“The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
I learned that when I was studying photojournalism, and I have never forgotten it. It is probably the thing I’ll most remember about people.
I saw a family walking into a public gathering recently. The mom was holding the hands of two of her three children. Her outfit was flattering and put together, but her eyes suggested she was feeling something else entirely.
Her husband walked next to her in a soldier stride, and I thought to myself, is she just like me?
Was she trying to keep all of the spinning plates from falling before leaving the house? Resigning to let some of them fall for the sake of peace and harmony?
Did she order her husband around much like an additional child to help ready the troops for departure? Does she disguise her requests with questions, for example Do you want to get the kids out to the car while I finish packing up? Translation: Take the kids out to the car while I finish packing up.
Did she try on an outfit and ask her husband if it looked stupid? Did she look in the mirror, proud of herself for trying something a little more daring…. only to change back into the same old safe clothes just before leaving?
Does she look in the mirror and wonder what she likes to do in her spare time?
Does she pack average school lunches without cute faces or notes? Does she sneak pieces of candy for herself while the kids are watching tv?
Does she secretly wish that just once she could be the pretty girl, but quickly feel relieved that she doesn’t have to face that kind of pressure? Does she then chuckle a little bit about the thought as she goes to change her shirt again because someone wiped their runny nose on it?
Does she see abused kids on the news and then feel guilty for failing to see her blessings and falling back into a martyr mentality?
Does she feel guilty about feeling guilty, and then feel guilty all over again?
Do her kids eat vegetables? Does her car have dents in it?
Does she have a stubborn student loan that refuses to leave?
Does she use tv with the kids to save her sanity?
Does she sometimes leave the house on an errand just so the kids are strapped in and locked down in one place? And does she take the long way home?
Does she have everything written down in a little planner, and does she cross everything off of her to-do list? Does she get her family off where they’re supposed to be on time?
Does she ever stand in the middle of the kitchen in sweatpants and messy hair?
What do her eyes say? Does she have it all together, or is she just like me?