Who am I? That’s a question that has remained in my mind for years. Every morning I wake up and perform the same routine, and a part of this is looking at my reflection. However, I can’t see myself. I raise my hand and try to wipe the dewy film-like substance that fogs the mirror, but just like every other time, it stays the same. As time passed, the words developed into a thick black ink that brought my insecurities to reality.
These words surround my figure, blurring my figure as I think of them. My heads throbs as more negative connotations consume my thoughts in a rushed wave. I lean my head against the sink in hopes that the cool granite will calm the discomforting fire flooding my senses. Nothing seems to make it go away, and as my mind races, numerous amounts of words appear in the mirror until all I can see is black on what should be a transparent surface. With my knees buckling to the floor, I feel my throat begin to tighten. Not too long after that, my breathing quickened until the audible short sputtering sobs that escaped my dry, cracking lips. For so long, I’ve kept these feelings inside, and wondering,
“Why can’t I see myself?”
“Why don’t I know myself?”
“Who. Am. I?”
It wasn’t until then that it hit me. All this time, the answer was right in front of my face, staring at me, screaming and begging to be noticed. I was asking these questions out of pure frustration, but I never answered them. I allowed external and internal negative comments control who I was, how I perceived myself, and it prevented me from doing one thing:
It took a while for me to pull myself together, but I stood up and grabbed hold of the countertop with shaky legs to maintain my stability. I looked into the mirror once again, and while I still saw only the blacked-out image, I felt a sudden rush of confidence. It was small, but it was enough for me to give a slight smile. From that point on, it was my goal to learn to accept myself.
For weeks I embarked on this journey. I thought it would be an easy process, but it wasn’t as simple as flipping a switch. On the days that I did feel good about myself, the mirror began to appear more transparent. However, I had to recover from many bumps in the road regarding my negative thoughts and worrying about how others perceived me. It was both a mental and emotional battle I had to fight day by day. I tried desperately to keep hold of any self-confidence I felt for a moment, but as soon as it came, it would disappear without a trace. A part of me believed that this was a hopeless endeavor and that I would never be able to accept who I am, but there was always a flashback to when I first felt that power of confidence. That memory is what kept me going. Soon enough, the good days became more frequent, and with that, the mirror cleared up more and more. Then something interesting occurred. The black words outlining my figure faded, and instead, red words took their place. I couldn’t tell what they were saying at first, but this was a physical push that told me to keep going. There were many days where I sat myself down and thought about who I was. I made a list of what characteristics I liked and didn’t like about myself, and with that, I noticed how much I appreciated the positives I thought of. Even though I had insecurities about my flaws, I still felt the overwhelming love of what I liked about myself.
Self-acceptance isn’t an impossible process, but it involves hard work. I had to be able to pick myself up on the days I fell down. I held myself accountable for loving who I was by taking time to be with myself. Through this journey, I learned more about the personality that resonated within this body, and I learned to appreciate that. As I look into the mirror, I no longer see a blacked-out or blurred image of someone I can’t recognize. Instead, the mirror is clear and reflects back an image of me, the true me. The words that used to surround me in black were now red, and these ones said:
You Are Strong.
For the first time in my life, I was able to smile at the person staring back at me, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to find the answer I’ve longed for since the beginning:
“Who am I?”
I am me.