There’s one mirror in the furnished apartment that my husband and I recently moved into in San Diego.
It’s over the sink in the bathroom.
“I have to have a full-length mirror,” I complained to him. “Who has an apartment with no full-length mirror?”
He said he’d put one up for me, but before he had a chance—something happened.
I went into the ladies room at our new gym, and for the first time in about six weeks, I saw myself in a full-length mirror.
I’d always thought that I had to have a full-length mirror in my home to see whether everything looked “all right.”
Back in the day, I would use it to see if my seams were straight and whether my slip was showing—that’s how I started out using it.
But when I looked in the full-length mirror at the gym, I realized that I didn’t really look in full-length mirrors to see if everything was “all right.”
I looked in full-length mirrors to see what was wrong.
I looked in them to see how fat I looked—or whether I could get away with those tights, or with that fitted tank top, or with that skirt that was a little bit too short.
In other words, I would walk over to the full-length mirror on the closet door—close the door, so that I could get an unobstructed view—and then I’d stand there and…criticize myself.
What’s more, I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
However, when I saw myself in the mirror at the gym—surprise, surprise—I saw myself through new eyes, and I and kinda liked what I saw: An older woman, a bit on the heavy side, who was well-dressed with a little bit of makeup and a lot of wavy, dark brown hair.
I actually felt a little pleased.
I also felt relieved.
No longer having a full-length mirror in my house had broken a habit I didn’t even know I had—one that wasn’t good for me.
As I walked out of the gym to my car that morning, I felt something like a weight lift off me.
I was no longer a slave to my mirror.
Better yet, I was no longer a slave to the critical voice that activated inside me the minute I closed my closet door and looked at myself in my full-length mirror.
Without a full-length mirror around, I’d been dressing for the last six weeks without ever once checking to see if everything was “all right.”
In fact, I’d been dressing the way I did when I was a little girl—just putting on my clothes based on what I liked and what I figured they must look like when they’re on me.
I couldn’t “check” anything. There was no mirror to do it in. I also couldn’t criticize myself for the way I looked. I more or less had to rely on how I felt in my clothes, and entirely forego how I looked in them.
It was downright liberating.
“Never mind about putting that mirror up,” I told my husband when I got back from the gym. “I’m done with playing that game.”
“What game?” he asked.
“The ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ game. I used to play it with myself, and I was always the loser.”
That’s when I remembered what else the apartment in San Diego doesn’t have—a scale.
No wonder I feel so relaxed there.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Flickr/Wellcome Images
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina