The carnival mirrors of life are a great example of what people use to develop, mold, and shape the norms and values in their lives. The scary part is how twisted those supposed “norms” can lead an individual to believe and see when it comes to their existence. It makes me angry to think that at a time when students, athletes, and even my own nephew, are supposed to learn and develop without hesitancy, they’re constantly surrounded by a maze of misguided carnival reflections, giving them an inaccurate idea of what it is to be “normal.”
As we grow and mature, we’re supposedly given the tools to deal with adversity and hopefully have, at some point in our lives, been given reassurance that whatever circumstances affect your life, we are never considered a mistake. However, in today’s world, most people are not given those coping skills. So, when that optical illusion bends the images you see of yourself, it also bends the reflections you have on your entire life, too.
I may not know you personally, but I’m 100% confident that you aren’t perfect. I’ll play devil’s advocate and also say that I’m also certain there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, not now, not ever. There’s nothing wrong with your face, your personality, or your physical appearance. There’s nothing wrong with your wish to be respected, sought, or treasured. Most importantly, there’s nothing wrong with your character, aims, visions, or what you want to do in this world.
People get a small sense of what you’re like when they first meet you. They then have the opportunity to really invest in knowing who you are if they realize how fantastic your contributions to this life really are. Through the process of not knowing what to do, how to act, how to feel, or whom to turn to, I’ve finally figured out what I’m accurately like in this life; and I’m not afraid to utilize the “what you see is what you get” mentality, regardless of my situation. It’s more important to me to be entirely myself than to be wasting the effort that may be more useful elsewhere, with someone who would demand only part of who I am. I try and think of it this way: it would be impossible to hide the fact that I’m blonde, that I’ve got brown eyes, or that I have feet larger than ski’s. Why should I try to be different or hide how God has made me? If I can’t hide the physical creation, and I won’t listen to the optical illusion’s advice to mold my physical self any longer; I’m definitely not going to try and hide the personality that goes with it, either.
Changing the optical illusion starts with a realization that something in your life is not working. The realization may come from a place inside yourself you never imagined. For some, this insight may reveal itself as inner restlessness; and for others, it may expose itself as total physical collapse. Unfortunately, the majority of us realize changes need to be made by confrontation of our faith, belief or value system, and a war within ourselves that has ravaged our self-esteem and helped piece-together the illusion we now face.
At some point in the time of resetting our reflections and resisting societal illusions, we are faced with a challenging test of grand extents. We actually might have to face something a second time (or multiple times) while trying to figure life out; and the second time may be far more cumbersome. I’ve had to face the same situations a number of times, and I’m sure others have tackled far greater hardships.
What we must look forward to is the light at the end of the tunnel. During the process of recovering after a difficult period, something can become different about us. For instance, in my life, the spirited action I took (and continue to build on) has brought about inner change that some may notice, while others may not. You may not notice the change yourself, but others may tell you they aren’t in agreement with how you now approach life. Never let the positive changes you’ve made to survive be hindered by someone else’s opinion.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I don't care what beliefs people have, how people may view the world, or where they were raised; everyone deserves the respect as a human being, despite the road they’ve traveled. Why? Whether we agree with someone's actions or not, we've no idea what their life is like until we've walked in their shoes. Our opinions are ours and we're most definitely entitled to them; but don't allow those opinions to hinder the existence of someone else. Whether it’s eating disorders, abuse, alcoholism, illness, financial burdens, family conflict, or otherwise; we’ve an obligation to ourselves and those around us, to hold on, even if it’s just for a little while longer.
Facing the intense pain of past trials, inward self-hate, fear of rejection, and undeniable lack of world understanding takes courage of heroic proportions. Yes, despite what some may believe, you are transforming optical illusions when you take care of yourself, when you put yourself first, when you ask for help, and when you take those terrifying steps in soothing your wounds. You, my friend, are transforming falsities each day while you continue to reclaim what you may have lost.
It’s time that we start fighting back; it’s time we realize that we are the society we claim needs changing; after all, we have the chance to shape the direction it goes. Let’s take a brick and shatter the carnival mirrors in our lives and reveal to ourselves that our problems aren’t solely what we see in the reflection. Because as long as we’re thinking about what the world is telling us, or when we continue believing that physical strength, acting a certain way or appearance reflects a winning state, we’ve already lost the opportunity to reclaim what is ours.
“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch-what make you go beyond the norm.” - Cicely Tyson