Mirror, mirror on the wall…


by Victoria Gray

The person inside my head has never matched the person I see in the mirror and it’s intensely frustrating.

The person inside my head is intelligent, fiercely independent, and strong both mentally and physically.

In reality, I question my own intelligence many times a day. I feel like I have no idea what’s going on or what to do or how to do it. How am I in charge of anything? Where are the adults? Oh, that’s me, right… sh*t.

I’m winging everything. Google is my best friend.

How do I make a KPI, what is a KPI? How do I do a thing in Photoshop? How do I get a bloody grass stain out of a dress? How do I knit a toque? What’s the best and easiest way to design a logo/webpage/business card? How do I change a tire, unclog the bathtub? Oh, that’s why you don’t put hair down that one. Why is my car making that noise?

Google knows all.

I have no idea how my parents did anything in a pre-Google age. I’m so confused about everything.

All. The. Time. But the person I envision has it all together.

She’s not drowning in laundry that needs to be folded, she’s not yelling at her daughter for no reason, and she’s not crippled by the crushing weight of her responsibilities.

She certainly doesn’t feel guilty about failing at adulting because she’s not.

She’s killing it and she knows it.

She’s beautiful and confident, but when I look in the mirror I don’t see her.

I see weakness, imperfection, and anything other than beauty.

So, why are we so far apart? We are one and the same, but so fractured.

Is this normal? Does everyone feel this way?

Maybe my expectations of myself are too high.

Maybe it’s OK not to have all the answers.

Maybe it’s OK not to be a Pinterest mom, a beauty queen, a feminist rebel who enjoys exercise.

Every stage of life feels like the most difficult experience and like no one understands what you’re going through.

I think we are all going through things we don’t even understand. I think we need to be kinder to ourselves and to the people around us because nobody really has any idea what they are doing or how to do it. If you do, kudos to you, but I don’t buy it.

We’re just doing the best we can. We are all just trying to mirror the cool kid in our heads while managing society’s expectations and all the terrible things life throws at us.

The bad news is, it doesn’t get easier to put those people together.

I think it gets harder.

When you’re young there are so many frames of reference to define yourself against.

You can define yourself by your education and the stereotypes that go with it, but as you get older and your role changes; as you get laid off, hired, and moved here and there, you don’t trust it as much.

I was a newspaper reporter, then a crime reporter, a wife, a mother, a municipal affairs reporter, an editor … a mentor?

More fractured.

Staying grounded and keeping it all together is a lifelong struggle that everyone is going through.

Be kind and take comfort in the fact that the struggle is real and we are all facing it in different ways.

No matter what stage of life we are in, we are all struggling to make all the pieces fit.

You’re not alone.

Talk about it, ask questions, or just Google it.

Google knows how to make life work, right?