Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who is the fairest one of all?
I spent some time this week with a a strong-bold-assertive-courageous woman. She is all these things and then some. She also doubts herself – her beauty, her voice, her worth.
She’s not the only one. It happens all the time. Who am I kidding? I do it all the time! This self-doubt, this questioning of our intrinsic value, this looking outside ourselves for how we’re perceived. It’s oh-so-familiar and all-too rampant.
We talked of the gap between self-perception and other-perception; the positive, affirming, and truth-filled feedback we receive nearly all the time that we barely believe and rarely let soak into our bones, healing the messages that taught us otherwise. Instead, no matter what is reflected back we ask – again and again – just like the “wicked” queen of Snow White lore – “am I beautiful?” “am I worthy?” “am I enough?” “do you see me?” “do you love me?”
Here’s the major problem with this. Whether Snow White’s in the kingdom or not, we’re never satisfied. We cannot set the mirror aside (or any other source of external comparison and validation) and just rest in the beauty and power that is ours, that is us, that is woman, that is the Sacred Feminine within.
My oldest daughter, now 14, came into my room last night and shut the door. This hardly ever happens so I knew something was up. She told me about a mask-making project in her French class, how she has to have petroleum jelly smeared all over her face before the plaster is applied, how she has to go wash her face in the classroom, how people will then see her without her makeup, how she will be exposed (acne and all), how she will (assuredly) be ridiculed and teased. I listened. I talked. And of course, I told her that she’s beautiful, that fewer people will notice than she thinks, that she’s not alone, that she’s normal, and that she’s brave. I want
ed to destroy the “mirrors” that have convinced her of anything else.
As I sat with her and felt her emotion, I also had a rush of my own. I never made a mask, but I lived in dread every day of being found out, of being exposed, of someone recognizing that, indeed, I was not pretty enough, funny enough, popular enough…Yes, a rush of memory that took me back to adolescence; but, truth-be-told, I don’t have to go back nearly that far. I could probably summon up a memory from just last week!
This reality is legion. It is evil. And it silences and hides the power of the Sacred Feminine – inherent and far stronger than any “legion” that might exist – in my daughter, in me, in the woman with whom I had conversation, in all of us.
So. What to do? We’ve got to stop listening to the voices within and without that keep us staring at a reflection that is skewed. We need to listen closer and deeper to the wisdom within, to the Sacred Feminine. She’s there. ‘Always has been.
- When we look in the mirror, rather than wondering if we are the fairest of all…or fair enough, we need to see the Sacred Feminine looking back at us and smiling. She says, “Yes. There you are. Here I am. Let’s show up in the world and kick some ass!”
- When we have conversations with daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, let’s recognize and acknowledge the presence of the Sacred Feminine immediately! She’s there – in us and in them. She says, “Where two or three gather in my name…there I am!”
- When we feel the pull of the voices that tell us we are not ______________ enough, let’s tell them to take a seat; that they do not have the floor anymore. The Sacred Feminine has the mic now. She says, “You are more than enough. You are powerful, beautiful, and amazing. What’s more, you always have been. Those voices have been lying to you from the beginning.”
- When we find ourselves lost in memories; places where we’ve felt the sting of rejection, the angst of insecurity, the familiar ache of comparison to one another, let’s remember Snow White…and then tweak her story just a bit. She took a bite of the apple (as did Eve), then had a nice long nap. Yes, fable tells us the kiss of the prince woke her up. But let’s assume instead, that the Sacred Feminine within woke her. When she was ready, she sat up. She stood up. And the power and strength within her said, “Enough. I’m done with small men. I’m done hiding in the woods. I’m done running from the Wicked Queen (or the voices within). No one will cut my heart out, silence it, or shut it down. I’m pursuing the relationships I want. I’m standing in my own beauty and truth.”
Are you ready? Wake up. Sit up. Stand up. And say, “enough.”