When I look in the mirror, I see….
one day a goddess, the next, the wicked witch of the west. one day a teacher, the next, a student. one day a woman with the potential of becoming a wife, the next, a woman employed by the oldest occupation in the world.
If you ask someone close to me, i think that they would say that I don’t change that much, other than one day feeling a little more punk or a little more hippie, so one day classic black chucks, the next barefoot.
but of course behind my eyes lies the harshest critic. my critic has countless versions of me, or better stated, many distortions of me. the best metaphor i can come up with is something that we have all experienced in the ophthalmologist office. after they puff that annoying air into your eyeballs, have you read the letters off the chart hanging on the back of the door, with all kinds of backwards and upside down letters on it (which by the way is a dyslexics nightmare) they determine that you need some assistance to see the world the way that is actually is supposed to look. Out comes the phoroptor. the strange fly looking set of lenses connected to a huge metal arm. the ever so familiar sound of the clicking and the doctor saying “how is that?”, “is that better?”, “how about now?” continues until the world is back in focus. everything looks ok, at least the way that we think it should look.
ahhhhhh, the world and all the things in it are clear again. how ridiculous is it that no one has invented glasses that correct what we see from the other side of our eyeballs, the soul side. quite frankly, i don’t mind that the freeway signs are a bit fuzzy or that I have to ask matthew to read me the title of the next mad men episode that we are going to watch. what i mind is that i will never be able to ask someone to read who i am to me. i will never be able to see what i really look like in the mirror, the reflection is never something that i can trust. the worst part is that when i ask someone if what is flying over our heads, is it an airplane or a hawk, i generally believe that they are seeing what i am asking about accurately. now when i ask if my ass looks fat in my jeans and the answer is “no, your ass is banging in those jeans” i don’t believe it. the mirror isn’t the problem, the person that i am asking isn’t the problem, its that my third eye still has its shutters closed.
this idea keeps popping up in most of my writing…relativity. perspective and how things look so differently to every single set of eyeballs on the planet. human beings, iguanas, kitty cats, elephants, birds, you get the idea. what we see changes over our lifetime as well. we start out all blurry eyed, vision gets clearer, vision gets jaded, then vision gets blurry again. i’m in my 40’s now and my vision seems to get worse with each passing week. funny that my self esteem seems to be taking the same hits.
there have been times that i have looked at my reflection and had a fleeting vision of a goddess, not a beauty queen or a supermodel, but just a goddess. there have been times that i see myself and i think to myself “I am not that bad.” i can get with what i see, not jump for joy because i am love with my body and can’t find one flaw, but just simply ok with it all.
has anyone ever experienced this phenomenon? you go to bed and overnight you gain 20 pounds? this has even happened to me in the course of a day. I feel like my thighs have increased in circumference by 10 inches, the yesterday version of me has morphed into Jabba the Hut. How does this happen? how can i see the Jabba in me but no ones else is pulling me aside and asking me “what the hell happened to you last night. when i dropped you off you were just layla, now you look like Jabba the Hut.” i always just assume that they are just being polite and socially appropriate, not wanting to tell me that I grew 10 dress sizes overnight and that my skin is covered with snot. just as fast as my growth spurt happened, it goes away. magically a few days later i wake up and look in the mirror and I am no longer a character in Star Wars, in just a human being…if anyone has insight into this miraculous phenomenon, drop me a line. would love to know.
concluding this jumbled, disconnected ramble i leave you with this:
“What does a mirror look at?”
― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune