Sometimes I think I was given a faulty mind, one that resembles circus mirrors, where things are distorted so they can be laughed at. Sometimes. Other times I see straight, I know who I am, what I am worth and what I want to accomplish before I die.

Long ago I thought I would outgrow this. As a child and later as a young adult, when I looked and marvelled at the adults that were in my life I thought they had everything figured out. They seemed to walk in confidence and certainty and I wanted a little piece of that.

I don’t think I am naturally shy, I just think the world I lived in shaped me to cope with things by running away and hiding inside my mind. You don’t have to shed a tear for me, I have come a long way and thankfully we have drives, needs and desires that don’t let us hide for long periods of time, but I am surprised that the circus mirrors of my mind have not been shattered and haven’t disappeared.

In a sense, I am exactly who I used to be and if the life I have lived so far is any indication, than I will continue to struggle with my self image and there will be days, probably in the winter time, when everything slows down, and we have too much time to think about things. Or maybe not enough.

Maybe we don’t think about who we are and why we are the way we are often enough. Maybe the struggle with self confidence and self worth is doing precisely what it is meant to do. Maybe it’s keeping us grounded. Perhaps life is asking for us to discover who we really are, and at the same time not get carried away.

So if the circus mirrors aren’t going away any time soon, perhaps the real question is what to do with them. What do you do with a guest who comes over and refuses to leave? Who either ignores or simply cannot understand the hints you are giving them that they are no longer welcome.

If our self worth and the way we see ourselves sometimes is never going to be as smooth as I hoped perhaps we need to put it somewhere. Too bad it is not a physical thing because there are places I would like to stick it, but no matter, I think we need to get dressed anyways. Get dressed if we are staring into a perfectly normal mirror and image of who we are, or if that vision is distorted by this means or that. 

We have to get dressed. We have to get ready. We have to go on stage, deliver our lines, not because we want to, but because without us, the whole play have a little less impact, life will be a little duller, because it’s so much better when we choose to be active participants on the stage of life.

There are days when I don’t feel so hot. I would probably grab a hug if it was close by, but things are good. I am writing from a position of strength. Strength because I see the circus mirrors of my mind. They have their place too. They have their place, and I have to make sure the remain mirrors and not windows from which I view the world.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer William Fitzzgibbon.