Wondering: A Reflection / A Refraction

Wondering A Reflection A Refraction

Why is it that our reflection in the mirror is not what others see?

Wondering: A Reflection / A Refraction

by Hilary Zayed


An excerpt from Hilary’s book “Reinventing Oneself After Loss.

Have you lost your self?

Why is it that our reflection of our self in the mirror is not what others

see? I see a little less color, an imperfect smile, a drabby look,

while others see me as colorful, beautiful and full of life. I hear

it all the time, “You look great”!

I cannot open my head to reveal the injured tissue inside my

skull that makes my life unrecognizable to me. I look at myself

and see someone incapable of safely taking care of myself.

Unable to independently support myself, unsure of what I can

and cannot do, Shaking and crying, the pots and pans banging

inside my brain, I fall limp with my vision closing in. My

refracted, deflected image to the outside world is not my true

reflection. Most of the time I am okay with “You look great” as

I hear the un-uttered words “for someone who says they have

so many problems.”

I have a choice. I can reflect, “thank you” or I can refract

“You only get to see me when I am well enough to be out and

about.” But they always leave wondering.

One response to “Wondering: A Reflection / A Refraction”

  1. Hilary says:

    Wondering: A Reflection / A Refraction
    From Reinventing Oneself After Loss, An Artful Insight
    page 11 A Reflection / A Refraction
    The following blog post is an opportunity to look at your own journey by looking at the art, reading the prose and think about or journal the following:

    The picture shows a girl looking into the mirror. She sees something different than what other people are telling her they see.
    Has anyone ever said to you, “You look great!”?

    The challenges I have of living with a hidden disability makes me feel:

    In my journey, I have had to learn that it is the other persons’ perception, not mine. I can attempt to educate them and know that I need to advocate for myself as I know my truth.

    The following quote echoes what I have heard experienced by many people after brain injury:
    “…one of the major problems faced by people who have hidden disabilities is that often other people don’t see the disability and often don’t believe them. Frequently we are told that we don’t seem disabled. For many people they feel that the foremost discrimination anyone faces is to be disbelieved. Hidden disabilities can also cause difficulties because of the attitude of others due to fear or ignorance as people fear what they do not know or understand or what they cannot see.” (Preliminary report Compiled by Stephen Brookes, Rachel Broady and Lena Calvert. National Union of Journalists, Disabled Members Council 2008, United Kingdom)

    What part of you is invisible to others unless you share with them?

    When you share your invisible struggles what kind of responses do you get?

    A gentle reminder: The spiraling in and out of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance can be part of the wounded life of loss but does not have to control our spirited attitude of creating our newly reinvented life and the hope of what may come.

    List 3 things I know to be true about myself that are good attributes: (ex. I am a good listener)

    AFFIRMATION
    I know myself, my needs and my truth.

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