What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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I am not a pretty girl. But sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I wonder whether I could be. I have big lips - in a Jamaican grandmother sense, rather than the lusty Angelina Jolie variety - and my nose takes up more that it’s fair share of my face. You'll rarely see me wear makeup because a) I'm lazy, and b) I believe paint belongs on the paper. TC says I'm the prettiest girl in the world. I don't see it, but I guess it’s conceivable that I could be attractive. If I put some effort in.

When I look a little closer, I can see the tiny lines creeping out from the depths of my eyes, and escaping from the corners those Jamaican grandmother lips. I can’t remember the last time I was asked for ID and these lines are a sure sign that I can’t pass for 16 anymore. Right now, I’d attribute them to stress. To the hours spent trying to follow everybody else’s dreams, and to the days spent wondering when I’ll finally work out what mine is.

But what strikes me most of all, when I examine the face starring back at me, is the eyes. I have a look about me, one that I encounter everyday amongst the children that I teach. It’s an uneasy mix - desire and passion, combined with a distinct lack of belonging. A glint that suggests I will make my way in the world, countered with the look of a little girl lost, who doesn’t know which path to take yet.

So what do I see when I look in the mirror? Potential. Potential to be pretty, to fulfill my dreams, and to achieve something incredible. Undiscovered, undiluted and untapped potential.
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