Breaking away from my mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror?  What should you see?

I think that when I was child I saw my true reflection.  I didn’t have the usual adolescent body image issues…. at least not when I was an adolescent.  I looked in the mirror and saw what I really was.  If anything, I was a bit blind to my image; I didn’t check for fashion in the way that my peers did, so my “awkward” teen stage lasted longer than it had to.

Of course, over the years that changed.  I started to notice my weight, for good and bad.  I found gray hairs a few days before my 29th birthday.  I paid attention to the way my clothes did or didn’t accentuate my good features and hide my less good ones.  This was all pretty normal.  I never obsessed over my image (well, maybe a bit before a big date) and I didn’t worry about a slightly thicker waist, a little extra flab, or a bad haircut.  In fact, I think I’ve had a pretty healthy body image.

The interesting thing is that I haven’t been looking at the standard parts of my body in the mirror lately.  These days, when I look in the mirror I notice new pimples (a sign that some meds need to be adjusted), the worsening curve of my spine (yes, it’s visible from a quick look in the mirror), and dark bags under my eyes (I haven’t slept properly in many months.)  I pay attention to these things, but why?  I’m realizing a few things:

  • No one else notices them.  They are glaringly apparent to me, but the rest of the world just sees short stature, short hair, big boobs.
  • There is nothing I can do.  Sure, I see the curve in my back getting worse.  It means I need to lose weight and do more physical therapy.  But I already knew that.  Looking in the mirror doesn’t help.  The bags under my eyes could be hidden with makeup, but otherwise, I can’t do anything but get more sleep, and it’s not like I haven’t already tried that.  Seeing it doesn’t change it.
  • If I focus on the good parts of my body, the parts that look nice and don’t hurt, it could be a good distraction from the rest.
So yes, I’ll watch for symptoms that can be informative, like the pimples, but it’s time to start ignoring the rest.  If it isn’t helping, then it’s hurting, if not physically then definitely emotionally.
Ok, it’s time to go raid my closet for an outfit that makes me look hot.
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