The Woman in the Mirror

If you are searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror’- author unknown.

My journey to self-realisation began in front of the bathroom mirror one morning. I know it was morning because I’d just concluded the devotional I did daily right after dropping off my two children at school. Aside from that, an experience that alters your life in the most earth-shattering way imaginable is hardly something you are likely to forget its details in a hurry.

Anyway, it happened long after leaving my uncle’s home, making a life for myself, and getting married. By the way, even though I was well into my thirties by this time, I was still fighting the demons from my childhood: one of which was the fear of looking at my self too closely in the mirror. This morning, I experienced the all-too-familiar fear as I headed to the bathroom to take my bath when I had this feeling that brought me to a complete standstill. It felt like something significant was coming, like a unique visitor was coming. I can’t explain it because even though it did feel like a visitor was coming, at the same time, it was as if the visitor was already there. I can’t even explain it any way other than that. Anyway, the feeling made me stopped suddenly. I remember cocking my head to one side, trying to hold on to the strange feelings so I could understand where it was coming from. As I stood there, this Presence suddenly came over me — like someone threw something over me, but something that wasn’t harmful or negative. Suddenly, it seemed as if I were bathed in a warm, soft halo. This thing penetrated every pore on my body. And then something in my heart began to unfurl. I can only liken it to petals of flowers welcoming the rays of the sun — that’s the closest I knew how to describe as it was happening. Then, as if led by an invisible hand, I’d taken one step forward and then another — until I found myself in front of the bathroom mirror.

Before that day, looking into a mirror was not something I was comfortable doing. Whenever I did so to make up, for example, I use to do it as quickly as possible — and avoided meeting my own eyes. I never dawdled in front of a mirror because I did not like what I saw when I looked too deeply into my eyes. But not that day. As I stood there (compelled by what? I had no idea), it happened. On the one hand, questions that seemed to come from the four corners of the bathroom and at the same time from a place within me danced around my mind. Before I knew what I was doing, I voiced them out at my reflection in the mirror.

What are you so afraid of? I know you are sad, and I know that you are hurting, but why are you avoiding yourself? Look! Look at yourself. What is so terrible about what you are seeing? I understand why you are afraid. But is that a reason to hate her? As for fear itself, isn’t it time you stopped letting it control you? What is the worst that can happen if you stopped fearing? In the same manner, if you continue to let this fear rule over you, what’s the best that can happen? Can any best happen? Your Aunty is long gone from your life and can’t hurt you anymore. Let her out of your head so you can move on. As for the Port Harcourt incident, okay, we will come back to that one.

Now, let’s talk about your marriage, what do you want? To stay married? If yes, why? If you don’t stay married, what’s the worst that can happen to you? If you remain married, are you doing so because you want to visit married or because you believe it’s all you are worth because of what happened to you? So the possibility of the unknown scares you? How does clinging to something that doesn’t function alleviate your fears? Look at you, really look. Don’t you believe you are worth more than this? And if you think you’re worth more, what are you going to do about it?

The questions were like waterfalls. Waves upon waves, they hit me. And I stood there and let them. Eventually, the booming voice in my head ceased. However, its echo continued to clamour at the back of my head — like it was still there, even though it wasn’t there anymore. When I walked away from the mirror to take my bath, I felt like I was me but without actually being me anymore. I was still the old me, but it felt like something had attached itself to me. Something light. Something calming. Something new.

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Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner

FROM FEARFUL TO FIERCE: the true-life story of a woman who was abused, bullied and told she would never amount to anything of worth.