I loved the reading “Mirroring by Lucy Grealy. I found it very enjoyable to read and a very touching story. I also found that although most of us have never gone through an experience so unbearable, it still was very relate able on a much lower level. For example, when she says “Chemotherapy was a nightmare and I wanted it to stop; I didn’t want to be brave anymore. Yet I had frown so used to defining myself as “brave” that the thought of losing this sense of myself was even more terrifying.”(page 78) Later on in the reading, she goes on to say how she was so ashamed by her face and she could never admit how much the constant change affected her. (page 84) She would just tell people how she had gotten used to the change, even though it was killing her, just to keep her image of bravery. This can be so relate able at times. So many times I find myself continuing to do things, even if I don’t want to, just because it is how I am known and I am afraid to change the way people think of me. I think we forget to realize that its okay to have things bother you. Its okay to show what you really feel. Its okay to cry and show that you need someone to help you be strong. I was always told that it’s okay to expect imperfection. Its not setting your standards lower, its being real.

I also found very relate able that the little things that people tell us defines us can really end up making us who we are not. For example, all the people she knew kept telling her to be brave and not cry over and over. To them, it may not really have been so meaningful these words. They were probably trying to just find words to comfort her. But to her, it kept her from reacting the real way she wanted to react. Even though in my eyes she couldn’t be more brave for doing all the things she does, she still had to keep herself from crying because of what everyone is telling her. I find this happens in everyday life as well. People are constantly trying to define our image, when our image doesn’t even have to be constant. People change every day. One day we are brave, one day we need someones bravery to get us through the day. Sometimes I feel that we all forget that we are only humans and don’t always have to be strong.

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One Response to Mirrorings

  1. Marina,
    Your post was insightful and I could not agree more. It is frightening to change not only because we don’t always know what we’ll become (HOW we’ll change), but also because we worry people will perceive us once we do change. Sometimes we set our standards of “brave” and “good” so high that we stifle ourselves and crush under pressure. This is difficult enough for the general populace, but even more so (as we would imagine) for those with terminal illnesses or others we deem different from everyone else. I sympathize with Lucy Grealy’s pain and struggle to be brave, and can relate it to Nancy Mairs’s narrative. Once in a while, Nancy feels like breaking down and letting her status as an MS victim dominate her life and identity. For example, once she drops a can of tomatoes and yells out that she wishes she wasn’t a cripple. But she rises above this momentary frustration. Mairs is strong and takes a more laid-back, accepting, and even resigned approach to her illness, living her life as normally as she possibly can (of course with the help of her family). However, Grealy has a much tougher time accepting her illness and exuding the kind of the strength that Mairs appears to have, even in the face of adversity. Do you think Mairs handles her illness better than Grealy and is stronger/more brave? If so, why? Where do you think Mairs musters this emotional and psychological strength/braveness? Is Grealy under more pressure to be brave than Mairs is?

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