Accepting The woman In The Mirror (Part II)

When I wrote the first two parts of this series back in December 2019 and this past June (click HERE and HERE) I had no intention of writing a sequel. The project began in 2018 as a very private project and part of a psychotherapy assignment to overcome the skewed self-perception and stop seeing only the accumulated surgeries staring back at me. Up until very recently, I considered myself a living version of cut-and-paste, with different parts of my body having been used for the reconstruction of my face. It has been a long road of accepting the image in the mirror after years being treated as a medical case, being bullied for my imperfections, so I hid – using mirrors for the minimum time possible, avoiding being photographed alone, and shunned the concept of selfies with a passion. It didn’t help that I was also raised with the concept that vanity is a sin.

There are a lot of factors that contributed to this project, both positive and negative, but the long and short of it is that I had enough of this self-deprecation. As I dealt with and began banishing my individual demons with the brilliant and compassionate guidance of my therapist, I found the courage to look closer and renew a long-lost friendship with myself. Maybe it is a combination of menopause, abuse, depression that drove me to the brink, but love brought me back – self-love and the loving, unconditional friendship of those who kept me going, encouraging me to come out of my hell. Special thanks go to my daughter Maike, MJS in the UK and IOE in Spain.

Up to now I have shared the photographs discretely as profile images, without making much of a fuss about them. Those of you who have noticed a sudden frequency of profile picture changes on Facebook, WhatsApp or instagram might have wondered, so now you know. Yes, it is a flirt with vanity, but also a huge step forward in an unprecedented healing process. For the first time in 53 years I no longer see the surgeries staring back at me, and I wear the scars with pride. Today I take this project to another level, and share them as portraits for the first time. No more hiding.

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