I have a mirror on the closet door in my bedroom. It’s a 2-dimensional image of my body that I see every day, multiple times a day. No matter what size I have been, 6, 12, 16, 20, 10, 8, this mirror does not show me that I am beautiful.
It shows me my failures, both personal and physical. I see rolls, lumps, stretch marks, wrinkles that even when covered, do not disappear to my eyes. I feel the weight of four and a half decades hanging off my arms and stomach, dragging down the skin of my legs and expanding my waist.
It does not show me the power that the muscles of my legs are capable of producing on my bike. It does not show me that I can deadlift 220lbs. It does not reflect the suffering I have endured to gain strength and resilience, both physically and mentally.
It does not show me that I can be smart and funny (on paper). It does not show me that I can think of multiple things at once and not lose my mind. It does not reflect that I know where every piece of paper or article of clothing is in my messy house without consciously knowing its location. Ask my kid.
It does not show me how many times I have reinvented myself.
And then I go outside of my bedroom and see my reflection in different mirrors: in Target, my office, in my child’s eyes, in my husband’s. In my friends and family. In strangers.
They see a beauty that I do not in that mirror in my bedroom.
3 thoughts on “The Duplicity of Mirrors”
I get it but I don’t fully agree. The mirror shows you what it reflects. The social construct is in your head, not in the mirror.
You say tomato…. If I were to blame my alcoholism on everything around me, including social constructs, I’d have died due to liver failure two decades ago.
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Thank you, Jim. I take full responsibility for my perceived shortcomings. I don’t blame society, the media, other people. Open mouth, insert Good & Plenty. My point is that I, Sara, am not what is reflected in the mirror.
I got you, but what you see, whether correct, flawed, or socially constructed, is all Sara.
I suppose I look at mirrors differently. Before recovery, when I looked in the mirror, I saw a loser, and what I saw was right. Eventually I learned to like what I saw in the mirror, but that took some practice. My flaws aren’t a social construct, they’re flaws. I can get busy fixing them or accepting them. Maybe I’m not thinking deeply enough about it or I’m not getting the buzzwords translated in my melon right. Or perhaps I don’t care what society constructs, because I’m happy being me?
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