Friday, May 2, 2014

Mirror Talk

Several weeks ago a blogging friend, Keith,
asked a thought-provoking question:
"What do you see when you look in the mirror?"

The question prompted some fascinating responses,
and I've been thinking about it a lot since I read the post.

I wrote a quick response;
because, as usual,
I was chasing my tail:
"I see someone who makes me smile."

I've been working on mirror talk.

I read years ago,
maybe in Cosmopolitan, 
that females of all ages 
look at themselves in the mirror 
with harsh eyes.

They go straight to the feature or features
they dislike the most.

For me, it was always about the ears.

The kids called me Dumbo 
when I was little.

My ears stuck out; 
they still do.

<    Me at 10, shortly before heading North
      to Lansdowne House, Ontario

Donnie, Roy, and I
Atholville, New Brunswick, 1956

My parents nicknamed me 
Big Ears,
early on,
supposedly because 
I heard everything.

But I was confused ~
Dad told me stories
about how his mother 
had taped his ears 
to his head
when he was little, 
so they wouldn't stick out so much.

No matter 
how much 
I looked in the mirror
and wished differently,
those big ears 
weren't flattening 
against my head.

I secretly tried Scotch tape.
Well that worked really well!  

I can laugh now.

The article suggested smiling at yourself in the mirror
and focusing on what you liked about yourself.
I tried, I really did!

But it wasn't until Arwen Undómiel 
hit the big screen 
in Lord of the Rings 
that I truly made peace 
with my big ears.

<   Source:  Wikia

               I did make myself look 

               at my sparkly eyes and big smile.
               And I'd tell myself 
               my eyes and smile were beautiful
               (even if I had Dumbo ears).

So when I read Keith's post
I got a wild hair
and started snapping photos
in my bathroom mirror.

Have you tried it?
It isn't easy!

But I kept snapping away
because I was going to do a post
on looking in the mirror.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

I see many things.
But most importantly, I see
someone who makes me smile.

I have what I wanted more than anything else ~
Someone who loves me and accepts me
for exactly who I am, big ears and all.

Since reading Keith's post,
I've come across a number of things
about mirror talk.

In AARP's April 2014 magazine,
Barbara Walters tells an anecdote
about her friend Kitty Carlisle Hart.

Kitty looks in the mirror 
before going to bed and says,
"Kitty, I forgive you."
Source:  AARP The Magazine, p.77

That was powerful to read.
Now I look in the mirror and say,
"Louise, I forgive you."

Silly mistakes or profound,
it's very healing.

As I struggle with writing a memoir,
I learning to forgive myself
by talking to my mirror.

Barb, Me, Bertie, Roy, and Donnie
Fish House, Lac Seul, 1961

Maya Angelou said:
“I don't know if I continue, 
even today, always liking myself. 
But what I learned to do many years ago 
was to forgive myself. 

It is very important for every human being 
to forgive herself or himself 
because if you live, 
you will make mistakes - 
it is inevitable. 

Maya Angelou:  Source ~ Wikimedia

But once you do 
and you see the mistake, 
then you forgive yourself 
and say,

if I'd known better 
I'd have done better,' 
that's all. 

So you say to people 
who you think you may have injured, 
'I'm sorry,' 
and then you say to yourself, 
'I'm sorry.' 

If we all hold on to the mistake, 
we can't see our own glory in the mirror 
because we have the mistake 
between our faces and the mirror; 
we can't see what we're capable of being.

You can ask forgiveness of others, 
but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self.
Source:  Facebook 

Words to take to heart
when you look in the mirror.

See the note in the mirror?

I was so busy taking my picture
that I was late for lunch
(looked right through the note).

Oh, and that email I needed to send 
to my cousin Claire?

From Big Ears
to Broken Hearts,
I'm doing a lot of self talk and forgiveness
when I look in the mirror!

Source:  You Tube ~ quebecfoxtrot

If you'd like to see Keith's post,
here's a link to his blog 
Musings of an Unapologetic Dreamer.


  1. What a great post!
    I didn't see notice your ears!.. just saw a pretty face
    The pictures of you growing up are lovely. It's an interesting question you pose, one which I will now ask myself honestly. I know I see faults
    I like passenger.. nice song!

    1. Oh thank you, Dawna! I treasure the family pictures. I see the people we were, and I see the amazing people we have all become ~ Out of so little with much love. I only discovered Passenger a few months ago, but I am such a fan. There were more polished performances of DITD by Passenger on You Tube, but this version really spoke to me. Have a great wwkend!

  2. Wonderful post, and you look lovely in all the photos! I didn't notice your ears, I was too busy looking at your eyes and beautiful smile. :)

    1. You're so sweet, Linda! Always affirming! Have a lovely weekend!

  3. What a fabulous post, Louise. Why is it we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves. We hang on to those old memories of a bad time and haul it out every sleepless night. I loved the Maya quote. Let's be a little easier on ourselves.

    1. Why is it indeed, Peggy? Those sleepless nights, spinning around and around in bed. Thinking of those we hurt, of those who hurt us. If only I had done this, or done that. But, in the end, my circular path led me right to where I longed to be. Easier, kinder, gentler. That's what we all need to be to ourselves and others. Have a happy weekend!

  4. That is all you need indeed, that one person at your feed, Scotch tape you say, wow you really went all out on them at your bay lol

    1. Hey, Pat! You're awesome, you know! Always lifting my spirits! Have a great weekend!

  5. Louise I love that you see someone who makes you smile when you look in the mirror. And I think that it's awesome that you have someone who lovers and respects you for who you are. That makes life grand. I also found the story about Kitty Carlisle Hart very interesting. I never thought about looking ourselves in the mirror and saying "I forgive you" but it's very thought-provoking. You made me think this morning. Thank you :) have a great weekend!

    1. Hey Keith! Somehow my reply to you ended up below! LOL!

  6. I think everyone has a personal trait of themselves they despise, yet the only ones who really take it personally is the individual.

    1. Hey Adam! You somehow hopped right between Keith's comment and my reply! Computers are a mystery to me! Wise words from you, for sure! Most of the time others don't even notice those "flaws" that one takes so personally! Have a great weekend!

  7. Yay, Keith! The teacher in me can't help but be happy when someone thinks!! And thank you for the kind words! Sometimes people call me Lucky Louise, and I do feel like a Lucky Louise a lot of the time. When I look at humanity throughout its long struggle to get to where we are today, I feel like I'm one of the luckiest people ever ~ especially for a female! To be alive is amazing, and the tough times only make the smooth times even better! Enjoy this lovely May weekend.

  8. A very kind and life-affirming post. I too have ears that stick out and welcomed longer hair styles for men in the 1960s, in part, for that reason. But, you know, time helps and I am now a boy in his mid-60s and wear my hair short again. I did try "mirror talk", looked at my reflection and said, "Kitty, I forgive you." No improvement. Please advise.

    1. Hi Geo.! Thank you for such a kind comment. I loved long hair on the guys in the 60s. I felt that it made them look more romantic ~ a la Justin Hayward in the Moody Blues! My husband has gone to short hair again too. His is so short that he looks like he just started at a Marine Bootcamp. But I say whatever works!

      You have such a sense of humor, Geo.. Your Kitty remark had me laughing! I'm still chuckling! But perhaps you are accidentally on to something. Maybe when I think of someone who has hurt me in the past, I should forgive them in the mirror too. It might help me!
      I hope that you are looking forward to a great week!

  9. Geez, you're pretty!
    When I look in the mirror, I see an old hag. I'll look tomorrow with a kinder heart and try to see something more.

    1. Hi Terry!
      I just know if you look into the mirror you are going to see a strong, compassionate, survivor with amazing eyes or pretty ears, or a lovely color of skin. It's a rare person indeed who has nothing of strength or beauty in her person.

      I've told myself on "hag" days in the mirror, "I love you, Louise. You have a great heart. It shines though." And then I smile at myself and remind myself to smile big at others.

      "Make their day," was the fishermen's motto at Pike Place Market in Seattle. And so when I'd go to school, I'd try to give big smiles to as many kiddos as I could. Maybe just a shy little kindie with pink bows on her little shoes. So I'd tell her how cute her little bows were and to have a good day. And she would beam with delight and feel noticed and accepted. Before long my deliberate smiles would need no encouragement on my part and would lift my spirits, and when I looked in the mirror again, I didn't see the hag anymore. It takes practice and an openness to the mirror, but I believe it works!

      Jim (Ocean Breezes) often quotes Pema Chadron, a buddist nun in Nova Scotia. She is actively asking people to be kind and gentle to themselves.

      Please be king and gentle to you in the mirror. From what I know of you so far, I think you are amazing. I missed your blogging voice and eyes so much. I'm so glad that you are back. Happy Sunday!

  10. Hello Fundy!
    Quite a post here too!
    Deep into philosophy these days??
    Well once in while it is indeed very useful!
    Big ears in indian religions mean wisdom!.........
    I wouldn't worry too much then if I were you!!!!
    Now isn't Liv Tyler lovely in that photograph?? You chose it perfectly!
    Many thanks for your kind comment on my blog, it is sooooo sweet!
    Keep well dear friend, enjoy your sunday!

    1. Hi Noushka! Thanks for the information about Indian ears! I should have added a muley to the post because everyone thinks they have such cute ears! Liv Tyler must be one of the loveliest women in the world, and she was perfect as Arwen! Have a happy week, Noushka. I can't wait to see you upcoming photos!

  11. Wonderful post! I don't know how I missed that post on Keith's blog. Sometimes my blog readers don't inform me of new posts, and I miss them.

    Anyhow, I swear I never paid attention to your ears until you mentioned them, and I still don't see an issue. In all the photos of you, I've always noticed your beautiful smile and your smiling eyes! Happiness glows right through you. But we look in the mirror and magnify some feature that we don't like. We are so harsh sometimes, aren't we? Best not to look in the mirror too often, and if we do, we should certainly try being a little kinder!

    1. Thank you, Martha! I miss blogs sometimes, and I kick myself. People put time and effort into their posts and they have meaning for the writers, so I try to stay up on all the perspectives on our world.
      People are endlessly fascinating. And we are all too harsh with ourselves. I have found Mirror Talk to helpful in being a happier, gentler person. Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Think...think...think! You've turned me into Pooh-bear! What a great question. Sadly, I am very critical - I'll need to look deeper, get into the next layer!
    Wouldn't it be fun to be with kids and have them ponder this question?!

    1. Hi Dreaming! This would be a fun exercise to do with kids, especially if you had clear boundaries and expectations. I have, at times, been really critical of myself. It just sends me into a downward spiral going nowhere. So I make myself smile, and then the real smiles start kicking in, and soon I'm genuinely feeling happier and then I don't look so haggish or whatever.

      But I really love the idea of forgiving myself in the mirror. I'm going to work on that. When you really examine yourself you can find much to forgive yourself for. May Angelou's words are such a comfort:
      If I'd known better,
      I'd have done better.'
      Soo powerful!
      Have a happy, warm Sunday!

  13. Hi Louise. A thoughtful post this....looking at one's self in the mirror.
    Sometimes I have done this deliberately and I see someone who has always 'looked' the same. I look directly into my eyes and see the same kid, teenager, man I have always seen......a guy who tends to be somewhat serious most of the time. Oh, and I see that I have aged! Always shocked at mentally I feel pretty much the same as I did all my life. I have always liked myself and still do.
    My Dad's ears were taped back by his mother when he was a kid because they stuck out. Now they are very close to his head! Doesn't look natural!! No wiggle room!! lol Never satisfied I guess.

    1. You are so funny, Jim! No wiggle room!
      When I look in the mirror, I see all kinds of people. I've lived a number of very different lives in this one lifetime, and I see many mes. I'm not sure how to write that me-s?? Louises! Three last names too: MacBeath, Church, and Barbour.
      I see the aging too; but then I think of all the people who have botched up their faces trying to combat aging, and I smile at my wrinkles.
      I am fascinated with the idea that you have always liked yourself, because I have downright disliked myself at times in the past. Not so much anymore though. I'm much happier with me now.
      I'm a serious peep too. Thank God Terry has a downright zany side that comes out unexpectedly at random times. That's why I love the photo of the two of us at Neil's and Jeannie's wedding (big red lips one). It captures that zaniness that pops out of my quiet and gentle guy. at the most unexpected times.
      Have a happy week, Jim!

  14. Hi Louise! I love your post. I've also thought about this several times since reading Keith's post and would love to do a similar post if I ever have some free time to think it over (and take some photos of myself ~ ha!). I do love the photos you took......they made me smile too! :-) XOXO

    1. Hi Audrey! Keith has some awesome posts, doesn't he? I'm sure that he got a lot of people thinking. I'd love to hear what you see in the mirror! Somebody wonderful I hope. An amazing mother and wife. Someone who cares deeply about our world and the living things in it. A great friend. An amazing pet owner. If you need any suggestions I'm happy to make some! Have a great week!

  15. Truly enjoyed your mirror talk .. and your lovely smile :)

    1. Thank you, Glo! You comment has put a big smile on my face right now! It's probably tomorrow where you are, so have a happy, happy new day!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.