I’m Enough: Learning Lessons From a Mirror That Talks Back

When you look in the mirror, how do you feel about yourself?

And we’re beingย  honest here.

Do you believe the only value it shows is what’s on the outside? Does the mirror, to you, amplify your flaws or acknowledge the human being that you are with phenomenal virtues inside and out?

Does the mirror reflect your worth?

This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.

Their group is called The Mrs.

Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.

The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.

They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.

They plastered stickers around every mirror and window they came across with messages like “You’re awesome,” “I’m Enough,” and “You’ve never looked better!” Then they took it a step further and concocted what some might dub ‘a magic mirror’, a talking mirror that surprised women all over the county.

At first glance, the mirror on the wall appears ordinary. When you walk up to it, all you see is your reflection.

And then a voice comes on.

That voice greets you, perhaps by name. That voice tells you you’re beautiful. That voice tells you you are loved. That voice tells you you’re enough.

*****

The Mrs. performed at BlogHer live on Saturday, and their talking mirror was in the vendor hall all weekend. My pal, August McLaughlin, and I got to experience the talking mirror firsthand before we even knew what it was!

I went up to it first. I put the headphones on and immediately this friendly voice greeted me, “Hi Jess! Look at that gorgeous red hair!”

MirrorAugust listening to the Talking Mirror

The person behind the mirror told me I was beautiful. She told me I had beautiful, clear skin.

I started crying.

I wasn’t making-a-scene-hysterical, I just genuinely teared up. I don’t tell myself my skin is beautiful.

As my 30th birthday gets closer, I’ve been battling some body dysmorphia. I wrote about it in To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top. Besides recent weight gain, I have trouble with adult acne. It began as “teenage” acne, then “college” acne, and morphed into adulthood “I’ve paid thousands of dollars on skincare and make-up” acne. I know my skin has changed and that it has improved. But when I look in the mirror, I see only the bumps, the redness, the scarring.

I knew my attacks on myself were really bad when I nonchalantly made the comment to my sister, “You know how people sometimes ask you ‘If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?’ Well, mine would be clear skin. That’s all I want. CLEAR skin!”

I immediately felt hurt when I said it. Hurt by my OWN words. I had always been the girl who wanted to fly. How had I let myself get so stuck?

Even on my wedding day, my biggest fear was my face. Not the hundreds of dollars we paid in legal paperwork for an international wedding, or traveling to a foreign country with my wedding dress, or that Joe had not written his vows until the day of (he actually had, but was messing with me for fun). No, I was freaking out over my face. I wanted perfect skin for my wedding day, and that was the one thing beyond my grasp.

I started a mantra, “This day is not about my face. This day is not about my face.” And I said it every morning as I put my make up on for that whole week before our wedding.

So yah. I started crying when the woman behind the mirror told me I had clear skin. And then she told me my writing mattered. That my words brought joy and laughter and insight to others. And I felt – this may sound silly – but I felt like I sprouted wings. Little baby wings that flapped and triggered my brain to say “Go after your dreams.”

She's Enough

And remember I’m enough.

Do you need to be reminded?

Follow more of the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #ImEnough.

 

 

 

About these ads

43 responses

  1. Jess,
    Best blog post EVER! (Well, I like so many of yours that I probably shouldn’t say that.) But we (women) beat ourselves up so much about not being this and not being that, and ignore the great things we ARE. I need that mirror! I’m sharing – sharing – sharing your blog today.

    1. Thank you Valerie! I think every woman -and teen girl- should have a talking mirror that reminds her of her real worth. We’ve got too many things in our daily lives that take that away from us. It’s time we brought it back!

      Thank you for the share, friend! You’re an amazing champion for writers.

  2. Aw! Little baby wings are so cute!!!

    1. And they feel good too.

  3. Oh, do I like this!! You’re enough, Jess, and I’m enough, too. We need to remind ourselves of this regularly, and it’s so important when groups like The Mrs. and you can do this. We are not our muffin tops, our pelican necks (my “problem area”) our skin or our jobs. I agree with Valerie – this is one of your best posts yet!

    1. Thank you Deanne! I know I’ve come really far in my writing process but I hadn’t acknowledged that. I was still hung up on issues that have haunted me for years. It’s hard to make new habits and turn your confidence around in a snap. This was a good wake up call.

  4. What a beautiful post, Jess! I’m sure most, if not all, women can relate. I hadn’t realized the mirror experience was so emotional for you, though I saw numerous women shed tears and was deeply moved myself. The woman talked about the influence I have on others and said that my inner-beauty reaches far. Hearing that said as I stared into my own eyes was very vulnerable and powerful.

    I think the late-20s are particularly difficult for women, as we break through walls and seek to discover what’s next — what we’ll do with “the rest of our lives.” (Though it’s not like we need to know that at any particular age.) I suspect that you’ll soon be onto that which makes your heart gleefully happy and fulfilled career-wise, as we talked about a bit. :) That’s seriously the best makeover! Physical appearance-wise and otherwise.

    BTW, I noticed NO imperfections on your skin and find you absolutely stunning inside and out–not to mention stylish! Speaking up about your self-consciousness is bold and admirable. I also think it can pave the way to growth and change. Love you, woman!

    Now that I’ve written a blog post, LOL, you should submit this to BlogHer, IMO: http://www.blogher.com/marketplace/opportunities/syndication/apply

    *BiG HUGS*

    1. Vulnerable is the perfect word. I looked down from the mirror for a bit, embarrassed and the mirror scolded me! She told me to look at myself and to smile. That was hard advice to do in public with people all around. But it felt good when I gave in to the moment. Like you said, growth.

      Thanks, Lady! I miss you bunches already. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

      1. The scolding mirror–LOL If only all mirrors discourages negativity. Groovy that our own can! Missing you, too!

  5. Oh, and those baby wings? LOVE. So glad they sprouted. :)

  6. I do need to be reminded, like most of us. Your experience with that mirror was emotional,for me, so I can only imagine how you felt! I want one of those! I’d be in front of it everyday. I have to tell you, though, I was totally surprised at your confession of skin problems. I would never have guessed…you always look beautiful to me. My daughter has the same problem and she’s a skin care specialist. She has periods of clear skin and. Then periods when she struggles with it. You’re definitely not alone!
    So glad you had such a great time!

    1. Ah yes, the cycles if problem skin. I used to joke that my skin cells were revolting against me. As soon as I found a product that worked and bought a bunch of it, it’d stop working. And I managed cosmetics for a few years so I too was in the know on skin care solutions. I was in my young 20s using $120 bottles of skin brightening solutions in HOPES of clearing acne scarring! Oh man, do I get it and feel for your daughter. We do need a talking mirror in our lives. And those magnifying mirrors should be banned in all 50 states and beyond! They are the voices of Satan, I swear! LOL for all women who’ve ever plucked, popped, and primped in too much excess because of THOSE mirrors, I’m telling you to get RID of them and say the words “I’m Enough!”

      1. Oh, I’m right there with you, Jess, on banning mirrors that don’t convey nice thoughts! I don’t know if there’s a solution to this skin problem. Some say it’s what you eat, others say it’s stress, others blame air pollution, and of course, make-up and skin care companies claim you aren’t using the right/best/most expensive products. If any of them are right, then why don’t we ALL have the same problems? So maybe the solution is to believe you’re enough head-to-toe, inside out. then maybe the problem will either go away or not matter anymore.
        Love you, my redheaded sista! Obviously the most important people in your life, including your husband, think nothing of this issue. So don’t worry, be happy!

  7. Flying is way better than having clear skin. If you’re feeling awkward because of an acne outbreak and somebody approaches, just take to the sky! And I think this is still a dream of yours given the whole “sprouting wings” comment.

    In all seriousness, I have never once seen a photo of you and noticed imperfect skin. So much of our own securities come from within. I have a great reading suggestion for you…it’s a long blog article, but definitely worth the time.

    http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mark. I will definitely check out the blog article. :)

  8. Lovely post. I look at pictures of myself when I was 20 and I see how beautiful and young that self was and remember how monstrous I felt about myself (my skin, my weight, everything). And now, looking at my 40-year-old self in the mirror, instead of focusing SO much on what I don’t love, I try to imagine there’s a 60-year-old me looking tenderly back at her.

    1. THAT. IS. BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely love that and think we should do that! I may need to try it tomorrow morning. Thank you for sharing that.

  9. I definitely started to cry (hopefully inconspicuously) at my desk, watching that video. It is so hard to feel like enough, when every media source possible says that I’m not. But I am, and you are, and we can be enough even though we’re imperfect. And I just need to keep telling myself that every day until I believe it :-) Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Are we Twitter pals? If not, and you’re on twitter, we need to exchange twitter handles. I will totally send you tweets like the messages on the mirror: “you look amazing,” “whatever you’re doing, keep it up,” and “you’re enough.” If you’re on Twitter, let me know! Or tweet me @jesswitkins.

      I cried too watching the video. And it reminded me of my own experience. At BlogHer, we got to hear Arianna Huffington speak and she spoke to the history of how when men were the only ones in the workforce, the game was “work hard to beat the other guy.” Then when women entered the workforce, it was “work hard to get a place at the table, then beat the other guy.” So we’re working 2x as hard to be seen with some credit. It’s exhausting. And we’re judged (or feel judged internally) both at home and at work, so we never let ourselves have basic care – like sleep. Arianna is on a mission to transform lives by encouraging people to get more sleep. I’m fascinated with her book right now and it’s so well researched. But even if you read it only for some self care tips, she’s got great ideas. I think her message and this one from The Mrs. go hand in hand.

      Thank you for sharing with me that this resonated with you!! It’s hard to put our vulnerabilities out there, but I am honored you felt comfortable sharing with me. Thank you!

      1. I will look into Arianna’s book, especially since my hubby showed me her ted talk on sleep just a few days ago! Thanks for introducing me to such great things, I have “Enough” on repeat!

        It’s definitely a lot easier to expose vulnerabilities on the internet, I think! I will add you to twitter, and definitely return the favour. They do say confidence is everything…maybe that’s all it will take? Some community-wide confidence?

        1. Yay!!!! Cyber dance party! “I’m enough, I’m enough, I’m enough!”

  10. Of course you are ENOUGH! Jess I absolutely love this blog post. I am sharing it.

    1. Thank you Kathryn! I hope it helps transform the mirrors of everyone who reads it.

  11. Reblogged this on allergictolifemybattle and commented:
    As I have had to give up my hair color, my make-up, and my contacts, I have always felt that I wasn’t enough. This is the most lovely blog post I have read in a very long time.

  12. Jess – you are so awesome for writing this and showing your vulnerability :-) many of us have felt these things and aren’t able to voice them to ourselves let alone out loud :-) thank you for your courage, reminding us we are not alone with our struggles, and most imporantly we are worthy! Superb!

    Keep shining,
    Kelly

    1. What’s the harmony cocktail best suited for magic mirrors? ;)

      Thank you for thinking I’m brave. I don’t think I’m brave, I just think sometimes it pays to put your vulnerability out on the line in hopes someone else will open up and let you know you’re not alone. I’m happy that’s happening here.

      1. Hey Jess!

        Yes, here ARE some magic mirror harmony cocktails! I love this question and maybe I should blog about it :-) I have several, but I will try to narrow it down to five. I’ve included an eclectic mix including two new currently popular songs! Here are some harmony cocktails selections for your perusal (in no particular order):

        1. Bigger Than My Body โ€“ performed by John Mayer
        This bold track declares that despite your fears you know that someday you will rise to great heights. Your mere body does not adequately represent your potential!

        2. Bugler’s Dream / Olympic Fanfare โ€“ instrumental conducted by John Williams
        This awe-inspiring score from the great John Williams immediately triggers memories of the Olympics and the remarkable confidence and strength of the Olympians. This powerful and moving song allows you to emulate that spirit yourself!

        3. Iโ€™m Every Woman โ€“ performed Whitney Houston or Chaka Khan
        This track exudes confidence with spirited abandon! Not only is there an unquestioned declaration that โ€œitโ€™s all in (you),โ€ but also that โ€œ(you) do it naturally!โ€

        4. All About That Bass — performed by Meghan Trainor
        This catchy tune gets right in your face about how “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!” All about that booty and bass are celebrated throughout the song!

        5. Try — performed by Colbie Caillat
        This is a heartfelt song that so beautifully confides all those feelings we barely acknowledge internally let alone say out loud. We are reminded we “don’t have to try” to be anything but who we already are; we “don’t have to change a single thing.”

        Keep shinin’ Jess!
        Kelly

        1. LOVE. Thanks for the song suggestions! Be sure you listen to The Mrs.! I will have to partner with you in the fall when I work on my phenomenal women mix cd. I make a new one each year for my mom and sis.

          1. I WILL listen to The Mrs.! The mix CD sounds awesome and I’d love to join in on the fun :-) Also, I was serious about the topic being a blog post: http://wp.me/p3s3jW-ba I mention you! :-)

  13. I love this, Jess! What awesomeness! Glad you had your mirror experience and your cry. I hope you feel inspired and as beautiful as you are. :)

    1. I did feel inspired. As hard as it was to share my flaws, I needed to share this story more. Thanks brickhouse chica!

  14. I loved the mirror most when I got to be INSIDE it talking to a stranger! When I told her that she had a beautiful smile, she opened up her chest and stood up straighter. It was so cool to watch her. Then when it was my turn, it was so HARD to look at myself in the mirror and receive. I hear you on the baby wings–keep flapping!

    1. I was told we could be the one inside the mirror and I never got back in the hall to do that. What a cool experience! That had to be so inspiring: watching your affirmations physically lift someone. Thanks for sharing this with me!

      And by the way, I was so moved by your VOTY piece! Hearing about your loss was so difficult and inspiring at the same time. My family laid to rest my brother in law a week before the conference and so I thought a lot about my sister as you shared your story. A lot of little details do make their way to the forefront of our minds when we think about last moments with a loved one. Just want to say thank you for stepping out on that stage and sharing. Love your red hair too btw! ;)

      1. thanks, Jess! I felt so vulnerable, but it was totally worth the risk. I’m sorry to hear about your brother in law. My your sister, and your family, find peace.

  15. This gave me chills. Thank you. I started doing “mirror work” after reading Louise Hay’s book, “You can heal your life”. Saying positive affirmations about yourself while looking into your own eyes seems so simple — but it took a bit of time before I could say, “You’re beautiful, Colleen.” and not drop my eyes. I’ve stopped doing this for a while but you’ve given me the inspiration to start again. Jesse you are an amazing woman. <3

    1. Yah affirmations can seem silly but they do hold power when like you said, you look in your own eyes and speak with honest goals and motives in mind.

  16. Yup, crying listening to this, reading this. I can’t even imagine what a blubbering mess I’d have been standing in front of that mirror.

    What an awesome experience and true, too…your writing *does* matter, and it does bring joy and laughter and insight. Let that be your mantra every day and your little baby wings will turn into ones strong enough to carry a 747 into the air. And you may just take some people along with you.

    1. LOL. #StormJess2015 – Should totally be a movement. With the headline: Redheaded Whirlwind Carries Writers to Publication.

  17. Excellent post! I think as humans, we all struggle with feelings of not being “enough”. We see others achieving and are envious of their success, we see others attractiveness and bemoan that we are less attractive. Sometimes we just need to remember what we tell everyone else. and ourselves, about not judging a book by its cover applies to ourselves as well. We are more than what we see and yes, as this story point out, we ARE enough!

    1. Ah yes. Guilty as charged for comparing myself to others and then being my worst critic. I have to remind myself that I’m not moving as fast as I want, but I am moving forward.

  18. Hi Jess: First off, we’re so sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late. We’ve been locked inside our writing room for the past two months working on our book. But we’re right before the finish line and hopefully normal hours and blogging again which is great cuz we miss our blogging buds like you! Shew, now after all that. We absolutely adored this post, Jess!!! It had me in tears, then Inion when I took it in her room and played the video for her. What an amazing tribute to women and teaching them how to see beyond the surface and into their souls!! I can’t tell you what this did for us, babygirl! But I do know this. We can pass this message along by sharing your blog-post with our networking friends. We had wanted to press it but then realized it’s not WordPress. So, instead we’ll carry your blog address and paste the video up!!! Now running off to check out some more of your posts!! ;) xoxo <3

    1. Thank you ladies! I really think what The Mrs. is doing for women is so empowering and wonderful. It sure had an impact on me. Thank you for emerging from the writing cave to drop by and for sharing my post. You two are the best! Love ya!

Tell me a story...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,867 other followers

%d bloggers like this: