Once again, I look in the mirror and I don’t quite recognize who I am. It’s as if I “grew up” overnight. Gone is the long hair, complete with pigtails or ponytails with bright colored rubber bands at the bases. My double chin isn’t as noticeable, probably because of the prominence of the lines of my face. Not lines like old lady lines and wrinkles but definition to my cheek bones. I say it that way instead of saying my cheeks look sunken in or my eyes look dark and sunken in because for the first time since I can remember, my face has “lines” and “definition” not implying or indicative of malnourishment. Just like I have curves. This is odd for me because normally when I lose weight, it’s different. Not this time. I admit that I felt uncomfortable with my mom offering her clothes to me and my dad saying that I look great in mom’s clothes so why do I need new? Uncomfortable or resentful? I don’t look like my mom. I mean, I look like my mom but I don’t look like my mom. She admits she prefers her clothes loose. I prefer mine tastefully form flattering, or as she says, “tight.” If you’ve got it, show it, right?
Back to the woman in the mirror. She’s a different woman than a month ago in Texas. She’s a different woman than a week ago who fell victim to her parents’ shallow attacks. A year ago, it was so important to me to be “cute.” I, on a good day, pranced around the house proclaiming how cute I was. That must have been annoying. I don’t look or feel cute anymore. And maybe that served a purpose last year for a girl scarred from my own self-inflicted injuries. My scars aren’t anything close to “cute” but I wanted to not just feel that way but to be seen that way.
Today, I feel strong, wise and street smart now. My eyes have a look of “I know better,” and my mouth is carefully shut, not smiling or pouting in a firm poker face. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a hundred times after that, shame on me until I say “No more.” My mouth is not just shut to not give away my hand, but also to not say anything to what I say is to “engage the enemy.” I do know better now. People conducting my job interviews keep telling me how positive I am and how I’m always making a positive spin on things. I can feel myself smiling. I don’t see myself smile much anymore, again as if I know better. It’s not about being “cute” any more. And the woman in the mirror is a lot smarter and stronger than I ever thought she could be. And more beautiful.