my mouth takes a close second. I have never been, nor will I ever be and excessively smiley person. But in recent years I’ve at least developed a quirk in the corner of my lips to indicate at the very least a tiny grin. I have very nice lips, I like to think. When I smile, it’s always broad, and it’s always genuine. I am not afraid to split out in a full laugh, or when the need arises, to twist it and curse invective at the situation that needs it.
I have never been afraid of voicing my opinion, and when it isn’t a written opinion piece, my mouth is the mode of delivery. People tend to underestimate me. What I have going on in my head is quite different from the façade I choose to portray. People don’t give me the credit they would give if I weren’t such a ham or a joker, but I am an exercise in “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I joke. I poke fun. I’m quick witted, and I’m observant. All these come out in my word choice, and I am very deliberate in my word choices. I can be quiet at times, or seem reserved, but in those moments when I choose to speak, I make myself heard. I make myself understood. I can say more in a handful of sentences, than others can say in entire speeches. My mouth…my simple, expressive mouth, can make all eyes on me, and I will be heard.
4. Wrinkles in the corners of my eyes.
There is no doubt that they are starting to form. Right now, they are only easily seen if I’ve been smiling or laughing. A lot. They are an inevitable fact of life unless you botox them away. Contrary to any jokes I may make, I would never get rid of them for all the money in the world. The wrinkles are a sign that I’ve been around. I’ve seen and done things that, in this case, have made me smile, and made me laugh. No greater testament to a live well lived than a few lines of imperfection borne from laughing too much, and smiling until your cheeks hurt. Some people see wrinkles. I see trophies.
I have some scars on my skin. Catching a Frisbee just under the eye when I was working at camp is one of them. Scars on my forehead are others. While not gouged or pitted, my skin is normal. I don’t look like I’m made of porcelain. I’m approachable. I’m real. I’m flawed and I’m human.
And more’s the point…I am wonderfully vain. At least, that’s what others would have me believe. I like to think I’m self confident. Self assured. I don’t need external validation of what I already know. This makes me a bit odd in a world where we’re expected to depend on other people’s opinions of ourselves.
What can I say. I’m an odd duck.