Mirror, Mirror


I’m thinking of breaking all the mirrors in my house. Maybe all the screens, too. Heck, maybe I’ll just leave the house, and the town, and society. I’ll never measure up anyway.

At least, that’s what they tell me. Tell us. Because it’s the same message they’re giving you. Giving everyone. Probably even themselves. Possibly mostly themselves.

No matter what, we will never be “enough.” Not smart enough, pretty enough, fun enough, serious enough. For years, women have been told to worry about whether their butt was too big, and men, whether their belly was too round. That they had to pick clothes that emphasized a shapely-but-not-too-wide-at-the-hips figure. Now, thanks to idiotic media focus on things like the Kardashians’ anatomy, we’re supposed to worry that our butts aren’t big enough.

Don’t even mention breasts. There’s still plenty of film – digital, video, or still – dedicated to cleavage, and I have had to resign myself to the fact that no amount of padded-ultra-push-up-underwire-lift is ever going to make me look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Now, however, there is a budding androgyny fad – it is apparently considered “hot” to keep people guessing as to whether you are a male or a female. At least, that’s what they’re selling, and I know a few people who are buying. Alas, lack of cleavage and all, I can’t pull this off either.

Too short to be a model; my hips are too wide, yet my butt’s not big enough; my boobs are too small, cleavage too lacking, too much curve to be androgynous, too much thigh, not enough gap, waist too small but abdomen not flat enough, skin too pale but not translucent, hair to thin/too colored/too straight/too wavy…

Oh, what’s that you say? It’s not how one looks that matters? Okay…I’m supposed to be smart, and understand things without being told, and able to keep track of all sorts of things. I’m supposed to be sweet, and edgy, and independent, and needy. I’m supposed to think Rhonda Rousey is amazing, try to emulate Marie Curie and Oprah Winfrey, and know quotes from Talladega Nights, Gandhi, and Winston Churchill. My talents should include cooking, riding motorcycles/4-wheelers/snow machines, snowboarding, fishing, cleaning game, dancing, cheerleading, getting along with a guy’s friends, and maintaining my own friendships and interests so I don’t become boring or clingy. I must be fun, and funny, available for sex, skilled in the bedroom but not too experienced (read: slut), and give a damn good blow job. (Sorry, ladies, but this is a factor in many romantic comedies, male conversation, smut magazines, and, let’s face it, men’s fantasies.)

Not that the men have it a whole lot easier. I mean, think about it – in general, women want a man who is attractive, in good physical shape, intelligent (but not Sheldon-Cooper-awkward), socially competent, kind, considerate, financially stable (preferably financially well-off), emotionally balanced, spontaneous, dependable, protective, supportive, funny, serious, fun, good in bed, eager to fulfill our own bedroom fantasies, and absolutely dedicated to our happiness. At any moment. No matter our mood. Without being told how. Because they should just know. Intuitively. And because they love us that much. So of course they should understand. What. It. Is. We. Want. Right. This. Moment. Even though we don’t quite know either.

All of these conflicting expectations to live up to. It’s exhausting. And why should I do it? Whatever the goal is, it is always moving. Yes, there are those women who are beautiful, smart, sexy, and funny. I’ve even had my moments when I believe I was some, or all of those things. But even those “perfect” women – even they get picked apart by the media piranhas. And do you think they never cry themselves to sleep? Of course they do. When perfection is the only acceptable standard, yet the definition of perfection is always changing, there is no way for anyone to measure up.

But guess what. I don’t have to measure up. At – dare I say it – over four decades old, I know a few things about myself. I am a decent writer (the present sample notwithstanding), and a useless mechanic. I am an okay cook, a better eater, a terrible gardener, and an even worse builder. I am good with complicated information but have lost most of my math skills. My productive, grown kids say I am a great mom (favorite medal there). I am pretty sometimes, active sometimes, lazy sometimes, ugly sometimes. I am at my most beautiful when loving, laughing, dancing, singing, writing, or on the water. I have an amazing capacity for love and forgiveness. This is who I am, and I don’t have to try to be anything – or anyone – else, regardless of what the media, or anybody, says. I was not created to please them anyway.

And whether or not I have any B.J. skills is none of their – or your – damn business.

-KJ Roe

Author: KJ Roe

Welcome to Dreams of Shadow and Light. My name is KJ Roe. Among my many weaknesses, words, water, and chocolate are eclipsed only by time with loved ones. When I'm not writing, you might find me taking way too many pictures of sunsets or dancing in my kitchen. Words help me find my way through the dark times and to hold onto the bright ones. May you find here a bit of light for your shadows.

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