Foreign Lands

free-printable-map-of-usa-colorSomehow sitting in a coffee shop in a foreign land is making me feel all creative and stuff. Perhaps foreign is not the correct word… I am still in the U.S. after all. I am just used to the southern part, and now I am up near Canada.

I am certainly not well traveled. I do not enjoy flying, and tend to get overwhelmed in new places. I can never figure out where I am supposed to be, and how to get around. It really all comes down to my lack of confidence- again! This is the recurring theme of my life.

I find myself feeling like I am not enough so often. I am not funny enough to be the funny one. I am not thin enough to be the pretty one. I am not smart enough to be the smart one. Everything boils down to the question of enough. What does that even mean? I have always struggled with this. Maybe it is my insistence in categorizing everything in my life. Especially people. Everyone has to have a label and a role. It gets so confusing, especially when most people are so much more than their label.

I am part of the problem. Our society insists on giving people titles, and then placing expectations on them to conform to their role. It is all so limiting. How do you project an air of professionalism, while still maintaining your quirky sense of style? How far can you push the boundaries? Why do you have to stick to the normal shades of hair color? Can I sneak a bright blue or red stripe in there somewhere?

The problem for me is that it is imperative that my patients trust me. Otherwise, they will not be satisfied with my diagnosis and prescription for care. As much as I like tattoos and piercings, I do not necessarily want a doctor with a huge neck tat. I am not sure I would trust him. This helps me justify ignoring my desire for brightly hued tresses. I have to be professional.

I am part of the problem. I find myself wanting to hide my imperfections, and joining the masses in celebrating the airbrushed ideal of beauty. I can tell you that you are beautiful all day long, and yet I cannot feel it for myself.

The problem for me is that I own a magnifying mirror- with lights. Not only can I blow up my imperfections, I can shine a spot light on them. No one is staring at my face through a magnifying glass (and if they tried, I would like to think I would punch them squarely in the throat.) Why do I insist on judging myself through such a harsh lens? Maybe I should use a filter, like the one I judge the other people I love through.

So, as I sit here in a foreign land, after I was relegated to my morning routine without a magnifying mirror, I realize that I was not feeling ugly when I walked out of the hotel this morning. I felt excited. I was looking forward to my adventures. I wonder if I can start having this experience even when I am at home. Maybe I need to chuck the magnifying mirror out the window. Give myself a chance to see me- like others see me.