One of my favorite fairy tales as a child was the story of Snow White. I was fascinated by her life and her princess lifestyle. Sure, she had a tough time, but she emerged victorious and ended up with a prince. Who, let’s face it, played only a cameo role, despite being a saviour, which appealed to the budding rebel and feminist in me. I had a beautiful hard-cover storybook with beautiful pictures of Snow White in her castle, and the most magnificent picture was the one of the stepmother standing in a stunning gown in front of her magic mirror demanding to know who was the fairest of them all.
As I grew older, much, much older, and life and humanity beat the idealism and fairy tales out of me, and I began to identify more with the stepmother and the looking glass she held before herself. I realized that this, my favorite childhood story, held other lessons besides that of being beautiful, young, and patient. I realized that I, and quite possibly you, we all possess magic mirrors. We all create this unique lens for ourselves shaped by our experiences of how we view the world and want to see ourselves. And most importantly, how we would like the world to see us. Social media seems to be the mirror of choice for most people these days, and our images are distorted to capture the best 5 percent of our lives… which, truth be told, is a pretty dishonest thing to do to ourselves and others.
But deep down inside us, when we take a close and hard look at ourselves, what do we see? Did we run down a friend, did we not show gratitude or return favors in equal measure, did we take more than we gave, did we lie about our accomplishments and affections, did we mean what we said in kindness or unkindness?
I realized some years ago I didn’t like my reflection too much. I didn’t really like some of the people I was hanging out with, and I was trying too hard to fit in with those who did not share my values. I realized I was not writing enough, nor was I standing up for what I believed in. I had not forgiven myself or others for mistakes made, and I held onto the past in unhealthy ways. So I stepped away from those people. It left me isolated, and they came after me like spitting cobras for walking away, but I felt better about myself. For four years I didn’t post anything on social media, and it was liberating. I started writing again and published two books on the back of being true to my art. My healing abilities rocketed as I spent more time looking inwards. I didn’t get to socialize as I once did, but the few connections I focused on were, and are, profoundly enriching to my soul.
And so the journey continues… I allow my magic mirror to tell me the truth these days, unvarnished by any illusions I may have of myself. And then I go to work on that truth. It’s awfully hard most of the time, and I truly hate what I see on some days. But I do know that before I leave this world, I want to be my own Prince Charming and rescue myself from the perils of my own ego. I have understood that to truly see beauty in myself, my outer and inner selves need to match in authenticity. There’s no point in being a shiny apple on the outside and filled with poison on the inside. I know I want to look into my magic mirror someday and have it look back at my heart and soul and say I’m the fairest of them all…
I guess I want my life to be a fairy tale. Do you? And if so, what would you like your mirror to reflect… for in the answer to this question lies all you need to be everything you need to be.
Sangeetha Shinde Tee is an author of four books, editor of 3 international magazines, an acclaimed healer, and reluctant entrepreneur. Also an unconventional traveler, rebellious truth seeker, and inveterate animal rescuer, she is working on her fifth book – a collection of ghost stories from around the world. Find out more about her life, books, and work at www.sangeethashindetee.com