As a boy, in the aftermath of outpourings of disapproval from my father, I would find myself staring into the bathroom mirror. Concentrating on the picture in front of me it began to look distorted, the way most any word recited over and over again loses it’s meaning. I became repulsed by my own reflection. I decided this was the image my father saw and why my presence sickened him.
As a young adult my quest for perfection continued. I found myself becoming addicted to social approval. My self- image was constantly changing, always overemphasizing what I considered imperfections. Showing a different face to everyone; not a representation of who my authentic self was but who I thought they wanted me to be.
Disapproval not only hurt it also continued to be a sure sign something was wrong with me. As much as being judged hurt I found myself being most judgmental of others. That “feeling” of harsh disapproval was returned with similar harshness. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one dissatisfied with their reflection?
Only after I began to embrace what was unique in me, did I become stronger. The need for approval began to disappear. My judgment turned to acceptance. And as I revealed my journey with each Farm Story my shame was replaced with a newfound sense of worth.
Today I’m not always pleased when looking in the mirror. Yet, on occasion I’ll smile wondering exactly when this much older man arrived.
And sometimes when I least expect it.
I’ll see that little boy from the Midwest, still desperate for perfection- Smiling back at me.