If you’ve never heard the song ‘Piece of Glass’ by Caedmon’s Call, you really should listen to it. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song. I heard it tonight as I did a couple of things that I haven’t done in a very long time, if ever. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed my anxiety level rising. There is a very good reason for that – I’ve been waiting for something specific to happen. I hate waiting. The scenarios that I allow to play out in my head can almost be comical. Sleeping and eating patterns are greatly affected. It’s hard to focus on much other than what I’m waiting for. But in this moment, I am choosing to trust – and to learn from the anxiety.
I got up pretty early this morning – especially for a Saturday – and I thought I’d be able to fall asleep fairly quickly tonight. As soon as my head hit the pillow, my mind started spinning. It didn’t take long to figure out that I would not be falling asleep in the near future. I’ve always had trouble shutting my mind off at night. I love to sleep, but it is often difficult to actually fall asleep. As I was debating whether to stay in bed or get up, I remembered something. Back when I was teaching dance, I used to go to the studio late at night. I had a key, and it was a wonderful place to escape. I used to dance in the dark. It was some of the best therapy for me. It didn’t matter if I was anxious, sad, or excited. I would dance. Sometimes, I would learn something. Sometimes, I would be able to work through my emotion (something that has never been easy for me). But mostly, it would allow me to shut my mind off and go to sleep. So tonight…I got out of bed, grabbed my IPOD, and danced in the dark. I had forgotten what a wonderful thing that is. Why I forget that is a long story, but tonight I remembered. I also realized something as I was dancing.
‘Piece of Glass’ started to play, and I was about to skip ahead to the next song. As much as I love that song, I was enjoying dancing to songs that were a little more upbeat. But one of the things I’ve been learning in the last few months is to listen very closely to God’s whispers and leadings. I distinctly heard, “Listen to the song. Listen to the words. Live them.” That last part is what got me. One of the reasons I like this song so much is that it resonates with me – at least the first three-fourths of the song. I have lived them all of my life.
Being in dance classes from the time I was three meant that I was constantly surrounded by mirrors. I hate mirrors. They force me to look at myself. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never liked myself. I was taught at a very young age that there was nothing there to like. The picture that was painted of me in my head was not pretty or good. So why would I want to see myself in a mirror? I became really good at looking into a mirror without actually looking at myself. When I would occasionally catch a glimpse of myself, it made me sick. All I could see was the picture in my head that was created by the lies I had been told all my life. That was not something I wanted to look at. What I’ve been realizing recently is that reflection – completely false – was driving me. It was not only how I saw myself, but it colored how I saw the world and how I saw others. Very few decisions were ever made without at least a consideration of that reflection.
As I listened to this song tonight, I knew what God had meant by ‘Live them.’ It’s the last part of the song that I haven’t ever lived – haven’t been able to truly hear and accept. Here are the words…
Who are you that cries when you stare in my face
Telling me that I’m just a trace of the person I once was
Cause we’re not the same; you’re just a picture of me
You’re gone as soon as I leave; you’ve lived my life for me
And you’re no more than a piece of glass
I have mirrors along one of the walls of my living room. I’ve given private dance lessons in my apartment before, and the mirrors are very helpful for teaching (and learning). Of course, I don’t really ever look at them. I did tonight. I looked at my reflection as I listened to this song. For the first time, I think I saw my true reflection – no expectations placed on me by others; no lies about my worth as a person; no fears of not being good enough. Just me.
I’m wired (and have been taught) to be a perfectionist so I can’t tell you that I completely loved what I saw. But…it was a lot better than the picture that has always been there. I was able to tell that picture that it would no longer live my life for me. I’ve been learning so much about who I am in the past year. It’s not been an easy journey, and I still have a long way to go. But for the first time, I am comfortable in my own skin. I actually have confidence. That’s something that I’ve never been able to say before. It feels good. And I finally have a good foundation to build on. Truth to replace the lies. It won’t always be easy, and I won’t always get it right, but I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned or how far I’ve come in the last two months for anything in the world.
The piece of glass is not driving me.