When I was a junior in high school, I enrolled in what is still one of the hardest classes I have ever taken in my life: AP Chemistry. Thankfully, I had a wonderful teacher and plenty of friends also enduring the same hardships that I could study with before tests. My biggest takeaway from that class, interestingly enough, had nothing to do with Chemistry. In total, I took three Chemistry classes with the same teacher and the similar group of classmates. Sometime during this, we reached a unit on the structures of atoms and bonds. My teacher suggested that we should draw the structures on our bathroom mirrors at home so that we could look at them every day and remember them. I did, and the trick worked wonders throughout the rest of my short-lived Chemistry career.
And it carries over.
The last post I wrote concerned itself with “dropping the ball” on your life and figuring out how to pick the ball back up. This week is the start of Valentine’s celebrations, and for some of us, it’s like our demons have decked themselves out in pink and are spending their time pelting us with carnation petals. There are weeks like this that seem pre-tabbed as breeding grounds for negative self-feedback. It feels like we can’t do anything right; our demons switch to throwing rose petals in spite. “Dropping the ball” seems like a farce for how negative life seems.
What do you do when you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror?
I came into possession of new dry-erase markers, and I decided to quite literally change the mirror that reflected the me that shows her tired face when I feel less than myself. Sometimes it’s drawings, sometimes it’s stream of consciousness writing. Today, it’s quotes from a few of my favorite books.
Blue: “Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.” - Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Pink: “Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?” - The Help by Kathryn Stockett
If you can’t stand what you see in the mirror, change the mirror in the ways that you can. Then, since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, go tell your demons you never liked roses anyway.
Green: “I had expected the well to be full for some reason. / Not that it had ever been before. / I kept looking for signs of water in the dark insides. / I heard my bucket clank as it hit / Against the walls that held nothing. / I look at the bucket that came up empty / And made a decision that changed my life. / I will keep my bucket and find another well.” - Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer