“I see you. I know you are here,” Erma assures Sylvia.
“I appreciate that, Erma, but you cannot make me see my own reflection. Only I can do that. And I’m beginning to look for myself which I realize is more important than being seen by anyone else.” ************** When you finally become visible to your own eye, you will not allow yourself to be made to feel invisible by anyone else. *****************
“She stared at her reflection in the glossed shop windows as if to make sure, moment by moment, that she continued to exist.” ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“Hitting Black Friday sales today, Sylvia?” Erma asks her friend, even though she already knows that the two of them made a pact long ago to swear off malls, grocery stores, and shopping of any kind the day after Thanksgiving.
Sylvia, almost choking on her coffee as she entertains the gruesome thought and visualizes the throngs of overzealous consumers, replies, “I stand by the agreement we made long ago, Erma. No shopping on this day. Not even online. I’m offline and out-of-network. Simply being is more than enough today.”
“Just wondering if you needed me to remind you that it will all be there tomorrow. I’ll save you a place in line then if you wish,” Erma assures her.
“Don’t bother. Not this year. Hopefully, you’ll never have to wait and hold my place for me again. I’ll always accompany you, walk alongside you, and then commiserate with you ad nauseum about how stupid we are leaving holiday shopping until December, but you’ll not need to hold a place for me. I’m claiming my own space. Wherever I go, Whatever I do, and whenever I need to remind myself of where and to whom I belong — I’m on my way home and making my own space for anything and everything along the way.”
Erma, beaming at Sylvia’s words of confidence and tone of determination, declares in an equally committed voice, “No sales ever. You own your space, and you paid full-price. So worth it, Syl. So worth it.”
**************** The world belongs to you as much as it does to anyone else. Claim your space.
After weeks, months, and years of caring for others near and far, Sylvia feels more ragged and worn than ever. Luckily and almost intuitively, Erma senses her friend’s need for an ego-boosting, confidence-inspiring, pep talk. So, on this Sunday evening over old-fashioneds because Erma finds the libation tried and true, she shares with Sylvia the secret to embracing the ever-changing topography of the female body and face.
Erma: You see these lines across my face, Syl?
Sylvia: I only see a beautiful, mature woman who has navigated life with grace and aplomb.
Erma: Okay, but seriously, look at me. I’m going to tell you now the key to aging gracefully because you need to be less critical of yourself.
Sylvia: Oh good because I have new wrinkles and lines every single day. I’m thoroughly intrigued and hanging on your every word now.
Erma: Hold the mirror. Look at those creases, that pucker, and even that furrow. Look closely and deeply.
Sylvia: As deeply as that “11” between my eyes?
Erma: Deeper. Now, close your eyes. Can’t you just see your story? Those lines tell your story. You’ve lived. You’re surviving, and you have more story to write.
Sylvia: How do you know, Erma?
Erma: You have some smooth skin left. It’s not over until you’re wearing a complete map!