Monday, December 27, 2010

mirror, mirror.

they always looked so lonely to me, and i never understood how people could be so cruel as to keep them in such a small bowl, floating in one place for, well... for the rest of their lives. siamese fighting fish, or betta fish, live solitary lives not because it is cruel as i had thought growing up, but because in most situations they will attack or kill any other betta fish they are near, as they are very territorial.

i recently visited my brother tim in washington, dc, and he had one such amazing fish. it had a beautiful long tail, multi colored in purple and blue's. we began to talk about it and he was telling me random facts and behaviors of this 'lonely' fish and mentioned its aversion to mirrors. i had never heard about this and so tim showed me, the 'trick' is to hold a mirror up to the tank of the siamese fighting fish and it will puff up to more than twice its size because it thinks that in the mirror is another betta fish and must now defend its territory. it worked, the fish grew exponentially and it was fascinating to see. we tried it a few more times but i soon felt cruel myself because even after the mirror was gone the fish would swim in circles looking for its attacker.

mirror. the enemy was a mirror.

i am a betta fish. i would assume if were honest with ourselves that most of us are. it is so easy to see others flaws, we can judge at ease, and mocking silently is a sad habit for most of us. we can see easily the problems and map out the obvious solutions in others but when it comes to us, we maintain that 'though we are not perfect, others are worse'. and then comes the mirror.

not to many of us have true mirrors in our lives, they are a very few HONEST select friends, loved ones, or lovers that show us exactly who we are or what we are doing. they inform us that we are failing, that we have a personality flaw, or we are not living up to our potential. and what do we do? we blow up, we circle, and then look to attack. most of us cannot handle the truth when we come face to face with the honesty in the mirror. i know i can't, i want to believe that i have it sorted, that i have come to a place in my life where i am 'good' or have most things figured out. but i don't and it was idiotic to think that i have anything figured out.

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
- William Shakespeare

for those who are blessed (like me) to have a mirror, make sure the next time they are honest with you that your first reaction is NOT to blow up or attack, because from observation that seems to lead to a very enclosed and lonely life. we can all change, we can all reach far beyond what we ever thought possible in our own lives but it is going to take working through those areas in life that are lacking.

'The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.'
Proverbs 12:15

there is someone reading this who thinks they have it figured out or is pretending that they can't relate to this post... and for those people i have a challenge. find your mirror, and ask. thats it. just ask. ask them what areas they feel you can change, or from the outside what do they see in your life is holding you down. most of us don't want to hear the answer... i know i don't. but we have too if we hope to keep from an isolation and stagnation. don't fight your mirror, just stare.

-esteban

'we have found the enemy, and he is us.'
-pogo