The mirror and I have a Hate Relationship. Yes, I said it correctly. There is no Love between us. I have perfected the art of looking in the mirror without truly seeing myself. I can do my hair and avoid looking at my face and body. I can put on makeup and focus on sections of my face at a time. I can check my outfit without taking in the whole view. The mirror is a necessary evil and the camera is its malicious cousin. I don’t think I know one person (…it’s not just women…) who actually enjoys mirror time. Well, maybe Caitriona Balfe. Have you seen her?! I mean if I was her, I would take my time to appreciate my exquisite gorgeousness. Long legs, flawless skin, beautiful mouth…things just got weird, didn’t they. Sorry. Anyhow….
Mirrors can be scary but looking is imperative. No one wants to walk around with a bat in the cave (booger in your nose for those of you who don’t speak immature-13-year-old) or leftovers in his/her teeth (I’m all about not wasting food but broccoli stores better in styrofoam than it does stuck to the side of your incisors). I do have moments when I can look and think my kangaroo pouch (what I lovingly call the stomach four pregnancies gifted me) doesn’t look too ginormous. For the most part, I leave the house thinking I’m doing okay only to come home, glance in the mirror, and notice a zit or the fact that I have half-deflated hair. Any of that sound familiar?
This past week I was part of a wake-up call conversation. Someone posed the question, “Have you ever looked in the mirror and been truly ashamed at what you saw?” The fact that the question was asked wasn’t what made me pause. The fact that I silently answered “Yes” to myself did. That really made me think. Has there ever been a time I’ve looked in the mirror and have actually liked what I’ve seen? I honesty could only think of two occasions. That is a BAD thing. I have two teenage girls. How am I supposed to prevent their self-assessments from being grossly distorted when I can’t do that for myself?
After I reflected (I swear, pun not intended) on that startling conversation, Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll came to mind. I know what you’re thinking – BOOK NERD ALERT! Stay with me. I’m about to make a point…at least I’m going to try to. The beginning of the story has Alice pondering on the reflections in the looking glass. She eventually goes through the looking glass to discover things are very different – opposite – of what they “should” be. I looked up the word “looking glass”. (You’re not snoring are you? Seriously, hang in there…) A looking glass is defined as a mirror; however, (and more importantly) it is defined as “being or involving the opposite of what is normal or expected.” Thank you very much, Google dictionary. We don’t need mirrors; we need looking glasses.
Unfortunately, when we look at our reflections, we bring expectations, hopes, definitions, and standards with us. What’s even worse is that 98% (…probably closer 100%) of the time those expectations, definitions, and standards come from some outside source AND ARE TOTALLY UNREALISTIC. My husband tells me on a daily basis (sometimes numerous times within a day) how beautiful I am and how sexy I am (..kids, if you’re reading this, you can stop the eye-rolling and gagging noises…). After 16 years, I don’t know if I’ve ever truly believed him. That seriously is ridiculous, right? What about you? What do you do when someone compliments you? That’s what I thought. Time to get a looking glass.
Fashion magazines tell us skinny (dangerously so) is normal. Ads tell us perfect, firm boobs busting out of our tops is normal. Society tells us long, tan legs and perfectly, round butt cheeks peeking out of our shorts is normal. Well guess what? I’m not skinny. My boobs haven’t been perfect, like ever and they sure as heck aren’t firm anymore (another token from four pregnancies). I have NEVER had long legs (hard to accomplish at 5’2″). I definitely have never been tan…sunburned, but never tan. If I wore short enough shorts, my butt cheeks would be peeking out – not because of the length of the shorts but because of gravity. So, according to most fashion and Hollywood standards, I’m a pale, saggy, gravity-victimized, Hobbit-like freak. For those of you who know me, is that how you see me? We need to see ourselves for the awesome creatures we are. Please, pull out the looking glass.
It’s not going to happen overnight. Self-depreciating humor is my forte. I can belittle and make fun of myself like nobody’s business. Seriously, if I could make a career of it, I would be a bagizziolionare (That’s a word, right?). We need to stop seeing the horrible ugliness and inadequacies that we have grown to expect. Take your mirror and stomp it in to a million little shards (metaphorically speaking – I REALLY hope you saw the metaphorical part before moving on…). It’s time to use the looking glass. It’s time to see what is opposite of what is “normal” or expected. Now, if you are one of the fortunate few who actually like (or at least not really mind) what you see in the mirror, keep it up. You rock!! You have perfected the art of using a looking glass properly. Use your powers for good and try to pass those skills to another. For everyone else, when you are confronted with your reflection and those nasty, negative, self-judegments start to flow, I want you to repeat after me, “Mirror, you can kiss my (looking gl)ass.” (I cleaned it up for the kids…feel free to alter to your needs.) From here on out, your only problem should be:
That’s right, you sexy beast. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.