Mirror, Mirror, tell me true…

When I look in the mirror, I see…someone no longer able to call herself a ‘girl’, not really, because her skin is dry and beginning to show signs of wrinkles.

Seeing that skin, harshly lit, in the mirror of a public restroom last week, showing wear and tear from living, and from neglect, prompted me to invest in some shinyfancyspensive product, which I’ve been faithfully applying daily ever since. Because I don’t want my skin to look old and awful; because the shinyfancyspensive product had the word ‘Finnish’ on the label (everyone knows their skin is amazing); because it had ingredients which sounded natural (or at least pronounceable) in the list; and because it wasn’t as expensive as the ones you *know* you’re paying for the name of.

Mirror Mirror Tell Me True - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

In addition to the wrinkles, zit-scars (WHY do I always pick them?), pores I constantly worry are too large (and then worry I worry too much about them) and a nose I’ve never come to terms with, I see green eyes which were recently described as having “the same sparkle” as WonderAunty’s (a HUGE compliment), dark hair like my mum’s (with a ridiculous pink streak, which will soon be re-naturalised in hopes of appearing more employable) and *checks carefully to see if any were missed* the beginnings of a smattering of pull-them-out-and-pretend-they-weren’t-there silver hairs.

Which I don’t mind. Truly. I don’t mind the thought of aging. I don’t think I mind the process of turning into someone who looks properly adult and has a chance at being taken seriously (pink hair and tattoos aside (or is that my own prejudice?)); who maybe feels as though she might begin to belong in the world inhabited by so many people she adores.

But I look again, then lift my top, turn sideways, and agonise about whether or not there is more fat on the belly than before, whether the arms are ever going to un-wibble, whether the double-chin and the blubbery layer I ate myself into, to hide, for safety, in my childhood and teens, is in any way returning to reclaim me and catapult me back into someone rejectable, unlovable, and downright repulsive. I meet my own, sad, green eyes, and worry about how ugly I am, and how much I don’t look at all like the person I think other people see – like the person I very occasionally feel I might resemble, until I catch my eye, and am damned again by my own reflection.

I look harder, wondering at my bizarre ability to deny truth, which seems to be that my atrocious self-image lies far deeper than my skin, but is not necessarily evident on its surface. I’ve been called beautiful, pretty, attractive…been told I have a smile which lights the room…and still can’t connect those wonderful, very genuinely intended compliments to the view I have of my shell.

There’s no truth in reflection – not the kind which stares us back in the eye from a mirror, presenting us with our undeniable physical flaws, encouraging us to zone in on them, magnifying them in our own minds until they’re insurmountable ghastlies. There’s no truth in the voice which accompanies the reflection (and the ghastlies), pouring poison into our ear and replacing the half-size version of us (no, really, and it’s fascinating) with something monstrously disappointing.

Maybe some people are consistently enamoured with who they see in the mirror, but I’ve yet to meet one who was happy. The people I’ve met who genuinely care more about their presence in the Now than the weight, shape, and appearance of their own unmet expectations in the looking glass, are those who are most at peace.

Now that’s worth reflecting on.

 

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you content? Do you avoid meeting your own gaze? Join in with your reflections…

Finish the Sentence Friday

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, with the always awesome Kristi Campbell, and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper and co-host April Noelle.

 

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68 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror, tell me true…

  1. I don’t like my reflection early in the morning when my eyes are super puffy. But makeup makes me feel good. Or I just don’t look at the mirror. 🙂
    You are a pretty woman. I love your smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awh thank you! My smile seems to be one of the things my friends all like, which is lovely.

      Makeup makes me feel good too, but I so rarely find time to bother with it, which I’m not sure is a better or worse thing! I’m glad you have strategies for dealing with a reflection you’re not keen on, though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my…this hits home. I was raised in a family where mirror-gazing was shamed and appointed to be one of the seven deadly sins, I’ve never had a good relationship with the mirror or the reflection.
    Powerful words here:
    “There’s no truth in reflection – not the kind which stares us back in the eye from a mirror, presenting us with our undeniable physical flaws, encouraging us to zone in on them, magnifying them in our own minds until they’re insurmountable ghastlies.”
    And my favorites here:
    “The people I’ve met who genuinely care more about their presence in the Now than the weight, shape, and appearance of their own unmet expectations in the looking glass, are those who are most at peace.

    Now that’s worth reflecting on.”

    Printing, cutting, pasting…to the mirror. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish, I wish to be one of those people at peace, and more concerned with the being and doing of life, rather than how I look within it. I hope one day I’ll achieve that. But I won’t hold my breath. I also won’t beat myself up (so much (I hope)) for my current poor relationship with the mirror. I need to remember FAR more than I do, that there are people out there who think I’m lovely, which is mind-blowingly awesome, and something I want to cherish, not agonise over 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your tricky relationship with the mirror, though. That’s tough, and especially if it’s been engrained from a young age 😦 *hugs*

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  3. There are moments, few and far between when I look in a mirror and like what I see. More often than not I take a step or two too close knowing I will see the larger-than-they-should-be pores on my nose and that deep-set wrinkle between my eyes from years of frustration/concentration/worry. I wonder if people can see the oceans of sadness when they look into my eyes. Don’t even get my started on my hair! I just keep cutting it shorter and try to think about it less, but I’ve always hated it.

    So yeah, mirrors. I can always find something I don’t like if I get close enough to one. I try to stand two feet away and tell myself that is roughly the image others are seeing of me. If I can stand myself from two feet away, or if I’m running late enough, I’m out the door.

    Very well written, love ❤ Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now THAT’S a good idea – to stay a bit more distant from myself and resist the urge to zoom in. Because that’s when I start noticing pores and wrinkles and stray eyebrow hairs and the shapes of bits I just do NOT like… *sigh*

      I have to do something about my hair. I have to unpink it soon, and get a different cut to show off the just-brown.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally “get” what you are talking about here. I sometimes feel that “disconnect” too! I see my acne scars and Rosacea flush and double chins, but when people compliment my smile or say I have nice eyes, I just can’t see it. I notice every wrinkle, every “wibble” (great word, by the way), every extra bulge or bubble, but really struggle to see myself as others see me.

    And for the record, I love your pink streak in your hair, even if it does make you “unemployable.” I would SO have a colorful streak like that if my job allowed it!

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  5. Hi: we’ve connected before about the difference between the world might see (bright, funny, attractive, enjoyable) and what we might carry inside of us (darkness, insecurity, helplessness). I admire the strength you’ve shown in facing life and trying to fashion a better tomorrow every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Anna, that means a lot. I remember we’ve shared some parallels in the past, and I think being able to see progress in each others’ journeys as we try to get a handle on the body-image stuff is really important and encouraging 🙂

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  6. Pingback: * On the positive side | Teachezwell Blog

  7. It sure is worth reflecting on.
    I’ve never come to terms with my nose either. I have gotten past wanting to have it surgically altered, though.
    And as for the skin thing.. I would totally try a Finnish product. Sometimes my skin glows – from drinking enough water and getting enough sleep or some other secret happiness. I wish I could bottle that and sell it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would SO VERY BUY IT! My skin has been better while I’ve been here, probably because I’ve been getting more sleep and drinking more water. Things I’m going to have to take back to the UK with me, and try to do in spite of how painful it is to be out of timeline with the people who are most important to me.

      I’m past wanting my nose surgically altered until I see a particularly unforgiving photo, and then it’s like a stab to the ego and I want it all changed. But I figure that whoever will love me, will love me in spite of it, and perhaps it’s a test for them – to get past the nose, to the person. I dunno. I’d be happier without it being so big and awful, forsure.

      As to that secret happiness, would we ALL could have more of that! *sigh*

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  8. I think you’re beautiful, inside and out. But only one of those is important.

    I’ve never been able to identify with my own reflection, much. Which is weird and I probably have mental issues. But it’s weird to be judged by what you look like when you barely feel like what you look like….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like a kind of disconnect…probably not too mental though, or if it is, not the kind which stops you living day to day and managing life.

      You’re right about inner beauty being the most important, and that’s definitely something I’m better at seeing in others than in myself. I think you’re beautiful.

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  9. I have never been a fan of my own image. I am learning to live with that and be more accepting. It’s not easy. And I find your absolutely adorable…not that you were asking for that..I’m just sayin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwh lol well, you’ve met me so you’re in a good place to pass comment, but I think it’s tough because even though we don’t like our own image, we know people who we love and respect, who do. I like yours, for what it’s worth, and I’m STILL so happy I got to meet you In Real 🙂

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  10. I can remember what certain people looked like, my family for example, from when I was younger and could see faces moere clearly than now.
    Then I meet someone new, with so little sight as I have now, and I wish I could see them. I read how you describe yourself and I try so hard to imagine what that might appear as, but I curse my rapidly declining vision because I will never know you in that way now, not likely.
    I know what you mean about aging. Love the way you speak of your green eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s fascinating, Kerry, because you clearly know my voice and my outlook, and to some extent my demeanour, but I never even thunk about how much *I* rely on seeing people’s pictures (and the occasional video or vidchat) to really feel as though I know them. I wouldn’t know how to describe myself to you in a way which made sense…which is fascinating to me, and definitely highlights one of the things I take for granted – that I just KNOW what I and others look like.

      You’ve just given me another moment for reflection!

      Lemme see. I wonder if it’s easier to describe others…Clark is oftenest visible in black-and-white, he says because he’s old. He has white hair and glasses and mischeivous, bright eyes, which take everything in and assess it.

      Sarah is thin with brown, fly-away hair, which she often scrapes back, particularly while she’s thinking or empassioned about something. She has enormous, gorgeous eyes which hold such light and earnestness, and (as you heard) very kissable lips.

      Lisa usually has headphones. She has a grin which makes me smile back, dark hair (usually in a ponytail) and I don’t think I’ve seen her close up enough to see her eye colour. She has lovely, smooth-looking skin and is good at rolling her eyes.

      Kristi has amazing swishy-flicky-just-right, blonde hair (cut very prettily) and incredibly blue eyes, like her son’s, which she rolls probably most often at me. She often gestures with her hands to make her point, and smiles so her whole face lights up, like when she was speaking about the book she remembered from childhood.

      Denise is glamourous, to me, because she wears dangly earrings and just has a bit of a look of aristocracy. She usually wears her hair down, and it’s shot through with silver. She has wide, beautiful eyes, which (like Clark’s) take everything in and assess it carefully. She grins a lot though, and likes to very quietly eat cereal or ice-cream when she thinks we’re not looking.

      I’m a goof. I have green eyes and black-rimmed glasses, and a face the shape of a shovel. I have hair which is dark, and shaved on the left side, while the front bit is long and that ridiculous pink. My eyes are green and I’m getting laugh lines, and a frown line between them. I have a hook-nose, which I HATE, and a smile which I’m told is pretty impressive (thank goodness *something* is) 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. This has really struck a cord with me. I’m not really a vain person. Have never really worried about what I look like. I never thought getting older and wrinkly would bother me. But it SO does. And it’s not just that I am getting more wrinkled everyday. It’s what the wrinkles SHOW that makes me cringe. They show that I am not a very happy person. They show that I worry a lot. They show that I scowl a lot. They show that I frown a lot. I wonder if people see that when they look at me? I wish the wrinkles didn’t bother me so much, but they do. I am disgusted when I look in the mirror. It’s like my inner unhappiness now shows on the outside, if that makes sense? I. DO. NOT. LIKE. IT. I guess all I can do is work on the inner; I don’t think I can change the outer at this late stage.

    Thanks for another great post Lizzy ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Diana, I’m so sorry 😦 In addition to my laugh lines, I have a frown line coming along nicely, which makes me worry that I’m just a perpetual grump. I wish that yours wouldn’t highlight the negative aspects, or that somehow your worry and unhappiness could lift, and allow you to develop the epic laugh lines we all hope for. I don’t think you need to be disgusted though – and as Val says, it’s GOOD to look in the mirror and see signs of ageing, when you consider the worse alternative!

      Glad you enjoyed this, and I hope the reflection helped.

      Like

    • It’s one of those weird, crossover-y kinds of things, because as much as we all might like to convince the world (and ourselves?) that we’re happy, the people who really ARE, aren’t trying to convince ANYONE!

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  12. You always, always say so much. Such truths some people wouldn’t dream of sharing. You know I think you’re beautiful, in so many ways. I hope to someday look in the mirror and like what I see. 47 is right around the corner for me and while not too much of my age is yet showing, I see it creeping upon my face, I don’t mind that so much really, it’s the rest of me I have the most issue with. “There’s no truth in reflection.” I may tape that on to my full length mirror 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s something I need written on every reflective surface I encounter! I ‘zoom in’ and forget to look at the bigger picture, and I get caught into the cycle again.

      Thank you for always being so supportive and encouraging towards me – I hope that we BOTH get to like what we see in the mirror one day, meanwhile we’ll settle for liking each other and sending sweet moments across the World Between the Wires.

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  13. “But I look again, then lift my top, turn sideways, and agonise” . . . . “insurmountable ghastlies . . . “poison into our ear” !!! Oh, these hit me hard reading through this. We are so hard on ourselves aren’t we? There’s a saying I love but can’t quite remember about wanting the person you love, your sister or your daughter or your friend, whomever, to have the ability to see themselves the way you see them. If only right? If only you saw yourself they way all the people who love you do. Like you said, this prompt was “cathartic.” Nice job at digging deep and getting real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Julie – it was a tough post but (interestingly (to me, anyway, and perhaps to those who have known me longest and seen me struggle and change)) it wasn’t as tough to write as the same prompt would have been a year ago. Or even six months ago. It didn’t tear me up, and it didn’t send me into a panic, like it might once have. Instead it gave me the chance to reflect on my own inability to reflect with accuracy, and to share truths which I know others hold about me, but which I consistently miss about myself, through precisely that harshness towards myself which I’ve not yet learned to quell.

      If you think of the saying, let me know – it sounds pretty good, and as though it’s onto a good thing…

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  14. “…no truth in reflection – not the kind which stares us back in the eye from a mirror,

    you (and kristi) are the reasons I avoid reading other FTSF posts until I’ve committed to sending in my own… although the simpatico, (aka clarklike worldview) is fun in that it’s like I get to read three versions of the same post, (or is that 3 posts by three versions of the same person)….and it’s not that we’re the same person, we are not… but we are clarks and the world around us, the one that we must navigate and negotiate, that is very much a same world and hence the three different posts by three different people experiencing the world of the Outsider.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are similarities, forsure, but I think in this instance the mirroring is far more internal than ex-, and any likening or shared outlook to people I admire is something I welcome 🙂 Thank you 🙂

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  15. Being present in the now – the peace within those who do not worry as much about weight and aging and all of it. I want to not worry about those things. Sometimes, I forget to worry about them and those are the times I truly am living in Now, which is Ahmazing. Also you ARE beautiful and sparkly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…those moments are times I look back on and am stunned, because it happened – I was THERE, and it was beautiful, and not a trace of thought entered my mind about shape or size or looks or any of it – I was just LIVING.

      As for beautiful and sparkly, *blushes* fanx, and back atcha 🙂 ❤

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    • Hehehe yeah I find those house of fun mirrors at the fairground can be quite flattering. I don’t like the ones which make me squashy though! And I…sad to say…am a preener in that I’m vain, and a loser in that I don’t take time to bother with things like makeup, which might help!

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  16. It’s so true, none of us is happy with what we see in the mirror! How sad is that? I fear its a woman thing. I was hesitant to write my own thoughts on what I see, because it’s negative. I wish I’d been braver, because I’m obviously not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re SO not alone, and I think that dissatisfaction with our own reflection is something which plagues many of us…I suspect you’re right about it being mostly women, too. I wonder whether we create unreasonably high standards for ourselves as a gender, and then fail to meet them individually, because MOST of the women I know who worry about their appearance (myself included, to be fair) are more concerned about what other women think, than about men’s opinions.

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  17. We need a meme that says – “There’s no truth in reflection” (the mirror kind). Whenever I feel bad about aging and the mirror thing I remember what my father-in-law said when I passed an age milestone – “consider the alternative.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohmigosh that’s very true indeed! But Val, you are beautiful and I think you’re one of the people who that famous quote applies to, about how if you think lovely thoughts then they’ll shine out of your face and you’ll be beautiful. I always feel that you’re one of life’s happy, brightshiny people, and I’m so glad to know you 🙂

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  18. Lizzy!!
    It’s amazing that like minds think alike 🙂
    Apart from the wrinkles, the acne and the large pores (blah!) what amazes us all is that our eyes hold all the treasures, the secrets, the goodness that we have lived so far 🙂
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohmigosh BLAH SO MUCH to large pores! I have no idea what to do about them but I’m going to try one of those apricot kernel scrubs with some kind of weird salcyliate (sp?) acid in, when I get back to England (cos the meanie airport security guy took my one I had here…)

      ANYWAY! YES to eyes holding the treasures, secrets, and goodness. I’ve heard them described as windows to the soul and I rather love that. I think eyes are wonderful and can be utterly breathtaking 🙂

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  19. We are so similar it’s scary. lol I’ll still see you as a girl no matter how old you THINK you look. It’s all in your head. I tell people I feel and look old and they laugh in my face until they find out I’m actually older than them. ; ) It’s all just BS, most important thing is to live and take chances which by the looks of your FB page which I stalk constantly lol you’ve been doing. Here’s to a life well lived. Cheers my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *grins* I like that we’re similar, Michelle, and honestly I tell people my skin thinks I’m 17, as a way of excusing my zits (and a little my behaviour…) and I suppose lowering their expectations for how capable I might be at ‘adulting’. I hope one day I get to surprise people by being older than they expect.

      I think you’re absolutely right – the important thing is to take chances and have adventures and live life to the absolute limits of possibility, and enjoy as much of the experience as we can.

      Bless your boots for stalking me – I think we should chat! I like you 🙂 Here’s to LIFE!

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  20. I think I honestly cringe EVERY single time I look in the mirror…. I get this. I really do. But I long for, and reach for- your last line. I don’t think it’s about really allowing yourself to ‘love’ every aspect of your image- it’s more about accepting every piece and part of who you are with a soaking of grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Which is such a shame, my sweet Kitty. Makes me wonder how much more good we could all do, how much love we could share, and how much happiness we would enjoy, if we were able to unhook from all that worry and just LIVE! I guess that’s what the acceptance and grace is about, but it ain’t easy! Love you ❤

      Like

  21. Awww dang I can’t say what brickhousechick already sort of said. I was going to say, take your glasses off! I never see how bad my eyebrows look of the fact that it’s time to buzz off my mustache untll I get in the magnifying mirror.

    But seriously, you are beautiful and you are mentally looking in the magnifying mirror past all the beauty of you that’s right there on the surface. Don’t worry about what you think you see, reflect on what you reflect. I think you are shiny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh I love the idea of being shiny, and yes – everything gets blurry and a bit better with the glasses off. What I need to try to do is see myself more the way my friends and family see me – they look beyond the aspects I zoom in on, and see the whole of me.

      (I won’t go too near magnifying mirrors though – eek!)

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  22. I think you are beauty though and through. This brought memories of something i puked on another blog…It was called Head to Toe and had me looking in the mirror and pointing out every ugly thing about me from frizzy hair to hammer toe. Hugs for you…you are gorgeous and don’t you forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so sweet to say so, and to think that. I think my biggest point of reflection has to be a) how little the physical really matters in the end (compared to inner beauty (even though it does count, or we wouldn’t all get worked up about it)) and b) how warped my self-view is. This was a really helpful piece for me to write, and thank you for such lovely words of encouragement. 🙂

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    • Awwwwh *blushes* thank you Honeybee. You remind me of a story a patient of mine once told me – she’d had a cataract operation and was disgusted to discover it aged her considerably…because she could see her reflection clearly for the first time in years!

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  23. I miss handsome thin young don, but handsome fat old son is okay too. Lol. Who cares what we look like at my age? It’s nice that as we age, most of us can see the beauty in the person we’re seeing because of who they are. I’ve never met a woman who didn’t think she wasn’t as pretty as she really is, my own gorgeous wife and you included. Two of my favorite ladies who sadden me when they can’t see what I so clearly do. I love ya Lizzi, pain in the ass and all. I look forward to a right proper hug from you some day. It’s gonna rule!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *grins* I love you too Officer Don, even though I’m your English PITA, we do have our laughs, right? And your wife is lovely, and I’m gladder than glad you affirm that in her, and show her that you view her through loving eyes and see her beauty inside and out, which is more than the sum of anything the mirror could show.

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