In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” It’s sayings like this that set women up to compare themselves to each other; just be you, your best unique self. Use the mirror to remind yourself how great you are, how far you have come, and love yourself.

In the past I looked in the mirror and saw a failure. I was a woman clouded by someone else’s false opinion. I have cleaned my mirror. Today, I see a beautiful, strong woman. I am a woman who has many memories that fill me with happiness.

1. Finishing college, with three small children, was a difficult experience. I wanted to be the first woman in my family to graduate college. I did it. It was grueling and exhausting, but I put in the sleepless nights, studying, writing papers, doing presentations and I finished.

2. I raised three independent strong children. They are carving out their own unique space in this world, doing their best to make their space better then when they found it. I know I am a huge part of that.

3. Finishing my children’s book. It took many years and many drafts. I love the finished product.

4. I let go of a man I loved deeply, but he didn’t love me. I know this, because you don’t hurt someone you love. You don’t beat them down. You want to lift them up. Help them to achieve their dreams and believe in themselves.

After several painful years I realized I lost the woman in the mirror. When I looked at my reflection I saw a stranger. I had to go back into the past and find the girl I was at 18. I used her fresh eyes to look at the woman of today. At 18 I didn’t care what others thought of me. I was excited, full of life and compassion. I had a lovely spirit.

I used the energy of this 18 year old girl to transform myself. I began to dance. I love dancing. In dance I am light. I am free. The only person I see in the mirror is me. I am strong, independent, funny, kind, and compassionate. I feel alive. I feel happiness. The energy of joy surges through my body, I can do anything. Dancing is my passion. Dancing across the floor I am light as air. I am a good person full of love and life. I have found my inner peace, inner light and it is here in this mirrored room with clean wood floors where I learn to love me. I finish my dance and look up into the mirror and there I see a smiling, perfectly flawed, woman.

In the next mirror I see Sherri. She is a trail runner and a truly inspirational woman. Sherri is someone I have never met in person, but she has lifted me up through my darkest time. Watch Sherri’s inspiration video here.

You can hear Sherri’s happiness through her laughter. She has found her passion in running. In running she stretches herself physically, mentally and emotionally. I am so proud of you Sherri.

I am running a different kind of marathon then Sherri. My marathon is inside of me. I am running for peace of mind, body and soul. I am forever grateful to the many people cheering me on along this road. Life is a journey, some days I am jogging, other days I am walking. I am learning a lot about myself.

I can juggle, who knew.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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