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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Seeing My Mother in the Mirror

When I was young, I idolized my mother, as many young girls do. I thought she was beautiful (and she was), charming, and vivacious; I was none of those. In fact, I never thought I resembled her in any way. I was quite surprised when my younger sister told me (not long after our mother died) that I looked more like my mother than either of my sisters.
And now that I am getting smaller and less fat, I see the resemblance--and am surprised that I never noticed it before. I've come to believe that I couldn't imagine any similarities between my mother and me, and so couldn't see them.
My mother, Mary E. Ursery
As well, I certainly could never imagine competing with my mother or my older sister in anything--perhaps out of fear, or maybe except in areas (such as school achievement, writing, and mechanical ability) in which they'd shown no interest. I also feared self[-assertion, attractiveness, and sensuality (as is common among those who are sexually abused at an early age). In my mind, however, those were attributes that rightly belonged to other women (especially my mother and older sister) but not me. I think, too, that I somehow believed that the only way I could be attractive would be if I became her--with all of her trauma and danger and pain.
These days, I no longer reject my mother, or our many similarities. I see her when I look at myself in the mirror. I fall into her gait while walking down the street. As she did, I take pleasure in a well-turned phrase and a well-cut garment. I have finally chosen to be myself, including the self I share with her.

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