By Tashmica Torok
Have you ever watched yourself? We all make quick glances in the mirror on our way out the door. I am wondering if you ever spend time consciously noticing how you move through the world. Lately, I have. It has been a time of evaluating my reflection. Finding new parts of myself and parts that, as it occurs to me now, I just locked away in a trunk for later perusal.
Do you crave noise? I do. I want music loud and ringing. I don’t want the music to reflect how I wish I felt. I want it to reflect how I feel in the moment and then I hit repeat until that feeling changes. I let it play until I no longer hear it and it is just the sound of the wind.
Do you want to write on the wall? I do. When my emotions get the best of me I want them to be freed. I want them on the wall and scrawled on my skin. I do not wish for them to be censored for anyone. I want them to be read by all because they are too big to sit in my mind. I want tattoos. I do not want pictures of characters or symbols on my shoulders. I want words written down my arms like “libertine”, “victory” or “fire”.
Do you need to run? I do. I stand at my door with the music blazing in my ears and my nerves tossing my feet to the beat. I run until I am breathless because I am not a runner. I am not a physical runner. I am an emotional runner. When I cannot run any longer I walk quickly until my sides ache, my thighs burn and my restlessness runs out.
Do you need red lipstick? I do. I need it thick and bright. I want it in a tube with the name rage or vixen on a tiny sticker. I choose the lipstick because the name pricks a feeling I am having. I wear it early in the day and not in the evening like stylists recommend. What do they know anyway?
Do you smile at people all the time? I do. I wonder why. I wonder if it’s because of the friendliness in me or the people pleaser. Does that matter? Should I wonder if they deserve my kindness before I so freely give it to them? Nevertheless, I do smile at oncoming strangers. I get peeved if they don’t smile back. Do they find me undeserving of their kindness?
I have watched myself. I almost always eat my fries before my burger. I will avoid public restrooms to the point of pain. All of my favorite romantic films are about a broken woman loved for what she is. I have an A-type personality without the organizational skills necessary to fulfill my expectations. I will wear heels to the soccer field if I can’t bring myself to take them off because I love them so much. I will try something new, out of character and uncomfortable just because.
You should watch yourself. Trust me. What you find will be interesting. It will make you think about who you are and why. You will find things you hate and you will find things that you love. You will find a nesting doll that you can decide to repaint or set to the side and keep. It will be refreshing and ravaging all at the same time. A chosen metamorphosis that could be the person you hope to be.
When you see yourself clearly, introduce yourself. Does that sound silly? In the hectic world of work, eat, feed and survive, you are going to be surprised by yourself. We spend more time on living than we do reflecting. That is the way it should be. However, we still need to take the time to pay attention to who we are becoming in the melee.
Are you finding your way to the place you hoped to be or are you standing in a stagnant puddle? Are you mourning the life you could’ve had or are you pushing yourself in a new direction? It is too late for some of your dreams. It is inevitable that a few of the hopes you had as a child will not have waited for you. Let them go and draw new dreams before you find you spent your life focused on what will never be.
I am drawing now. My fingers are soot covered from the charcoal sticks. When the barista hands me my coffee, I wonder if she sees the tips of my fingers and thinks I am an artist. I am a horrible artist. This is not art. This is dreaming. Sometimes it’s dirty but I am worth the erasure and sketching it takes to edit my picture.
What are you worth? I can’t sit here behind my computer screen and say, “You are worth it!” It wouldn’t really matter to you if I did. I don’t know you. You have to decide your worth for yourself. You have to decide that you’re worth the rebuilding.
These decisions have to be made from the interior. I hope that in watching yourself you determine that you are good and worthy.
As for me, my music will be blaring, the words will be written in bold and I will be smiling brightly in red. The smile will be for me. I have determined that I am good and worthy. I will be like Harold and the Purple Crayon with the exception that I will never be afraid to erase my brush strokes. My picture is fearless.
Tashmica Torok is a local entrepreneur, blogger and community activist. She is the co-owner of Heritage Flooring, a professional flooring installation company, the Mid-Michigan Coordinator for the Michigan Darfur Coalition and the author of the popular blog Mother Flippin’: One Funny Mother.
For more information about Tashmica or her small independent business visit, www.mother-flippin.blogspot.com or www.thetorokheritage.net.
This column was printed in the October 24, 2010 - November 6, 2010 edition.