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My Looking Glass
by Vicky Nabors

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When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? What thoughts wander through your mind, truth or fantasy? For many, a mirror is a frightening object because it doesn't lie. A mirror doesn't just present a topical image of people either; it invites them to venture deeper into themselves. It's all in the eyes! I invite you to take a few minutes to explore your eyes in the mirror. Don't be scared, my friends! It won't hurt!

But it will reveal many parts of you that you'd rather not see, parts of you that have been cemented behind an invisible brick wall. Eyes are the looking glass to the soul. In this metaphysical place, we can safely hide those parts of us that, for various reasons, we'd rather not face; it's a denial of the truth. I sense that many of you fear this idea and will probably avoid the mirror for the rest of the month. That's a funny thought, people ducking whenever they see a mirror.

Denial is an interesting phenomenon because people actually think they can ignore unpopular parts of who they are, bad choices they've made, programmed beliefs, or unfortunate situations they've experienced. Denial results when something inside or outside of us makes us uncomfortable; thus, we attempt to hide it from others, and more importantly, from ourselves.

Here's some examples: you can't spell or do multiplication, have thinning or damaged hair (weave), have three nipples (that's right, I said three), had unprotected sex too many times, had sex with the opposite sex—and enjoyed it (hum!), continuously enter into bad relationships, are obsessed with something that isn't good for you, really find church oppressive —but attend anyway and play 'the Hallelujah game,' find interracial relationships or bisexuality attractive, believe that homosexuality IS a sin, was molested, grew up with negligent parents, or just did something stupid. You may not admit it, but these hidden parts of you escape from time-to-time causing unexplained drama for others. But, you make some lame excuses for your behavior and move on.

Many of you will, one day, be forced to explore your personal looking glass, as I was some years ago. Once I began to look, however, something interesting happened; I couldn't stop looking. I guess it was time for me to grow and develop towards my full potential; but this meant facing parts of my life that I'd denied for years.

That was the first step of my development, it had to be done—it was do or die! What finally persuaded me to 'go there,' was the fear that I'd die sick, spiritually broken, broke, and thrown away like so many others before me. That I'd report to a job every day that would overwork and underpay me, and engage in relationships that would slowly destroy my mind, body, and soul.

So many of our female ancestors have walked this path because they didn't have a choice. Today, we do have choice. But, many of you are still taking the wrong road called 'Denial Street'—it's a dead-end road gurls.

A few years ago, I wrote on the issue of acceptance, which is the other side of denial. Acceptance is not always comfortable, but provides some great rewards. 'Hakunnamatata,' my favorite Disney theme song from the Lion King, says it best; it means no worries for the rest of your days.

Acceptance is like a diet, because you slowly trim away your fears and insecurities by facing and dealing with them. It's not that you have to do anything with them—just accept that they exist or that it happened, learn and move on. These unfortunate realities become our foundation of wisdom that we pass on to others. Recently, during the long Pride and Black Pride Celebration, I was forced to re-visit my looking glass. Fortunately, I've learned not to deny my truth many years ago.

So as a result, today I accept the fact that I've been replaced by a new generation of fascinating and energetic baby-dykes. Now, I'm 'Old School.' That's cool, because 'hip-hop' can never replace my 'funkaliscous' groove. Just send me a few 'Old School' fems to keep me company.

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