I tell her the reason is not that people don’t want to see her. No. People don’t want to see themselves.
I tell her humans are complex. We all have multiple layers to our stories. People who call her experience of the world “nonsense” are people who actively avoid introspection.
I tell her introspection is hard. Hearing that she is surviving anxiety or grief or depression or shame is the same, for them, as looking in the mirror.
The people who turn her away with words like “suck it up,” “take a pill,” “you’re a liar” –these are the humans in the most pain. These are the humans who find themselves the ugliest, loathe themselves the most. These are the humans afraid of humanity because humanity requires vulnerability. These are the humans who will deny they are denying themselves, who will outright attack her, who will lambast and rage and burn her with fire and never realize the anger and disdain are reflections of their inner turmoil. I remind her that she knows this; she used to be one of these humans.
I remind her they are seeing just one piece of her self puzzle. They believe they are seeing her all. What they are is in error. I tell her it is not her job to correct them.
In the mirror, I tell her she is beautiful. Truly beautiful. Because, in the mirror, I see how whole she is. How healed, how hurt, how loving, how loved, how strong, how vulnerable, how brave, how afraid, how confused, how concerned and how joyful.
In the mirror, I remind her they are monochrome. Their life has beautiful, messy graffiti, but they don’t see their colors. They have blinded themselves to see only their brightness. But she knows brightness is dull without darkness to offset it. And, while they are not dull or bad or loathsome, they are neither bright nor great nor fully loved.
I remind her that she knows this because she was never fully loved until she could love herself. And she could never love herself until she also loved her vulnerabilities and darknesses.
I remind her they are hurting just as much as she is. They simply choose not to know it.
I remind her so she can keep her heart open without being hurt. So she can survive their rejection. So she can be proud of what she has done.
I remind her, and she smiles. She breathes deeply. She continues surviving.