22 July 2011

a time without mirrors

about a week ago on Twitter, I believe it was Jamie Keiles (for whom I uploaded a pic on Flickr devoted to her Seventeen Magazine project) who mentioned the blog A Year Without Mirrors. its gist is, the woman behind it got so sick of obsessing over her looks while shopping for a wedding dress that, six months before the wedding, she decided to avoid mirrors for a full year. that takes guts regardless of the massive fuss involved with planning a traditional wedding.

at one point she had a poll in the sidebar, asking how often you look at yourself in the mirror: never, rarely, sometimes, or all the time. with sheepishness, I realized I belonged to the last category. despite my lifelong struggles with body image and identity, I check myself out in the mirror at every turn. see, I never used to think I was "hot." I was prepared to wallow in fat obscurity for the rest of my life. then someone I found attractive found me equally attractive. I figured he was the kind of guy who could get any woman he wanted, and he chose me, however temporarily.

it's been downhill ever since. not only am I still not happy with my body, I'm strangely vain about it anyway. I feel okay with finding myself attractive, but if another shares the sentiment, I wonder what's wrong with them, or that it must be a joke. mirrors have helped fuel this narcissism. I dress up, I put on makeup, I strut out the door thinking "damn I look good"...and if no one else seems to feel the same way, I come home crushed and regretful. I'm sick of constantly checking my face for new laugh lines or making sure my cleavage is just so. I'm sick of trying to emulate models or actresses or even tarted-up cartoons. none of those is real, but I am. the two concepts don't jibe.

so I took down the huge mirror screwed to my front hallway wall. if the super complains I'll put it back up, but with curtains covering it. (I hope he doesn't, I found an old painted-over mirror panel behind the hung mirror!) I need to figure out how to cover up my triple-mirrored medicine cabinet doors; fabric scraps should take care of that. the only real problem I see is, I often use myself for reference whilst drawing comics. I think I can handle a utilitarian glimpse now and then in my portable half-length mirror.

I can't help but feel this will be incredibly freeing. I'll still look the same overall, only now I won't be a slave to that fact. I'm also hoping to get in touch with my body, in a way; to feel its inner strength for myself, instead of relying on my eyes. I want to love myself on a level beyond physicality. most of all, I just want to be.


Kjerstin Gruys said...

Hey! This is Kjerstin from www.ayearwithoutmirrors.com. I'm really touched by your post, and I hope you're hanging in there. I'd love to hear how it's going!

gluggy said...

I think it is the media that is constantly accepting these super skinny Hollywood people. EVERYONE in Hollywood and magazines are superskinny!Ido love the "dove"ads. They are all differnt shapes and sizes.

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