This theme stirs up a mixed bag of emotions for me. On one hand I am supposed to be proud of who I have become, love myself, not body shame the person in the mirror. On the other hand, I feel like I shouldn’t love the person in the mirror because of my crimes.

Society has these weird unspoken rules about forgiveness and shame. Love your body but take responsibility when your overweight. Overweight being no longer normal, but overweight. Forgive, but don’t forget, which isn’t really forgiveness in the first place. Serve prison time, get out rehabilitated and corrected having served your time, now go tell everyone exactly what you did or you’ll go back to prison. Be ashamed of yourself but somehow learn to forgive enough in order to function without problems.

Now, take all that and look in the mirror and tell me what you see.

I’m confused and a little irritated about it. Like when I look and feel great, until I eat, then I feel morbidly obese. Like when I get this ‘effin stubble off my face just to have it appear five minutes later. Like when I begin writing someone new I am super excited before they stop writing me without explanation.

What I want, as in what my actual feelings ought to be, I want to look in the mirror and love the person looking back at me. Only, without the mirror having to be there. I want to be proud of myself.

Did you know I graduate college with my Associates Degree officially on August 24th? Whoever you are, maybe you are obligated to say “good job” because I’m a caged animal. Like when a monkey cradles a baby doll instead of mauling it or hurling it like a Frisbee before it throws a palm full of shit against the observatory glass. You know…congrats on the degree, at least you didn’t rape or murder anyone today.

That’s how it feels, might not be true, maybe it is. I don’t get enough contact with the outside world to know what anyone thinks. If they do at all. Folks always claim “I’m just so busy.” To which I always reply with “I understand, me too.” Which really means “I don’t understand at all. Either your too lazy or don’t care.” Either one is fine by me, at least its honest.

I’d rather cope with your truth than wade through your lies any day. Which brings us back to the mirror. I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to lie about me anymore. I wasn’t going to be me, even when it sucked or was boring or really selfish. I was going to own “me.”

When I look in the mirror, the truth is people, I don’t really mind what I see. I used to hate the man in there but I have done some extreme work to that person and I’m not even recognizable to what I used to be. So its okay, I’m okay.

I may not be perfect, I may have a past, but I’ve owned it and continue to pay my price. Now I’m gonna go live life.

With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle Utnage