So I did. Literally. I went into the bathroom and stared myself down. There's a difference, I think, between glancing in the mirror while you brush your teeth and actually looking yourself in the eyes and telling yourself the truth about who and what you see.
I saw a face that I believe in -- and that belief comes because of the last year rather than in spite of it. I saw some fine lines creeping in, but they are a result of time spent laughing, and who can complain about that? I saw that my default expression is not a frown, but a grin. I saw lines in my forehead that are a result of very mobile eyebrows (I am not in possession of a poker face).
Beyond that, I saw someone who sees herself. I know that there are people in my life -- people who love me -- who don't understand or can't accept the reality of the person I see in the mirror. I am stubborn, independent, unlikely to ask for help. I am not warm and fuzzy. I have a tendency to pull away when someone wants to hug me. I don't like to lean or rely on anyone. I'm not the best at keeping in touch.
I'm loyal. I will go to the wall for people I love. I'm smart and I'm tough. I try to be generous. I love to smile, I love to laugh, and I will do anything for a friend.
It's true that I'm a mess. It's true I have anxiety and depression. It's true that I have moments -- days -- weeks -- where I feel like I don't want to go out or deal, when I feel like I can't cope. It's also true that despite that? I keep coping, because I refuse to quit.
On my birthday, I realized that I will never -- not ever -- be the person that some people in my life want me to be.
But I looked into my own eyes and realized that I am exactly the person I want to be. Craziness and all. I observed myself and realized that, finally, after thirty-eight years, I am okay with myself and fuck anyone who doesn't get it. I'm through justifying or trying to squash myself into someone else's definition of who I should be.
I blew myself a kiss in the mirror and then made a birthday wish -- not for myself, but for you, dear reader. My birthday wish was that you look yourself in the eye and love who you are right now, this mintute. You deserve it, you know.
We all do.