‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?’
(Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
I look in the mirror and stare at the face before me. Fine lines dart from the green eyes that still sparkle, the youthful dew that once graced it, is slowly fading, rosey cheeks paler and softer. Cascading hair still falls past my shoulders but lost is its fullness, ribbons of silver threaded through the gold.
I look down to my body, that carry the marks of life. Each has a story to tell, a map like a constellation of stars. There is more of me than there used to be, and once strong, lean, limbs, are softer and showing the passing of days, months and years.
However, this is no magic mirror before me, there are no reassurances for the image that it reflects. I feel doubt creeping in. I know I’m more than a reflection, but still I struggle with the changes before me.
I find my new skin uncomfortable, I feel like a stranger peering out of faded windows. For inside I feel the same, yes a little wiser, life having broken me in ways, but still I feel like a young girl. Vulnerability and sensitivity still reside with me. I’ve always had flaws. A nose a little to pointy, a birthmark that mottles my leg that reminds me of my journey into this world.
I’ve never considered myself beautiful, the fairest of them all, not like I see in others, but I’ve sought to make the best of what nature has given me, enhancing where I can. I think back to days where I didn’t realise the wonder of being young, when appreciation for myself was hidden and stunted. Oh how I wish I had celebrated in the bloom of youth. That I had not let fear or doubt cast a darkness over me.
I realise that I am in the change of seasons, I feel like my autumn is coming. I wonder what this change will bring, what will be be my new identity?
Loss of fertility draws closer. I wonder what will this mean. My summer has been filled with children and caring, with losing who I am in the needs of others, and trying to heal and find my way again. Yet now my nest is feeling empty, my little birds are taking to flight and it’s time to think about what awaits me now. My world has been loving others, with little regard for myself. I now must find a new way, a new path, where this leads I do not yet know. When you have given so much your somehow left behind. I wonder now who I am and what journey awaits me. I know my heart is full or gratitude for the gifts my little birds have brought me. Yet the loss of no longer bringing life again into the world feels heavy and somber.
Am I the fairest of them all?
With youth there is also attraction, desire, and the excitement that it brings, a secret power that comes from deep within, a fire that stirs awaiting to be woken. I feel my allure fading, quietening as the years pass, another part of me that I have taken for granted. Will I still be someone’s desire, able to quicken their heart while it clouds their eyes? I feel unsure of the garments I wrap around me, if I should no longer allow my hair to kiss my waist, my veil, my security. Where before I allowed my body to be admired, I now seek to hide it, unsure, uncertain, as it casts a new shadow. It feels unfamiliar to me, limited and tired, aching visiting me in the dead of night.
So I face another transformation, like many women before me. To tread in steps faced by others, set by nature as part of the cycles of life. I feel like I have eaten my poison apple and feel in a slumber awaiting for life to revive me again. I must find a new love, that will awaken me with its kiss. A new me that has new purpose, new adventures. I want to stop the decay befalling me, stop life from slowing down. I want to live and feel the warmth of the sun again. I wish I could stop the grains of time slipping through my fingers, there is so much I still yet want to savour yet they seem to fall oh so quickly. I still want to feel passion and fire, to experience love, to be needed and adored.
Yet I have found my wings, a gift, with the help of others and now I need to fly, to soar and find a place that’s mine. To embrace the time ahead and to not lose sense of my worth, my belonging. I need to trust in the love of those around me, the belief that they hold my heart as precious. To remember that little birds may fly away but always know where their home is.
I don’t need a magic mirror to tell me who I am, nor should I fear my poison apple, because in the end I am the heroin of my story. I must continue to write it, to follow its path, to let nature lead me and be the best that I can, turning each new page and beginning new chapters.
Mirror Mirror on the wall, am I the fairest of them all? No, I never was, I’m still just a girl, trying to find her way, in a forest of wonder, on the path of life. I must accept the changes in me, for they herald new beginnings, bringing new reflections, new life.