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I have a tri-fold mirror in my bathroom that I took out of my parent’s house when we cleared out the old homestead, and I took it because it was an old friend of mine. My parents were not fond of crying, so when I was growing up they did not acknowledge or recognize our tears. Kids cry, I cried, so it was a significant dilemma. Having feelings that are not acknowledged is troubling, and with no where to go, really, quite bewildered at the problem of feeling bad and literally shedding tears, but having no one see it, as a child I did what I could to comfort myself and went to the bathroom mirror. There I saw a girl. She was crying. It seemed clear to me that that was what what was happening. I kept looking to be sure, because to me it seemed pretty evident that I was showing the signs of a sad person even though the adults around me seemed not to notice. It helped to see her there and know for sure, that I was sad. What a confusion it was. I spent half my adulthood straightening that confusion out, discovering that it is okay to cry, that others can see it, and that others care if you are sad. Thankfully, at the time, the mirror confirmed for me the feelings I thought I was having, and because of it I felt less alone.

Now I look in that same tri-fold mirror hanging in my own house and marvel at the life it has had, and the scenes it has witnessed. I wonder what my mother saw when she looked in that mirror years ago. Or my sisters and brothers. It seems none of them had the same fondness for it I’ve had, since I was the one who claimed it when the house came apart. Now it’s mostly just a mirror, but sometimes I still see the confirmatory girl in the reflection, only now she is happier, older, wiser, and looking there for a friend far less often.

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