It may make you feel vulnerable and it may make you feel courageous and strong. Whichever, your views are going to be hugely valuable.
I'd love to open a discussion we can all participate in - this seems to me to be the perfect place and I for one would truly appreciate your thoughts.
I've been mulling over snippets of information, synchronistic meetings, chance comments, facebook posts ... all manner of things that lead me to ask:
"What do you see/think/feel when you look in the mirror?"
[bctt tweet="I'm curious ... what influences our opinions of ourselves?"]
This may not come out in a cohesive fashion. I'm not apologising for that - just asking you to bear with me. This feels like a topic where imperfect action will suffice to start the conversation because I believe we all have an experience or opinion on the subject.
Having met a colour/style/image consultant recently raised questions in me about what I personally present to the world, how we impacts ourselves and others, and why we make the choices we do.
Yep it's great to have your 'colours done' (have done it myself) - it can indeed inspire confidence but I'm wondering if it's a long term fix or is it another tick off the list of all the things we can do to 'improve' who we are?
... I honestly don't have the answers ... I'm just throwing questions out here.
Does your reflection in the looking glass make you happy or does it fill you with other less than positive emotions?
Are you accepting of what you see as the years fly by?
Do you feel you need to make 'improvements'? If so, who for?
Who/ what influences those thoughts/desires?
I'll back track a little to give you an idea of where I'm coming from and then I'd love for you to throw your tuppence ha'penny into the ring.
Along with the Big C diagnosis last December I was immediately given choices about chemotherapy. Of the three options one was pure and simple Carboplatin, the other two had additional ingredients with about a 3% chance of improving outcomes, whatever that meant, however, nos 2 and 3 both guaranteed hair loss and increased sickness.
My decision made with absolute certainty took no longer than the bat of an eye lid. Given the choice there was no way on earth I wanted to lose my hair.
Now, was that down to vanity, ego, thinking too much of myself?
Depending on our experiences in life it may be considered as such.
You know when your younger you was cavorting in front of the mirror were you praised for being beautiful or critisised for being vein and too full of yourself?
I actually didn't feel vanity had anything to do with it
I've never seen a raving beauty when glancing at my own reflection - quite the reverse in fact until I learned to be comfortable with who I am. The act of standing in front of a camera used to be one of sheer torture until recent years.
No. For me it was so much more about Identity
If I didn't HAVE to find out who I'd be without my locks I was sticking with the safe option for me (I am fully aware other cancer sufferers don't have that luxury).
To anyone else it may seem trivial but I honestly couldn't imagine coping with losing my eyelashes et al and suddenly had an understanding of why my husband had such strong opinions about his treatments years ago. When given chemo drug usually reserved for females he told the consultant "I don't care if I have to wear a two piece bathing suit just so long as I keep my hair."
Yes this affect guys too.
When you're well and healthy that seems very peculiar but when you're there, phew it's a very different story.
So what am I asking here?
As a woman who always purports it's our inner beauty that matters what's going on?
I'm a big supporter of challenging perceptions of beauty, building women's confidence on all levels of their being, helping gals come to terms with body image and the emotional 'stuff' behind weight issues and I'm really really interested to discover how you feel about any of this.
Forgive me if I'm labouring the point but I really want you to be able to identify in some way.
Here are a couple more examples:
For two days running I've donned a dress - yay! that's so unusual. It seems like forever since I was out of my relaxed uniform of jeans and sloppy Jo but the other day I was giving a presentation as you know, and yes, I wanted to 'dress the part', and yesterday I was meeting up with a friend who always 'has it together' and I wanted to feel like me - the me I used to be before I got swallowed up in a system that doesn't make allowances for individuals.
Not the me who hid behind beautiful clothes years ago to disguise all my insecurities - no, I wanted to be the me who is comfortable with me which meant the old faithful blue with a turquoise cardi came out of the wardrobe - yep, instantly comfy as an old shoe.
My dear friend has been confined to bed with a mystery illness for the past week - her text this morning said "I've put on loads of make up to make me feel better"
What's all that about then?
Are you getting where I'm coming from?
What does it for YOU?
Who are you when you feel like YOU?
Are you allowed to be the you YOU wish to be?
What do you see/think/feel when you look in the mirror?
Who is the true YOU?
What are your thoughts?
"I wish I could show you
when you are lonely
or in darkness
the astonishing light
of your own being"