All Out Of Ink

September 4, 2011

Reflections of Myself (or, Staying Inspired)

Filed under: Inspiration,Pieces of Life,Writer's Block — Laynie @ 12:34 am

Lately, when I manage to blog or journal about writing, I spend most of my time exploring the idea of maintaining my inspiration or further defining autonomy in the course of life as I live it. Day after day, I pursue good things for my family. I arrange our lives so they compliment and cooperate with one another. Logistics of a household, wellbeing of each family member… these and similar pursuits consume most of my time and concentration.

Tonight, I read a wonderful blog by Tim Floyd on his blog Life Aperture about eyes, and I began thinking about one morning about four years ago when I looked in the mirror.

Life events had carried me far away from what I’d grown up believing I would one day become. I knew I was missing essential parts of myself, and I was sad they were gone. But one day, something happened when I walked by a mirror. I was a visitor in the home, so it wasn’t a mirror I was accustomed to using. Was that the reason it looked unusual? Was it the transition of my life what allowed me to see something different? Whatever it was, the result was stunning.

I was in the middle of a phone call, discussing my uncertain plans for the future, and the image took my breath away. My friend’s voice faded into the background, asking if I was still there, but my mind had shifted from the conversation to what was before me.

My fingers touched my face. “I have my mother’s cheekbones,” I nearly whispered. “And my father’s eyes in a different shade.” I turned, noticing the profile of my nose, the shape of my ears, the contour of my lips. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of my appearance. For that moment, I found myself beautiful. You could say my eyes were opened to something that had been right in front of my face (or more accurately, right on my face) but that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

The night of my eighth grade graduation, I looked at myself that way, searching my own eyes and looking at the precursor to what the grown-up me would look like. And now, with the grown-up me in the mirror, I could say to that child, “You’ll be proud of the person you will become.”

Through your eyes, your body swallows everything around you, takes it in and turns it upsidedown. Your thoughts arrange themselves in and around it, turn it another direction, and it changes you from the inside. You come to contain something you didn’t previously possess. Now, it’s something you can offer. You take your pen and that’s exactly what you do. You offer it.

You offer it in verse. You offer it in memoir. You offer in in fiction. You offer it in a journal or a letter. Let your eyes swallow something today. Let them see something they’ve never seen before in the common sights of your normal day. Let them swallow something new in the midst of all that doesn’t change. Look at the pattern of your dishes as a stranger would, someone who has never seen them before. Notice the glare of the sun through the windshield and how you squint in the light, see the way the color of the road changes with that light on it. Or in a moment when you happen to be near a mirror, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, setting something on the dresser, look at your own eyes. Swallow a bit of yourself as if you were not you. Let the beauty in. When you turn away, you will contain a small part of yourself that wasn’t yours before. Now you can offer it.

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