Friday, April 29, 2011

Naked with Chanel No 5: Day 7 - The dangers of reflection

If I had a dollar for every time a man told me we were "so much alike," I would be a very wealthy woman. My economics teacher reminded our class that we are pattern-seeking, story telling animals and I must concur that we are all looking for things, experiences, and people in which we can see familiar patterns and hear stories we know. I like so many women I know, have long excelled at seeking similarity and finding identity between myself and my loves.

I've been lovingly compared to the wandering soul of the first man who asked me to marry him, considered like-minded by a paralyzed and socially awkward angry guy, breathed a similar fuel of the passionate fire-bird hell bent on destruction, floated as a hippie's ethereal lover, a conservative's tamed shrew, a musician's muse, a lofty ever flying kite, and the anchor of a foundation on which a picket fence life might be built. Just days ago, a new friend said - "It's like you see inside my soul."

So, what does that make me? What does that make any of us women who charm many, truly enchanted by only a few and reflected in all we meet? Are we fickle, chameleons, or do we simply not know who we are?

It is the greatest compliment of compliments to be told, "we are so much alike," when it is spoken by one you admire, and conversely the most profound of insults when someone you don't much care for finds you a like-minded companion. Yet somehow, we keep performing. It's an ever present need for connection, and this perhaps is not a weakness.There are some women, like myself, who at their core are the complimentary essence of the men she will love - in all their iterations. A woman who can mold into many creatures is not flawed by her flexibility.

She must however identify elements of secret personal strength, things that only she knows, and keep special those characteristics that are unchanging. Unhurt by temporary perceptions, story telling pattern seeking reflections, she can proudly inhale the perfume of her own uniqueness, and know that no matter what she reflects today, she is her own woman.

As I continue on this journey to strengthen that core essence, I am grateful to curl up safely tonight with no need to see myself in another's reflection, Naked with Chanel No 5.

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