My reflection has nothing to do with their affection; right?
By Cinse Bonino
Try this: stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Now pretend that your mother is standing right behind you. She is looking over your shoulder at your reflection in the mirror. What does she see? Now pretend that it is your father looking at your reflection. Now your best girlfriend; now some girl you wish you could be better friends with; now a teacher who really seems to like you; now a teacher that drives you crazy; now your boyfriend or the guy you wish was your boyfriend. Now your grandmother. Now your other grandmother. What's going on here? Who are you anyway? Aren't you always the same person? Isn't it always you? Doesn't it make you crazy that different people think different stuff about you?
Well it makes ME crazy. My name is Emily. I think that it's pretty easy for people to see who I am and what I am like. But some people look right at me and still don't see me at all. Like my mother. She really wants me to be smart and to get an education. She would be so happy if I became a lawyer or a doctor or anything that means that I don't need a husband to take care of me. She thinks that it is just fine to get married and have children, but she feels very strongly about having a career first.
I don't mind that she is always telling me how smart I am; I usually do feel smart. I mean, I get good grades and my brain does work just fine, but around my mom, sometimes I feel like an absolute airhead. It isn't that she says that I am stupid or anything. She is just SO intense about being smart. I know that she is proud of my grades and of my projects, but geeez, I wish she would just give it a break.
I wish we could talk about clothes and boys and hair and stuff without her always saying, "All this might be fun, but remember honey, education and independence are what's really important." Doesn't she see that I can be smart and still have fun choosing what color nail polishI like? Is she so worried about me being dependent that she can't see that that's just NOT who I am? Mom sees someone she needs to protect when she looks in the mirror at me. It just isn't so.
Then of course there is my dad. Yes he is also glad that my grades are good. And he thinks that I am beautiful. He'll do just about anything that I ask him to, but he acts like I am still six years old. If he was the one who picked out my birthday present I would probably end up with a doll. I'm glad that he is so sweet to me, but I wish that he would take me seriously. Can't he see that I am growing up? That I have opinions and goals that are not just about how much fun I can have? My dad looks in the mirror with love. I like that a lot, but the love clouds his eyes and shows him the reflection of a little girl. I wish he would get to know the me that I am right now and the me that I am growing to be.
If you'd like to read a great story about a girl who discovers who she really is, who she wants to be, and who she wants to be with after being in a serious car accident, pick up, Peeling The Onion, by Wendy Orr, in your library.
Now Rox my best friend she's totally cool. It's as if she looks right through my eyes when she looks in the mirror. We understand each other so completely. Except of course she thinks that my body is beautiful. I think that it's pretty okay except for my legs which are just too big. Rox says that I am like a sexy earth mother and that all the truly cool boys agree. Of course she feels like the jolly green giant, and I think that her long legs are what I'd really like to get for my birthday. But since I didn't get them for my initial birth day I guess I'll have to learn to live without them.
Don't even get me started on Kathy. Kathy says she is my friend, but she always accuses me of acting like I think that I am better than she is. If she was looking over my shoulder she would see a stuck-up princess. I wonder what's up with that? I'm too self-conscious to be stuck up, and I am definitely NOT princess material. Maybe Kathy is acting like I think that I'm better than she is, because she really thinks I feel that way. Wait a minute; let me get this straight. She treats me differently because of how she thinks I see her? Weird..
Oh no, wait a minute again. I think maybe I do that with my mom and dad. I know I don't tell my mom very much about boys and clothes and my girlfriends, because I think she doesn't want me to care very much about those things. I am afraid that she'll think that I am even more of an airhead unless I talk mostly about schoolwork and current events kind of stuff. And I don't talk about the serious stuff that I am interested in, because it makes me crazy that it is SO important to her. So she never gets to see the real me. I guess it's hard for her to know the real me if I'm not showing her the real me. Major revelation.