My friends and family who know me best know that I have two really big fears in life: broken glass, and my lack of self awareness. The glass fear is just a normal fear, but the lack of self awareness fear impacts every aspect of my life.
We all know someone who thinks they are the most important person on every project they are on, while everyone else is cleaning up the messes they leave behind. We all know people who think that everyone likes them because they are always the center of every social situation, when really they just push themselves to the center and refuse to give up the position even if others roll their eyes behind their back.
I am terrified of being that person. I am terrified of not seeing the world as it truly is. I am terrified of thinking I am smart, talented, attractive, funny, good at my job, a good writer, whatever, when everyone around me exchanges knowing glances. I am not an extrinsically motivated person. I do not need others to tell me my worth. I am an intrinsically motivated person who is afraid that her internal compass is completely out of whack. Every time I hear someone confidently exclaim their talent I cringe a little. Not because I don’t agree with them, but because I would never be so bold.
Two things have happened recently that have made me doubt my fears: a mirror at work and some new sunglasses.
There is a mirror in the women’s bathroom at work. It is a large mirror, almost floor to ceiling, and it is wide. I think the proportions may have something to do with it’s magic. I, like most people, am not getting more attractive as I age. My middle is getting thicker. My face is getting wrinkles and rounder. My posture is stooping a bit. I dress to hide my flaws, but I am not the woman I was twenty years ago, or ten, or five. However, I am always amazed by my image in this magical mirror. I don’t look skinny, but I don’t look fat. I don’t look young, but I don’t look old. I really look like the best version of me in that mirror. It might be the light, it might be the mirror or…maybe I really look like that? Is it bad to think that I really look like that? Is it bad to think that maybe the mean mirror in my bedroom is the flawed one and what other’s see when I walk around is the work bathroom mirror lady?
My new sunglasses have a rose tint. They are cute sunglasses, and I do love wearing sunglasses. My contacts stay dirt free, my sensitive eyes don’t squint, and I have a face that works in sunglasses. (Oh, that last part was so bold. Someone is saying, I’ve seen you in sunglasses and…well….I hate to tell you…) That said, these new sunglasses are extra special because they make the world more beautiful. They have a rose tint, and when I wear these sunglasses the sky is a blue I’ve never seen before. It’s darker and deeper than the normal sky and the contrast of the clouds is beautiful. Any orange or red colored flower or leaf pops with a brightness that is dazzling. The world is bright and different when I wear these sunglasses. It’s not how the world really looks, but it is pretty and it makes me happy. Rose colored glasses really do make the world better.
It’s a slippery slope this false attractive version of the world. Pretty soon I’ll be waltzing into meetings in too-small hot pants and my sunglasses and proclaiming that I am the smartest person in the room. If I appreciate the work mirror me and the brilliant orange flowers offset by the deep blue sky, where does it stop? Or, am I building self awareness appreciating the beauty of the sunglass mirror world, but not accepting it as truth?
Wait a second. I’ve never looked at myself in the work mirror with my sunglasses on! Gasp! What a vision I will be. I need to go plan my outfit appropriately. I need something red or orange….and something sky blue. Maybe hot pants?