Monday, May 2, 2011

Mirrors

Mirrors are funny things. How can we trust them to reflect back what’s really there? What do we really see? These thoughts came to mind as I saw a more pleasing version of my body in the Starbuck’s bathroom mirror. As I looked at myself, my hips and body looked slimmer. I wondered how accurate this mirror was. Was it my reflection or my perception or both?

As I pondered whether this mirror was made purposely to make the image appear "thinner", I remembered a story of a woman and her mother who for years saw their behinds as "large" when they looked into their home mirror. Another woman came along and checked out herself in the same mirror. "Hey, this mirror is off," said this woman. "Really?," exclaimed the other two. "Yes," said the third woman. "It makes your butt looked bigger." This astonished the other women who had convinced themselves that it was their bodies, not the mirror, that was distorted. Because of what the third woman said, the other two's perception changed. No longer was what the mirror reflected back real, but a distortion.

So again I ask, what is a mirror? Is it real? Is it a distortion or is the distortion based on perception? Was the third woman right or the third woman wrong?I wasn’t there. I didn’t see the distortion or lack thereof. Though I can’t quite comprehend why these two women didn’t figure it out until another person had to point it out to them. Why were they so invested in this false belief of themselves? Didn’t they see other mirrors or were the other mirrors equally as damaging?

How often do we see ourselves really? Or see what others see or don’t see? We can over-distort or under-distort - depending on conditioning - what we tell ourselves.

That day at Starbucks, I liked what I saw in the mirror. A few years ago, I would have been disappointed because I always punished myself as being "not thin enough". I regret that in my twenties I often paid attention to my supposed faults and less on my attributes. Time is passing. I have wrinkles, gray hair. Back in my "youth" I wish I appreciated more my supple skin. I know better now.

Sometimes I’m astonished to see such an old person looking back at me in the mirror. "Where did the wrinkles come from?," I ask. Then I remind myself I’m 42. I’m not concerned anymore at being perceived as sexy or in “competition” with other females. I’m concerned with myself, how I want to live my life and what I really want to get out of it over the next 30 years. I’m middle-aged. And I’m coming closer to self-acceptance. If I carry a few extra pounds, I’m not a failure at life. I'm letting go of other's negative comments about my body that I've allowed to control my thoughts and my self-perception. I'm focusing on what I do have - a functioning healthy body! However I choose to see the reflection, good or bad is ultimately how I want to relate to myself - and I want my relationship to be happy so I'll focus on the good.

2 comments:

goawaycomeback said...

I liked this one very much. I am your age so I totally relate to the wishing I'd known then what I know now and appreciating more of the physical attributes of my youth now as they "mature" LOL.I also like the emphasis on the perception being within my control. Always good to be reminded of that! It's such a joy to read your post as always. :)

it's that mykle! said...

Somedays you just see the right thing at the right time. Thanks honey!