Mirror, Mirror

The impetus for my recent trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul was two-fold.  A good friend was about to undergo a simple but scary surgery all by herself, and I wanted to be there to support her.  Another friend and I had talked about me “coming up” in January sometime to spend the weekend.  It worked out that I could do both in the same trip.

I’ve been fond of saying lately that I’ve lost my people skills.  I used to be pretty gregarious and easy-going, but since my bipolar blow-up five years ago and the subsequent struggle toward sanity, I seem to be much less tolerant of humankind in general.  Staying in other people’s homes for ten days made me realize that what I’m really uncomfortable with is the view in the mirror.

Those of us who have gone through therapy, or done any spiritual work, or seen Dr. Phil know that when other people irritate us, we’re really just reacting to the same or similar qualities or fears in ourselves.  People act as a mirror to show us what we dislike about ourselves, and where we need to focus our love in order to heal.  Other people don’t piss me off.  I piss me off.

So, I received gift after gift of insight while staying with my friends.  I discovered that my best friends are my cats, and that I really don’t want to bother with anyone else.  I realized that I expect to be catered to, my needs anticipated and planned for through some miraculous act of clairvoyance (so much easier than all that pesky communication crap).  If I don’t have a person’s rapt and undivided attention, I am unloved, unworthy and unimportant.  I’ve gotten so fixed on order and routine that untidiness of any kind feels like a threat to my sanity.  And, perhaps hardest of all, men make me nervous, but I want one.

Holy Hand Mirror, Batman!  No wonder I hole up in my apartment with the covers over my head and a cat in my armpit.  I do not want to see these things about myself, but there they are—hiding in plain sight along with other niggles I’ve yet to translate.  But, this is the nature of the Work.  Look.  See.  Be curious about funny reactions to things and people.  Go deeper.  Look again.

I love and adore my girlfriends who opened their homes to me.  I bless them for tolerating my fussiness as I gazed into their beautiful mirrors.  And I thank them for the gifts, which give me my next bits of Homework.  On the other side of that work will be someone who breathes deeper and is more comfortable in her own skin.  And maybe even a better friend.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kana Tyler
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 17:00:07

    You illuminate your mirror so beautifully… I enjoy interactions with other people–and gathering their stories, whether or not I’m “on assignment”–but it’s such an EFFORT! I always need to go plug myself in (preferably to the cat in the armpit!) and recharge… As for men–when you DO find one who’s as comfortable as an armpit-cat, definitely take him home and keep him. 🙂


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 17:03:07

    Why do these mirrors so distort our reflections? Oh, you mean it’s me?

    Oops—————As you said, “Holy hand mirror, Batman!”



  3. Kitty
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 09:42:33

    This was my LOL Moment in this entry: “perhaps hardest of all, men make me nervous, but I want one.” From where I’m sitting on the bus right now (and you know where this bus has been in the past 5 years!) sometimes the only thing tougher than not having a man… is having one! And having the wrong one is hell on earth. But they sure are bright mirrors (at least for me) and I’ve learned a lot.

    Sounds like your trip was filled with gold! And praise to you for mining the inner gold instead of giving those opportunities away to another. I like the story (which I learned in “side-bar”) about how you got mad at your friend and pranced off to bed… Then she got mad because you went to bed… And the VERY BEST PART… You looked one another in the eye the very next morning over coffee and both said, “Yep, I got mad.” And you went on with your day in joy! No further projection, judgment, wrangling to be right. It doesn’t get any better than that and you two are lucky to have one another!!!

    Have a GOLDEN day!

    The Cat’s Meow!


  4. pegoleg
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 11:00:50

    Love your pictures for this post, and your insight. I’ve never thought about that – that things that bug us in others may be just a reflection of our selves. Must ponder…


  5. littlesundog
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 08:00:32

    This post spoke mountains to me. I have chosen therapy over the years and I do understand that what we find irritating as hell about others, is simply a reflection of our own fears or dislike of ourselves. Daily, I must tell my ego to be quiet and I have to focus on what I am to learn about what I see and feel, and redirect… to create something better. I have a soulmate who helps me find direction and helps me face my fears and hurts… and helps encourage me to create something better! I’m not sure how FD manages with me, as I am often difficult. This is a powerful and well-written post!


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