I run around this lake by my house daily, at the same time. when you do something like that you begin to meet people who also do the same thing and a kind of community begins to build. A community of people who smile and wave at each other freely, knowing the other will wave back. Most recently one of the such people asked me for my name, and he shared his. He is an older man, about 20 years my senior about. It's was a nice feeling seeing him daily and smiling back but now that we are on talking terms he has to always say something. And it's not just anything ordinary, like a commentary on the weather or the conditions of the trails, no! EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I pass him he has a comment about the way I look to him that day.
Here are a few of the comments
*You look very happy today
* You look like an old lady with that walking stick
* You look very tired today, yesterday you wore earrings.
* You look sad today
Now, the way I look, to others especially, is about the #129th item on my list of priorities. Also, I am 46 and happily married to a man who loves me without makeup, without fake nails and even when I wake up in the morning, with my hair to the ceiling. I also have about 10 projects I obsess about at any given moment and that too keeps me from worrying about item #129.
In addition, I have decided long ago that how people react to the way I look is their business, not mine. In other words, your experience of me, is all on you, zero on me. Now, these comments this poor older man is making are by no means meant to be insulting or hurtful. But they bring me back to a generation when women DID see themselves, AND valued themselves, through the eyes of others and eagerly awaited constant reflections from others of how they were perceived. Sadly, I know many women still find their worth in checking others to help set their worth barometers. Weirdly, I am thankful for some tough years for getting me to this point. I spent many years of my teens convinced I was anything BUT pretty and when you spend that much amount of time working on a perceived "problem", the universe finds all kinds of ways to provide you with answers. I found out I may not have felt attractive physically but I have the most fascinating, entertaining imagination, I am also a loyal-to-the-end type friend and I am fearless and relentless in all things I believe in. In the end, like the story of the ugly duckling, I found that all these things were what made me attractive after all, and no effort was ever really needed to ever be other than myself.
So I will continue to walk my trail and run into this man daily, who will most likely continue to think he's being my ever-helpful mirror. Maybe he thinks I want or need his views on how I look to him. I don't have the heart to make him see a reality perhaps he's never imagined women could possess. It does not bother me at all. I will most likely smile, wave, do small chit-chat and move on. As I said before, what he thinks of me is his business, not mine. I've got my own inner mirror now and that is my ONLY business.