I Can’t See My Reflection. But Thanks to My Son, I Know I’m Beautiful.
I’m a vampire. I can’t see my own reflection. In fact, I haven’t been able to see it since I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2008. My son, Asher, has no memory of me with vision. He has always accepted me the way I am. But I haven’t.
One of the toughest things to come to terms with when dealing with RP is the gradual decline in your ability to clearly focus on and define objects. I have struggled with my sight loss, and oftentimes caught myself wishing I could just do some simple tasks again like quickly glancing into a mirror with my own eyes to confirm that my outfit, make-up and hair all appear the way I envision them.
I have learned many adaptive techniques to confidently make myself presentable every day without assistance. But the one thing that has nagged at me is wondering exactly how I look now. I can picture my fashion choices, but I have difficulty comprehending my actual facial structure and physique. Do I still look as becoming as I did the day I first got married or even the day my son was born? My appearance is out of my sight, but it’s most certainly not out of my mind.
Coping with this reality lead me to also doubt my beauty. So for the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to do some deep soul searching. My search came to a pleasant yet unexpected end one evening during bath time.
While rinsing the suds off my sweet little boy, Asher simply said, “Mom, you should wear that pretty dress again.”
“Which one? I have several pretty dresses?” I asked curiously.
“The one in the picture when you and Daddy got married,” Asher explained.
Then it donned on me that my husband and I had recently gotten a special wedding photo framed, commemorating our 15th wedding anniversary. It was a new addition to our living room. Still, I didn’t realize that Asher had been taking much notice of it.
“What made you think of that?” I asked.
“Because, Mommy,” he replied with the upmost sincerity, “because you’re so beautiful.”
In that instant, my son demonstrated his whole-hearted acceptance for who and how I am.
Through his simple words, I understood that when he looks at me, he sees a loving, caring, giving and capable parent. In short, he sees his mom, not his blind mom. That’s true beauty!
Ever since that memorable conversation, I recognize that my child is a far more accurate reflection of my soul than any image in a mirror could have ever provided. Through the eyes of my child, I learned that it’s not my disability that defines me, nor is it a barrier to who I am as a person.
My limited sight is just one part of how I am, not who I am. It is the light that shines from within me and is reflected in my son’s perspective, which tells me, inside and out, that I’m beautiful!
As a vampire, I may not have the ability to view my own reflection in a mirror. But I’m blessed to have the immortal, unconditional acceptance from my son who sees me more perfectly than I ever did.
The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one unexpected source of comfort when it comes to your (or a loved one’s) disability and/or disease? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.
Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.
And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.