Uncontrollable Confusion shows in the Mirror

I am lost. I am confused. I am sad. I am alone. I am at a loss as to what I am supposed to be doing with my life. How life even goes on when the one you love has died? These seem to be all emotions I cannot control, rather they are out of control or uncontrollable. These emotions hit me when least expected or when one would think they are expected. Sometimes they do not hit me when I would think they would, which leads to more confusion.

It seems that instead of life getting easier as time goes by, it has gotten harder. It may not actually be harder, it may just seem that way. Especially on days that I am feeling sad and confused. I will probably have many days that are sad for now, so I need to find a way to control how I feel and not be confused and sad. I have no special reason for feeling this way today, at least none I can think of. There is always the chance this is an anniversary of some bad news my husband I received but cannot remember, as there were many days we were given bad news. I made it out the front door and did some grocery shopping as once again there is a chance of snow in the south. At least that I am not confused about, I cannot drive in the snow and I have no control over the weather.

Making it out the front door should make me feel as if I have achieved something, even if it is minor. But it did not. It only made me more confused and not in control. I had a hard time getting out the front door, but pushed myself. Once on the road driving, it felt as if every stop sign, street sign or light were telling me to turn around and go back to the safety of my home. I continued on, with a feeling of dread, not panic, just a feeling as though I were not wanting to be out, that something bad was going to happen. I made sure to go to the two stores I had planned to and when one did not have what I needed I even drove out of my way to another store. Driving home, I noticed the gas tank was half full, ever since my husband had been ill I try to keep the tank full. So, even with the dreadful feeling, I stopped to get gas. This really should have felt like an accomplishment. That I pushed myself to do normal things when I did not feel normal at all. It did not make me feel any better. My guess would be I was not really ready to go out today so that anything I might normally have considered an accomplishment did not feel like one.

I have always been controlling. At least over what I can control. I cannot control panic attacks, but I have learned to manage them. I cannot control whether someone lives or dies, but I have always known that, it is only now harder to accept. There are many things I cannot control, but there are more things I can. By controlling the way I live my life, I can in some ways control the panic, control the circumstances that bring it. But I am talking about a different control in my life. It is more far-reaching and hard to explain. It is this control that is uncontrollable. I do not understand why, but with each day I find myself being further away from the controlled. This is causing confusion. I have been controlling my whole life. To suddenly not be able to control without any reason is where the confusion comes into play. I wondered if I am examining my past too much that it is leading to this feeling, but do not think that is the problem. I need to go through my past in order to be in the present and move towards the future. I think these feelings are coming from something else, but do not know what, that even if my husband were still alive I would be having some of these feelings. Not all of course, just some.

On days when I am sad, such as today I wonder if I will spend the rest of my life grieving. Yes, I used the word grieving, not mourning. I do not like the word and it does not really explain how I feel, but today it seems more fitting. As I mentioned it sounds pitiful, today I felt pitiful. I miss my husband. He will never be back. I have to live with this. I do not know how. I am trying to find out how, but so far, I only feel more alone with each passing day. I know the call from the hospice counselor last week set off new emotions of despair and loneliness. I need to get over these feeling. I need to regain control of my life, as much of it as I can. I need to stop being confused, at least as much as possible. I need to give myself permission to be okay with the fact that I am confused and uncontrollable at times. I also need to be sure that I do not stay in a state of confusion, that though I allow myself to feel that way, I try to get to exactly what is causing it. If I can control it, then I need to. If I cannot control it, I need to find a way to live with it in a calm, accepting way. I have my work cut out for myself. I only hope I am up to doing the work.

Uncertain Insecurities Looking Back at Me from Mirror

 

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I am secure. That is a loaded statement. I am secure about some things. That makes a little more sense. There are things I am certain I am secure about. There are also things I know I am not secure about. My uncertainty and insecurity came into my life three days ago. It involved something I have always been secure about and like to think I still am.

I am a mostly independent woman. I know I can do most things that need to be done myself, that I do not need to count on anyone to do things for me. I can use a chainsaw with skill, as well as shoot a gun with accuracy. I can mow and trim a lawn. Many things people consider a “man’s” job, I know how to do. Growing up, my father did not want me to be dependent on anyone. My mother wanted me to cook and clean, but I think in that area I am not as talented or skilled. I can cook, bake and clean but these skills have never been something I was proud to be able to do. But back to the present. Three days ago I would have said I am an independent woman. What changed? Life. And the weather.

I was watching the news when the weather came on, they were talking of a storm that was going to hit the southeast. We might get snow, some sleet and possibly freezing rain. I already know I do not know how to drive in any of this weather. I learned to drive in the south. It rarely snowed and when it did everything closed down. But in recent years more people from the north have migrated to the south, changing the way businesses operate. Now instead of closing most are open. Some of this is not entirely from people from other areas moving here, some is just a product of progress. At one time the city had only a handful of snowplows, now they have many. Not as many as the north where there is more snow, but they have increased. When my husband was healthy he drove me anywhere I needed to go in the snow. But I have nowhere to go, so I do not need to drive in the snow. I would have liked to run to the grocery store, but I had my chance the day before knowing then there was a possibility of bad weather. When I chose not to walk out the door, I chose to get by on whatever I have here, which to be honest is a lot since it is so hard to walk out the front door to begin with.

My insecurities set in a little later. I remembered last year we had both a snow storm and an ice storm. The ice storm was cruel, it brought down beautiful trees that have stood tall through the years. Power, Internet and cable were out. Even cell phones had problems. My cell phones had no service (I had two), my husband had a different carrier and had service but it was bad due to all the ice. My house has gas logs so we were able to use the logs to heat the house, which it did well, some rooms were too warm. I also have emergency lighting and many flashlights as well as candles. When the storm took out all the power last year, the first thing my husband said was to light the candles. This only caused the house to smell and I had to open the back door allowing the cold in to get rid of the smoke from the candles. But we made it through, laughing at the adventure of living without power.

This time I was going to be alone. I know last year my husband was the one who was insecure about not having power. I was the strong one, the one who told him we would make it through a few days. I know I could have done it alone last year as I was more secure than I feel now. I did not realize how uncertain I was about my security until I emailed a few family members that I might be losing power, phone service, etc. and they should not worry about me as I have food, emergency lighting and gas logs. As I wrote these emails trying to calm the fears of everyone that worries about my being alone, it started to sink in that I would be alone.

Alone in the cold. Alone in the dark. Alone in the house. Alone. I realize this sounds ridiculous as I am alone all the time now. But for some reason, I started to feel very insecure and uncertain. As if I were not sure I could be alone during an ice storm that brings down power lines. It was an odd feeling. I have always been secure about certain things as well as being independent, able to take control of any situation. This was a new feeling, not a wanted one. I have enough fear and panic I do not need to add anything new to the list. As I thought about it, I realized that I would handle it the way I always had. That anything that in the past might have been a certainty will now seem to be less so. That I am more insecure then I thought. I also realize that this will pass. When the time comes and I have to go through another potentially bad storm I will become more secure.

In the end, there was snow, sleet and freezing rain. Not enough to bring down power lines or cause any interruption of anything that is taken for granted. I know this will not always be the case and that there will be things out of my control and that I must be secure through what ever life throws at me as I was in the past. It was just a wake-up call. That there will be times when I face uncertainties and insecurities. I also know that while I felt insecure and uncertain, had the power gone out I would have made it through and come out stronger for having done so. There is another storm headed this way for the weekend. This one will most likely be ice. I will probably feel a little insecure, but that is normal. Making it through the storm will only make me more secure. Being alone is a learning experience for me. It seems some of the most minor things bring the most insecurity. Though I will conquer the uncertainty of insecurity, it may linger a little. Lingering is find, I just do not want those emotions to move in with me.

Anger and Other Emotions Reflect in the Mirror

Yesterday I wrote of cooking for one. While it is true I have thought of this and everything I wrote about it is accurate, it is not what I meant to write. I was angry yesterday. I have always said sleep on it when I am angry, as anything said in anger might be regretted. So rather than write about my anger I wrote fluff, something not really of importance to my moving forward. Today I will try to write of my anger and other emotions I felt yesterday.

I was trying to get ready to walk out the door, while still caring for my ailing pet when a counselor from Hospice called. They called one week after my husband died, then 3 months later, this was my next 3 month call. The man is very nice that calls. It seems he understands a lot of what I am going through. He also seems to feel as I do, that the printed papers I get from Hospice do not apply to me, most if not all of the time. While normally I would not mind talking to him, it had taken most of my courage to just get ready to walk out the door. On top of that my pet seemed so ill and was looking at me as if I should stay. I needed to go to the post office so putting it off another day was not possible. I was just about to walk out the door feeling guilt about leaving my pet when he called. So I was angry.

I know I could have been rude or told him I was busy, instead I felt obligated to talk to him. I told him of my pets impending death and how everything about the way he was dying was similar to what my husband went through. The lost weight, the weakening, the unwillingness to eat and having to try to use an oral IV to give him some food. These are all things that I went through with my husband. He told me most people tell him that smells remind them of the person they loved who has died. He told me he found it to be more images of the person dying that brought the sadness. He also told me of his pet who died last spring and how he had gone through a lot of what I was going through, how hard it was for him and his wife, that they still were sad almost a year later. This man understood. I know many do not. They feel as if a pet can be replaced and will be forgotten, but that is not so. I remember every pet I have had, as well as how they lived and died. Having someone understand how I feel helps, as there are only a few in my life that understand how losing my pet can be upsetting and I have not really talked in-depth to them. In talking with him, it brought comfort but it also brought up other emotions.

The biggest emotion yesterday was anger. When my husband and I were told he needed to go to a Hospice Home, we both knew it meant he was dying, though we also felt he beat the odds and had lived before there was still optimism by my husband and myself that he would beat the odds again. That optimism faded when we got to the Hospice Home. Once my husband was admitted to the Hospice Home, he was taken off all the medications that kept him alive. The only medications he was given were an antibiotic so MRSA would not return and endanger others, as well as tranquilizers and pain medications. There was also a lidoderm patch that they were not going to give him due to expense and they did not have it. I brought 2 boxes in for them to put them on as they offered some relief. By taking him off of his medications, this probably made his death come sooner. This is where the anger comes in. I am not angry with Hospice and to some extent it is not true anger, but it is with myself. Had I known his medications would be stopped I may have brought him home and he may have lived a week or two longer. There are moments when I think of him asking me if he were dying and that he did not want to die. He knew when he went to Hospice that he was going there to die, I am sure he must have felt afraid, wanted reassurance. I never lied to my husband and did not lie when he asked if he were dying. I did not tell him he was dying though. He had stopped eating. I told him that if he did not start eating he would die. It was not a lie, it was just not telling the whole truth. A truth I, myself could not accept.

Then I think of having him if he had died in the house. That would not have been easy to deal with either. I also think of how well Hospice treated my husband. Treatment that though I tried my hardest I could not give that level of care. Wounds he had that he was seeing a would specialist for, healed in 2 or 3 days due to their constant care. They made sure if any pain was shown he was immediately given something. The same with the panic and fear he was feeling, they gave him tranquilizers before he could even ask when they noticed how he appeared. So though there is this sense of anger, there is also this sense on thanks for caring for him so well.

But it was not just anger. There were many emotions that sprung into my mind. Sadness that my husband is gone forever and that my pet is dying soon. Sadness that the life I knew is now gone. Anger that I have to start a new life. Maybe it is not anger, if might just be uncertainty or some other emotion, but for now I will call it anger, it is not something I want to do. It is something I have to do. Irritation that though this man, the counselor is nice, I have to talk with him every 3 months. To be honest I could tell him not to call and he would not, but I know I need a little help even if I do not want it. Sadness that this counselor is correct in saying it is images that bring the most sadness. With every little thing, such as last night every time I tried to turn the lights off my pet cried, though my husband did not cry, he did not want the lights off at night. Each image with my pet or any image alone can cause this sadness. It is an overwhelming sadness. A feeling of despair. That there is no hope of a normal life.That in some ways there will never be a life, just an existence. Being a realist I know there is life ahead, but at moments of insecurity the realist seems to hide and the fear and emotions take over.

There were so many emotions yesterday that I cannot even begin to cover them all. I must say most of the feelings are still present. I also must say I feel no guilt over anything that happened. Though there is anger, it is not true anger. It is most likely an emotion I do not have a name for. I know I will deal with many emotions, not just now but most likely for the rest of my life. I know many will be sad. I also know that though sadness sometimes never leaves, happiness and sadness can live together. That though I am sad I will still experience happiness. That the happiness will most likely outweigh the sadness. But for now, I am angry.

Sadness or Depression in the Mirror

I wonder when someone who is either depressed or sad looks in the mirror which they see? Are they seeing what they want to see? Or does the mirror tell the truth and the person sees whether they are sad or depressed. Or do they see both? I would guess each person sees something different. That some who are depressed see depression. Others depressed see sadness. As for the sad, it would be the same. I realize that a person can be both sad and depressed, but there is a big difference between the two.

Sadness is an emotion. It is natural after a life changing event to become sad. The event can sometimes even be a happy one. Sadness shows no compassion. It can rip apart all your beliefs. It can make a person cry non-stop. It can make you feel despair. You cannot function well. It is similar to depression in that there is sadness and sometimes uncontrollable emotion. In my opinion that is where the sadness and depression start to go down different roads. With sadness, you may not see there is happiness at the end of the road, but you know it may be there. You may realize you are sad and know the reason why. You may even wonder if you are depressed. While sadness is just an emotion, for some it should be taken as seriously as depression.

Depression is an illness.Notice I did not say mental illness, that is a stigma. Depression is a real illness. You have no control over it. It controls you. Depression may require a doctor. It may require therapy as well as medication. I am of the opinion that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain. I know there are many different theories regarding depression, but I stand by my opinion. Someone with depression should be taken seriously. I do not mean treated by others differently so as to make them more depressed. Rather if there are comments made that do not sound right, you need to be aware, pay attention and try to get the depressed person help. Many depressed cannot see that there is any happiness at the end of the road. A person who is depressed should not have a stigma placed over them for being labeled as depressed. I would think this makes it worse for someone who thinks they are depressed and truly are, to get treatment if it is needed. They should be treated as they have always been, but the person who notices the depression is the one who should quietly watch and listen for any warning signs.

I am sad. I am not fooling myself into thinking I am not depressed. Rather because of my panic attacks, I sometimes suffer the mania that goes with manic depression or bipolar disease. In all my years, though I sometimes have mania I do not have depression. This is not something new. Doctors know of this condition, but would rather quickly diagnose someone as either depressed or bipolar. I have been diagnosed bipolar only for the doctor to tell me he was wrong in his diagnosis. I have also been told that manic or mania and panic attacks go together. That depression is not always seen with this condition. I am lucky I have never been diagnosed as bipolar or depressed as I cannot take any of the medications used to treat them. That does not make me any better off then those who do suffer from it, as some of them have a hard time finding the correct medication and staying on it.

Having a panic disorder is looked down upon sometimes a little more than either depression or bipolar disease. Many in the general public feel that people cannot help themselves if they are depressed or bipolar. With panic attacks, many in the general public feel that it is made up, that we can control it but choose not to. Also that it is easy to just forget about panic and go on with life. Panic disorders are very much as debilitating as depression or bipolar. It usually only takes one attack for a person who has never suffered them to begin to understand how bad they are. Most are lucky never to have that one attack. But this blog is not about panic. It is about depression and sadness.

I have already wondered what a person sees in the mirror when they are depressed or sad. Now I wonder what others see in the person. Do they see sadness and mistake it for depression? This would seem more common if someone has just recently experienced a major event, such as I have in the death of my husband. Or do they mistake the sadness they see for depression? I would like to think that people see what is really there, that way the type of compassion needed is given. Which brings me back to myself. I know I am sad. I am controlling. I do not want it to show. I do not look in the mirror to see if I am sad or depressed as I know. I do sometimes wonder what other see in me. I should not care and for the most part I do not, as I am trying to deal with my sadness and get to the end of the road where I will find a new type of happiness. I have mentioned I am strong which is true. There are so many fragile people I have come across in life. It is for those I am writing this. So that the next time a person comes across someone sad or depressed that they are treated with compassion. We live in a world where compassion seems limited to only those we are close to. It costs nothing to be compassionate to another, to lend an ear to listen. While it may not cost anything, it might be worth more than money can buy. It might even save a life. I write this for those who are in need of compassion. May they find compassion and help. While I am at it, maybe people can stop labeling and judging others. As I said, this is not for me, but for those I know who are in need of compassion.

The Mirror Shows Two Faces

I assume mirrors reflect more than two images, but I am focusing today on two. The two I have chosen to dissect are the two that show in reflections. Years ago there was a song Phoebe Snow sung in which she asked “Do you like or love either or both of me?”. That is how I have always thought of myself. That there were two of me. Not meaning I have a split personality, more I have two sides. I am not talking looks, like when someone asks to have their photo taken at a certain angle as it reflects their good side. No, I am talking inside of myself.

Much like the song, I too can be clumsy, yet graceful, as well as funny, classy, empty and afraid. Through my life I have tried to control what side of me people saw. If someone thinks I only wanted the good side to always be seen, it would not be correct but it would be pretty close. I think many of us only show our good sides. I also think that only showing our good side can lead to other problems, such as low self-esteem, thinking we are shallow or lying to the world. It is a tricky balance to show both sides.

Not many want to be outcasts. Unwanted for not fitting in. Disliked because they did not show their better side. So it is difficult to show the bad side when we have been taught to want to be accepted. I suspect many of us have two sides. I also would think we all try to show the world what we want them to see. I was lucky, my husband liked and loved both sides of me. With him I could always show my true feelings, emotions, my need for perfection and flaws. There are a lot of songs that spring to mind that mention a person having two sides or more. So I must not be not alone in this.

The song I refer to is short. At the end, her words express that having someone in her life has made it better. Again, this is something I relate to. The problem for me, I no longer have that person in my life. How does one go about living a life without the one who made the world a safe place? How does one even open the front door and leave their home. All these questions and more are what I am trying to find answers to. I am not sure if I will, but I am trying. I need to find a way to get back some control over my life. I want to live again, even if it is with a heavy heart.

Positivity and Negativity in Mirrors

My friends and family if asked to describe me would say I am nice, easy to talk to, honest, as well as brutally honest, cool, strong, indecisive, firm, laid back, detached, generous, talkative, discreet, non-judgmental, accepting, sarcastic, indifferent, have a good sense of humor, can have a temper, do not take myself seriously, sometimes self-centered, tells it like it is, compassionate. There is one more description: positive. There are many more descriptions but I think this covers most of what they would list to tell someone about me.

They are correct in their perceptions of me. I possess all those traits, an example could be that when told something and told to keep it to myself, though I am very talkative, I would never repeat what was told in confidence to anyone under any circumstance. Though I love a good laugh, if it is told at a time I do not want to laugh, I will be indifferent. There are three more qualities I possess that I am not sure anyone would list or even be aware of, I am unemotional, insecure and controlling. I think anyone that has been reading this will realize I am controlling from how I describe my life and how I deal with it. I think the insecurities also are evident by how much I relied on my husband. But the unemotional might not show through in my writings. Maybe in fact my description of unemotional is not really correct, rather another way to control.

But back to the unemotional. I think my husband would agree that to some extent I am unemotional or at the least he would say I control my emotions. When told of good things that have happened I do not show much emotion. When told of something bad or even terrible, I do not show much emotion. It is not that I do not care, rather I am uncomfortable with emotions. There are times I wonder to myself if I have any emotions. The answer is yes, I have emotions. But that pesky controlling side does not want the world to see my emotions. Through my husband’s illness, his doctors would say how impressed they were with me and how I was handling everything. They truly were, they were not just saying it. Nurses told me the same. Some of the nurses even went so far as to say if they were ill, they would want me as their advocate. When my husband died, many doctors and nurses emailed me expressing their sympathy. One doctor, whom my husband and I really trusted and admired, went so far as to say that he was not the one that kept my husband alive, I was, he only prescribed the medications needed. It was very nice to hear these things, but I showed no emotions through any of it, in fact It made me uncomfortable to hear this, as emotion was expected from me. Also the need to hear these things was not needed. I knew I did everything I could to keep my husband alive for as long as could be. No matter how hard it was at times, it was worth every moment.

Next the insecure. Those around me would be surprised at that one. But it is true. I am not insecure about myself. I know who I am. I am not insecure living alone. I like to be alone, I do not like to be lonely, but that is not what this is. Through my life, my strength and security have always been a part of me. With my husband dying, all that I have come to rely on is no longer here. That is where the insecurities I am so unfamiliar with have taken hold. I mentioned how everyone was amazed at how well I cared for my husband. I told people while I was the strong one, my husband was my rock. I am not sure they understood. Being indecisive is tough, I cannot decide the simple things, like what to have for dinner. My husband made these every day decisions for me, giving me the sense of security. Now that he is gone the insecurity is much more noticeable to me.

Controlling, it might sound like a good quality. It is not. It is hard. Non-controlling people do not understand it, they accept what they cannot control. Those of us who control, have our own reasons for the need to control. I do not accept what I cannot control. If anything I might spend endless, sleepless nights trying to find a way to control whatever is not under control. My control is probably something that helped keep my husband alive. When we were told he would not live much longer, I still felt like I had to control.I made sure they gave him pain medications, tranquilizers, any medication or treatment that would keep him comfortable. I controlled until he died. Now I have nothing to control other than my own life. But I have to figure out what my own life is before I can gain control again.

If you were to ask my husband’s family my qualities, they may be similar to the ones listed above, they would probably include care giver, advocate, loving wife. But they would also list negative.

That is where they are wrong. I have never been negative. They think because every time they talked with my husband on the phone he was so positive, that he was the one upbeat, not letting illness get him down. They are wrong. My husband worried most of his life about something or other. Much like his hopes and dreams, I told him worrying was a waste of time. That whatever he might be worried about, if it happened, he should handle it after it happened, worrying before just wasted his life. It was not until he became very sick he understood what I meant. In the beginning he was negative. I would not allow it, after all, I am controlling. I told him he needed to control his emotions and allow himself time to be down, sad, upset, mad, whatever he wanted to feel, but after the period of time he allotted himself, he had to be positive and upbeat. He had to get up each morning, even if I was the one having to help him up when he wanted to be able to himself, put a smile on his face and accept that he was still himself. The illness had not taken his inner self away I would tell him. He was still the man I fell in love with. No sickness could take that away. As the time went by, that is how he became to live his life, allowing me to control all the things out of his control, but controlling the only thing he had control over, his attitude. There were some slips, but for the most part my constant teaching him of laughter and life he had never known were what kept him upbeat. I screened his phone calls or decided when he could make a phone call. I wanted his family and friends to know he was doing as well as could be expected, that he was upbeat, not feeling like why is this happening to me, a victim. His family did not visit in the beginning of his illness when he was so close to death. I have never faulted them for that, in fact I made excuses for them when the doctors would ask me where they were. I did not tell his family of the doctors always asking where they were, nor of the doctors negative views of them for not visiting my husband. His family had legitimate reasons of their own for not being there. I did not tell them when my husband had episodes of delirium and he wanted to talk to them, I would not make the phone call. I shielded them from all the ugliness of his illness. I allowed them only to see a happy, upbeat man who was dealing with his illness with dignity.

While my family sees me as positive, my husband’s family sees me as negative. What would a mirror reflect of me? Definitely positivity, no negativity allowed. I am a lot of the things that each family sees but do not put the label of negativity on me, as I am not now nor have I ever been negative.

Why We Need Mirrors

It would be easy to say that there is no real reason we need mirrors. To some extent that would be true, if we lived in the dark ages. In today’s world most people get one chance to make an impression on another, so the impression should be a good one. Without mirrors we do not know how we look or will be perceived. Mirrors play an essential part in our every day life, whether we want them to or not.

I am someone who does not make judgements on people by how they appear. It can be very misleading. What is usually not misleading is what you see if you look into another person’s eyes. When I meet someone I look deeply into their eyes to see not emotions, rather if they have a look of a smile hiding in their eyes. Even in our darkest hours, a smile will still be hidden in the eyes of a nice person, unless they have been hurt very badly, then you will see a guarded person. There is nothing wrong with being guarded, at times we all put our guard up, but if we have not been hurt badly the smile still is there.

By not judging anyone on their appearance, I have met so many nice people, some I might not have if I judged their outside appearance. I have also met some that are not nice. The ones that were not nice had that look in their eye that was a signal to me that they were not as nice as they were presenting themselves. These people on the outside looked like every other nice person, But their eyes told me different. I ignored what I saw in their eyes only to find out that my first impression of these people was correct. As for the guarded eyes, if you get to know a person with guarded eyes and that will be up to them, as they are guarded, you will find that many are nice too. Hurt, hardened by whatever makes them guarded, but usually very nice, having had to overcome their hardship. If I had to put a percentage on nice vs. not nice, I think the majority of people I have met are nice.

I was brought up to always appear my best. Especially if it were going to be under difficult circumstances. I was taught to always hold my head high and smile. I taught myself never to show sadness or other emotions I did not want others to see. I am not sure that was what my parents meant when they told me to always dress well and smile. For me, being able to do “dress the part” and “act the part” seem necessary, I would not know how to do it any other way. Or maybe I should say, I know no other way, it is who I am. Am I a nice person? I do not know. I know I can be extremely nice, caring, loving and generous. I know I can also be uncaring, distant and yes a little mean, though never cruel.

I do know I should not care what people think of me, I never have, but for some reason lately it matters. I do not want to look sad, lonely or any other term that would go with pathetic. I want people to look at me and say how well I have held up through everything. But the truth is, the appearance I am giving is just that, an appearance. The mirror has helped me to give the appearance of someone who has held up through a hard three years. While I do not really care about mirrors, they have become a necessity in my life, even if only for a glance.