There Are No Mirrors in This House

Family GeekMom

boxesWe’ve been here for less than two weeks, and I haven’t really seen myself in that time – though now I am beginning to wonder if it’s been a lot longer. And whether that really has anything to do with the inability to see my reflection.

What I look like can’t have changed, not that quickly, but the desperation I feel, the sense of disconnection that has stemmed from not being able to see myself, bewilders me.

I am not a vain person. Ask anyone. I have never followed fashion trends, I rarely wear shoes, I get my hair cut once every 6-12 months (yes, months, with the occasional self-trim in between). I have no particular sense of style, though I know what I like. I don’t wear makeup often, and the only time I dedicate to my hair is to colour it and run a brush through it on a regular basis.

So it’s not really about my reflection, not about the way I physically look. I can’t seem to see myself because there isn’t anyone here to remind me who I am.

Six weeks ago my husband landed a job so fantastic that it hadn’t even featured in his dreams because he didn’t know he could dream quite that big. We came here, to this new city, because he wanted bigger, better things for our family – a rewarding career for him, a more culturally diverse lifestyle for our children, access to all the potential that comes with being near a creative hub for me.

I came here because he asks for very little, and this was one of those great needs, and I love him enough to trust that he has the best interests of our whole family in mind, even if I am scared, or filled with grief over leaving the places and other people that I love.

Everything between then and now is a bit of a blur. There was a lot of denial (mine, of course). A lot of decluttering. A lot of thinking-about-packing-but-not-really. Plenty of driving, browsing for houses, open homes, and dealing with lawyers and banks and real estate agents.

And now we’re here, and everything is unpacked, and he is working, and the kids are feeling settled and I am… Well, to be honest, I don’t know what I am.

I don’t know who I am. It feels like so many pieces of who I was have been devoured by the monster that is moving. It has left me rudderless, yearning for someone, something to anchor me.

Who am I? Do I still exist?

What I am coming to realize though is that it’s easy to rely on others to tell me who I am. If I do certain things, tick certain boxes, I can attain titles that make me feel like a valuable person – mother, wife, volunteer, superwoman. In removing myself from my home, I have become mirrorless, and am forced to stop seeing reflections of myself. I can no longer use other people to define who I am. This is terrifying.

This is liberating.

Because I am the only one who can define me now, and my value can no longer be defined in terms of my usefulness to others, or in the ways that they see me. This is something I have struggled with for so very long. I can feel this raw thrum of energy slowly beginning to beat inside me. It is new life, it is choice, it is wild and chaotic and exciting.

This. This is who I am.

Fierce mother, creator. Lover, sister, daughter. I am compassionate, and brave, and strong and vulnerable. And I am these things because I claim them. Not because anyone else is here to tell me that it’s so.

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5 thoughts on “There Are No Mirrors in This House

  1. I don’t want to go as far as “A Man” but I do sort of feel like this is a really unusual post for the Geek Dad/Geek Mom site. A contributor with only one other article posting something that feels much more personal blog specific than any sort of pop-culture/parenting/general nerdery seems really out of place here.

    Is there a connection I’m missing? I’m certainly not the content manager here, but this post does leave me wondering why this content is here. There’s no preamble to let us know who this contributor is or what the story is, with only one other (fairly uninteresting) contribution from 9 months ago that gives us no insight as to anything that’s said here I’m sort of at a loss for it’s purpose on this site. Is this filler? Is this a writing prompt? It’s not a review, it’s not particularly informative, however it’s not poorly written either, it’s not a *bad* post for someone’s personal blog, it just feels like it doesn’t belong here.

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way. However, I think what’s interesting is that in response to an article about not needing others to define an identity, you have decided to gatekeep what GeekMom/GeekDad/the author’s idientity should be.

      You are acting as the mirror here – telling people who write or who publish what they should be.

      “Geek” is defined as being passionate about something. A mom or dad is defined as someone who has a family. Obviously, the author is deeply passionate about her family. That right there makes her content geeky and about parenting.

      I find it fascinating that you found this piece so uninteresting that you read to the end and then decided to tell us all how uninteresting it was. That seems an awful lot of effort for something you didn’t find worthy of your time.

  2. It’s strange and insightful when we find ourselves in unusual circumstances in a world that on the surface seems otherwise normal. Almost like the start of many a story, sci fi, fantasy, and otherwise. You wouldn’t think the simple act of not having mirrors would cause such introspection, but obviously it does. It’s the kind of thing Buffy or Mulder might consider (though with a more supernatural cause, no doubt). Curious exercise to consider how I might react. Thanks for the food for thought.

  3. Having moved around A LOT, I found this article totally relatable! We are not supposed to be defined by our environments, and yet they are the perfect opportunities to redefine ourselves. I think these feelings are emphasised even more so when you are a geek or a creative type; our deep passion for things that may not always be mainstream. And we need to rediscover how that deep passion fits in the new environment, without losing sight of who we were to begin with.

    Start at the library. I always start at the library. 🙂

    1. We signed up at the library on the same day we picked up the keys for the new house – we were borrowing books four days before we actually moved in! #librarygeeksftw

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