A Poem, A Class and A Connection

This summer I am taking part in the Fox Valley Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I am super excited to be a part of it.

Last Saturday, during the orientation, one of the instructors shared the book The Best Part of Me, which is a wonderful book about body image, self esteem and diversity. In the book, children responded to the question, “What is the best part of you?” Some of their responses made me laugh heartily. Some brought tears to my eyes. All responses made me think deeply.

And the funny, ironic thing is, that last week, I shared the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams with my 6th grade ELA classes. We used it to create our own “So much depends upon…”  poems. Since that time I had been tossing around an idea in my head.  Saturday’s class provided the perfect opporunity to put it all together.

So here it is…

 

“The Image in the Mirror”

Inspired by “The Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams

 

So much

depends upon the image

reflected

in the mirror.

 

When compared to

a supermodel,

an actress,

an athlete…

the reflection

is a source of disappointment,

a source of shame,

a source of pain.

 

The clavicle,

the ribs,

the ilium…

not prominent enough.

 

The cheeks,

the breasts,

the buttocks…

too full.

 

The abdomen,

the biceps,

the quadriceps…

too soft.

 

Too

much

time

wasted

judging the image

reflected

in the mirror.

 

Why does it matter?

Why is it so important,

when the image

of others

matters

not

one

bit?

 

It’s their thoughts,

their dreams,

their successes,

their fears,

their failures…

that’s what matters.

 

That’s

who

they really are.

 

Am I afraid

to share

who I am with others?

 

Is that why

my self-worth

is so intertwined

with the image

reflected in the mirror?

 

Perhaps,

it’s not the image in the mirror that

so much depends

upon…

 

but rather

the self acceptance

 of the person

looking in the mirror.

 

Karen Hovie

2015

 

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