It is interesting to observe that it doesn’t matter the subject, most of the time, the difficulty is always the same, “finding balance”. This text does not intend to suggest that people should be narcissistic, fall in love with their own image and completely forget about the world around them. Not so much that they should stop feeling beautiful and only value their inner beauty. This text aims to share my quest to accept who I am.
I remember when I was younger I admired some older actresses so much for their beauty. It was something that went beyond fine features, perhaps it was the posture and attitude of someone who feels happy when looking in the mirror. I wanted to be as beautiful as they were, as confident as they were, but I didn’t quite know what to do. Time passed and I had other, more pressing matters to focus on, and, without a doubt, my vanity and self-care were pushed aside.
Recently, I allowed myself to dive into the world of series and movies without worrying about tomorrow (yes, I was on vacation). I binge-watched all the seasons of the series that were waiting for me and I made good use of the gigantic collection of DVDs that a friend passed on to me. Among them, a movie and a series resonated with the same message: “The importance of self-love”.
The movie “Good Luck to you, Big Leo” (available on Hulu) escapes the cliché plot of a client who falls in love with a sex worker. The client (Emma Thompson), a woman over 60, widowed and determined to try something new, hires Leo’s services and over the course of four dates, the film exposes insecurities and prejudices that every woman has felt at some point in her life.
The dialogues were meticulously constructed, Emma Thompson is spectacular in the role of a former teacher of religious education, used to pleasing others and who decides to reconcile with herself. For someone who has always done everything for others, allowing oneself to be heard is much more difficult than one might imagine.
One of the scenes that impressed me the most in the film is when the widow is in front of the mirror, in the hotel room where the dates take place, and finally manages to contemplate herself. Seeing your own image in the mirror for many people is a source of shame. It’s a very delicate scene, without any lines, but it says a lot. Especially for those who have always had difficulty looking at themselves in the mirror.
In an interview during the Berlin Film Festival, Emma Thompson highlighted the importance of this scene and how many of us have the same difficulty. How difficult it is to face yourself in front of the mirror because everything around us reminds us of how imperfect we are and how everything is wrong and needs to be improved. She then challenges: “Try to stand in front of the mirror, don’t move, don’t hide, don’t judge, and just accept what you see.”
The film was clearly written for a female audience, the taboos that the film brings are part of the daily lives of many women, and it is time to be discussed openly in society. It is very difficult not to relate to any point in the film if you are from the same generation as mine or before.
Not a month after having watched the aforementioned movie I came across the Queer Eye Brasil series (Netflix). My mother was the one who introduced me to the show still in its original formation. The focus is to help the participant remember the importance of self-care with the same affection that they treat others. Usually, the person chosen was referred by a friend or family member. Each queer is responsible for contributing in some way to the transformation of the chosen one who gets a makeover in the house, in the closet, in their look, and is motivated to adopt a change in behavior to make himself feel better.
Watching the Brazilian episodes, not all of them are as exciting and emblematic as the American ones. Although the moment of putting themselves in front of the mirror, they all have the same reaction: fear. On the first day, they barely look at their reflection and they must be invited to admire themselves. At the end of the week, with new clothes, hairstyle, and makeup, they remind themselves that they too deserve to be loved.
There are people who like to reflect on every minute of the day, I believe it’s boring and too much work to try to find a lesson or positivity in everything. However, I can’t deny that with age I’ve preferred to use my time to reflect on life and the world around me, even if my son rolls his eyes because I’m taking too seriously what I shouldn’t.
This vacation, I was reminded that I need to take care of myself just as much as I dedicate myself to the ones around me. For some time now I’ve been challenging myself to be a better version of myself, it’s been a slow process, but I can see some changes. Some days I have the courage to look in the mirror, not every day I can accept what I see, but most of the time I’m not that cruel to myself. I consider it a good start.