Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Body Talk: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Craziest of Them All?

(This squirrel claims to know the Groundhog of the Day, but I think squirrels tend to be full of talk talk talk.)

Marcy and I have one full length mirror in our house, and it's really more 3/4 length and very narrow. It's cheap and gives a bit of fun-house off. We threw it up in the basement so we would have somewhere to check if our shoes worked okay with this or that outfit.

Going to ballroom dance class at a dance studio has been a bit of a shock because of that long wall of mirrors, and unless you spend the yearly budget of a small country, most likely those mirrors in a dance studio are not what is called "perfect." The reflection they give off is skewed.

For weeks now, I have forced my partner to work in class in the far corner from those mirrors, but last night, there were more couples than usual, including a new couple that is very tall and cannot really see my partner and I from those heights. (This is my way of saying that they were getting into our space -- a lot.)

My partner suggested that we find a new spot. Knowing my OCD "tendencies," he was being very brave.

Being the delightful bundle of neuroses that I am, my claustrophobia won out over my OCD and I happily agreed to try a spot up near the mirrors. And by "near" I mean practically pressed against them.

I feel like I've come really far with my body image issues, which range from, you know, disordered eating to dysmorphic disorder.

Those mirrors would tell a different story.

I realized that they were a blessing and a curse. It was nice to be able to watch the details of our posture. For example, it was a good way to decide exactly how my hand looked way better laying flat on his rather than gripping around his fingers like a claw of death. It cured some hand issues I was having instantly!

But...Oh, the but.

But I was also looking at how my hips were still wider than I thought they were and that my front looked puffy and is that really my ass?

And, oh, god, you can tell my age by my jaw line.

I could go on but you get the idea, as I'm sure many of you have the same sort of Evil Mirror in your life.

Of course, it's not the mirror's fault; it's mine. That mirror just reflected back to me how far I have to go on this journey.


Lori-Lyn said...

I can't tell you how deeply I relate to this post. The jaw line thing is really freaking me out lately. Mirrors in the basement...not a bad idea.

squarepegperson said...

love your honesty - what IS it with those voices in our heads?! love your humor, too! great post, thanks for sharing body talk. Just got hit with a great "hmmmmm?" - i wonder if lots of sharing about our thoughts/feelings on body &# ! would normalize the feelings and let the mirror voices take a rest??

Emily said...

The mirror in the bathroom at my office has these flourescent lights that always seem to reflect in shining glory the one chin hair I have missed in my plucking.
I then curse myself for making fun of my mom for having to pluck chin hairs when I was a teenager.
And I dream of the day when I am 80 years old and no longer care what people think of my beard.

differenceayearmakes said...

oooh, I can so relate. Its not the scale so much - its the mirror - its not the mirror so much - as its my opinion of my aging body/face. I hate, and I do mean hate, pictures of myself and I avoid my image in the mirror. And honestly I can't say I liked myself any better when I was younger and at the 'perfect' weight - only in hindsight.

I read some article where the author was talking about body image and she when looking at some old photos of herself she realized that she didn't look half bad and wondered why at the time she didn't appreciate how she looked. She said she realized that we ought to at least realize that we look better today then we will in another ten years. Not working for me.

belladawn said...

I recently went to a Zumba class. I had fun. I was shaking it and missing steps and having a blast. I caught myself in the mirror. OH, the horror. I looked HUGE! I was wearing a t-shirt 2 times to large for me. I used to dress this way all the time. An XL man's shirt hanging all the way to my knees. To think at one point in my life I actually believed that was the size I needed. Feeling brave that night, I struck up a conversation with a woman who seemed to be glowing as she smiled and sweated next to me. Of course, in an exercise class the subject of weight came up. This woman looked at me and said, "we were standing in the fat zone of the mirror." I was stunned. A fat zone? Could this actually be? Reading your post brings all that back to mind. Thank-you for reminding me to free myself from my old misconceptions! I have since then retired the shirt for bedtime use only.

Happy Candlemas, Imbolc, St. Brigid's and Groundhog Day!

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Michele Fischer said...

Oh can I understand. It is my firm belief however that all mirrors are wrong, I haven't found the scientific facts on it yet but I'll let you know when I do! ;)

Em said...

I'll tell you, everyone's going through body image at the moment... I know it'll get better, but while it's going on, yikes!

Right now I feel like I look about 20 years older than I am. (And I'm not young, darlin'!) It's been an incredibly stressful couple of months, so that's why, but yeesh.

Energy work & meditation help.

Earth Mother said...

Banish all mirrors to the basement! Hmmm, I'm liking this idea. ツ

I remember last winter when I finally mustered up enough courage to walk into a yoga studio and take a public class, horror of horrors, a freakin' wall of mirrors! What cruel and unusual punishment is this? My mantra for the entire class: Just Be On Your Mat

claire said...

Well, the great shock for me was the day I did not recognized the woman in the mirror and wondered who was this older woman -- nice smile, but really older...
It was on Fur-licity that I found blessings for the New Year from Joyce Rupp. One of them said:
That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement
And I like that. As I grow more and more into a grandmother who only was in the attic of my mind, it is good to smile at me in happy amazement...


Jan said...

You were indeed very brave, Christine. I bow to you. Oh, that critical voice and the eyes that seek out anything that doesn't meet the voice's standards. I hope that each of us can continue to love and accept our bodies. To find the balance between what needs to be improved and what needs to be simply accepted. "I am enough" has become an impt mantra to me as I age. What to firm up, what to let go of attachment to, and how to embrace myself as I am in this moment. Love to you...

StorytellERdoc said...

A great post, honest and poignant and funny. Your voice is strong throughout, and you hit it right on the head for all of us in our mid-years. Thanks. Well done.

Lisa said...

You are brave and beautiful, Christine.

May you see the outward manifestation of all the inner work you're doing through yoga and dance. May the eyes of your soul find their own radiant beauty reflected back each time you look in the mirror.

{[Hugs of healing, Light, and Truth to you, dear one.}}

Jeanne Klaver said...

Eyelids are drooping, jaw squares off, the tip of the nose slopes more than in the past. I know all this from one-hundred years of art classes. Is it possible for me to "sit" with the body as it deteriorates? Ego says no...heart says, "What choice do I have? Love is always the answer."