By Simon Heywood
“I wonder if we can ever see ourselves for who we truly are.” I heard this from someone, somewhere once, and I decided to put a more lyrical spin on it. This line holds true, because for most of our lives, if not all of it, we live in the different spotlights of many different people. The perspectives people have of us vary, and sometimes how one person views us can affect how we see ourselves too. So, do we, as the people who actually have the right to judge ourselves, ever get to see ourselves for who we truly are, or is our own, true, self-image tainted by others?
This next section should not be a surprise to any of you. The title of this poem was inspired by Gabbie Hanna’s EP title, “2WAYMIRROR”, and the poem cover art was also inspired by the EP’s cover art (fog on mirror, writing on mirror). However, I decided to take a Mulan‘s “Reflection” theme to the poem.
All my life, I’ve always been criticized for showing my true colors, for expressing any emotions, and for not having that ideal athletic masculine body and posture that from a very young age, I developed many insecurities. It was like I was taught to hate myself. Well, from that young age, I incoherently asked myself, if I was taught it, couldn’t I teach myself something else? To see myself with the innocence that I one had before I had these insecurities?
I still ask myself that to this day. As I kept growing physically and maybe a little mentally, my insecurities grew too. They became more intense and took on many forms. My body image issues became the dark envy of those who had perfect bodies, and my insecurities around being annoying and unlikable (I mean, I even found myself to be severely distasteful), not being anyone’s best friend, made me feel intensely jealous of the warm and strong bonds people shared with others, especially being a satellite to many people’s romantic relationships.
Insecurities that grow into dark jealousy can get the best of you. It got the best of me, and it caused me to psychologically hurt a lot of people. I pushed a lot of people away and released the one thing I saw myself as; a dark, unlovable person. That caused me to experience in full how deep my abandonment issues were, because a lot of people left me because of what I had done.
This poem essentially echoes all of these statements. How I saw myself, and how I see myself, is it really who I truly am, underneath all the masks and armor? I can look in the mirror all day, and what those in my life see me as, this person who radiates positivity, I just don’t see it, because all I see is my own inner darkness. And it doesn’t feel like it’s just on the inside. It’s as if all I am inside and out is darkness, and all I can see is everything dark I’ve ever felt and thought. Sometimes people try to help by showing me a mirror, but all it reflects is what my mirror always shows; my darkness. It always seems to go back to how I feel that everything I touch, everything I get involved with, becomes poisoned and decays and turns to dust.
All my poems are dark and sad, but this one is one of my darkest, because even though I’ve been through a lot with strained family relationships, one of the most strained relationships in my life is the relationship I have with myself. However, I write poems like these not just to excise my emotions, but to also send a message.
With a poem like this, and now an article to explain it, I want my audience to absorb this message: try to never let someone’s perception of you become your perception. Especially if how they view you is in a negative light. If someone thinks of you negatively, “[you] fight the hell back and say ‘no, this is who I am,'” as Once Upon A Time‘s Emma Swan said. Deep down, under all your damage, armor, and darkness, there is a light that is waiting to be shone. That light is who you truly are and once you connect to it, no one can bring you down. No one can take your brilliance and beauty away from you.
Mirror is out on my Instagram. I release poems weekly on IG, so turn my post notifications on there to be in the loop!