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Her eyes look like mine....

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This week, I was assigned a self-portrait as my end of year project. It's a daunting proposition for anyone, I suppose. BUT, for me and those like me, it's a bit terrifying for a couple of reasons:

First, the assignment is to draw myself "with the aid of a mirror, not a picture." Don't get me wrong.....I often look at my body in the mirror....but this assignment is a head shot. It's odd, but the idea of making eye contact with myself in the mirror makes me a little nervous....it makes me wonder who that girl is that's staring back.

Second, as the self-portrait progresses, we must display it and stand beside it for critique. My first critique was, shall we say, telling.

I can't stop my hand from giving myself chipmunk cheeks, double-chins, and quarterback shoulders. My classmates actually thought it was hilarious that I "made myself fat." It was the closest I've come to utter humiliation since I can remember.

The biggest challenge, I think, is going to be actually seeing what's in front of me, instead of allowing my insecurities to end up on my page. And, the biggest problem with this is that I have no idea when I'm doing it. I draw, thinking that I've finally accomplished the task....and I get feedback like, "that girl weighs 300 lbs." My first instinct, to be honest, is to say, "yeah? so do I." On Wednesdays, I weigh in and tell the hubby the weekly verdict.....but the majority of the time, I slip up and report my weight as 270 instead of 170.

I'm foreign to me. I still see myself as clay, if you know what I mean. I'm not "done," yet. I'm not finished. I'm cake batter, not a cake.... The only way I can think of to word my feelings is, "I'm not ME in the mirror, yet," as weird as that sounds. I'm not familiar with that person I look at in the mirror....I'm strangely taken aback by her. Like looking at the funny mirrors at the circus. Her eyes look like mine. She's not real, yet. I don't think of her as permanent, yet. She's a "could be," a "wish," a "mirage."

Strange, isn't it, that I don't recognize myself? I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a random reflection in the mall when I weighed my heaviest....I was horrified that I actually looked like that. Reality hits hard. I hardly recognized myself, then. Seems like I'm pretty good at hiding myself from myself. It's kinda scary to be forced to peel back those protective layers and try to figure out what I really look like. What if I don't like what I see? After all of this?

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I feel for you, lady. Many years ago, I got a full body glimpse of myself in a store window as I walked by and felt so ashamed I wanted to go home. I cried. But then I decided I needed to know it, see it and do something about it. I tried for years. Now, when that same thing happens to me once I am close to goal, and I feel like you do (and I know I will), I will have to do the same thing. I will purpose to look at and find ways to see my whole self, and get to know and like what I see. I wondered if you were an artist just by reading your blog and your posts. Awesome. Keep trying that self portrait even after your assignment is finished until you get her in your heart. Then, you will be taken by her, not just taken aback.

There are a few artists in my family - they think differently than I do and I have learned to love their perspective on issues, and life. So thanks for the post... another facet to see into. :)

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I think that would be a difficult assignment too! You are most definitely more than the sum of your parts, but it might be easier initially to focus on one area at a time when you're sketching rather than trying to see and incorporate all your changes into your mental map at once (hope that makes sense). You can do this and I have no doubts it will be beautiful!

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