Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 1 - The Inspiration

I left St. Louis feeling pretty good.  On my flight back to sunny Los Angeles, I remember feeling relieved that
(1) I had successfully given 4 (!) presentations at my conference, and
(2), as I mentioned in my last post, I had found a wedding dress I felt comfortable in (and which gave my mom goosebumps).

Yet, I felt ill at ease when reflecting on the dress situation.  Was all that really necessary?  Did my happiness over dress #2 outweigh the expense and self-centered obsessing I had gone through to get it?  Was this my first slippery-sloped step toward bridezilla land?  Sighing, I decided to channel Scarlett O'Hara and "think of it tomorrow."  Determined to distract myself, I turned to the first page of a new book, The Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant. 


Within 2 pages of the prologue, this project was planted in my mind.  Here is what I read:



No one had seen her naked until her death.  It was a rule of the order that the Sisters should not look on human flesh, neither their own nor anyone else’s.  A considerable amount of thought had gone into the drafting of this observance.  Under the billowing folds of their habits each nun wore a long cotton shift, a garment they kept on always, even when they washed, so that it acted as a screen and partial drying cloth as well as a night shift.  This shift they changed once a month (more in summer when the stagnant Tuscan air bathed them in sweat), and there were careful instructions as to correct procedure: how they should keep their eyes firmly fixed on the crucifix above their bed as they disrobed.  If any did let their gaze stray downward, the sin was a matter for the confessional and therefore not for history.” (Prologue of The Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant)

lifetime without seeing oneself.  It made me pause.  What a different life those nuns had lived, compared my appearance-obsessed world of Los Angeles!  Could I go even one day without looking at myself in a mirror?   Maybe I should.  Actually, how about a year??  

My brain was having one of those rare “aha” moment.  My values and behaviors had been at odds, and this would be the "step back" from vanity that I needed.  I would force myself to experience life from the inside-out, instead of the outside-in.  But could I do it?   How?  And with what effects on my life, self-image, and personal and professional relationships?  Was it possible that removing mirrors from my life might actually cause me to become more obsessed or insecure about my appearance?  Would I completely lose the ability to apply make-up, style my hair, or select flattering and chic outfits?  Despite these looming questions, I felt very determined.  Somehow, I would wean myself off of mirrors for a year!


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78 comments:

  1. Hey there! A mutual friend (Emily E.) told me to check out your blog and I'm so glad she did. What a cool project. I will definitely be checking in to see how things are going.

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  2. Kerry, Thanks so much for your comment and the encouragement! Glad to see that there is interest in the project, which will help me stay motivated. Best to you, KJ

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  3. Good Luck! Can't wait to see how you progress, you've inspired me to look outside of myself and focus on the things that really matter. (Hope my inspiration lasts). Again, good luck.

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  4. Good for you! While I was in my first year of college, my Prof asked the class "How many women here aren't wearing makeup"
    Only one hand went up... mine.
    We look around and it seems like it's a beauty contest just attending school. This surely affects woman who already have a low self esteem. You have one thing going in at least, your naturally beautiful, so it won't be so bad! :)

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  5. I am a 42 year old mother of three kids. I wear makeup sometimes and don't other times. I look in a mirror sometimes and could care less other times. I wish I was thinner after having children but realize that I'm a size 14 which is actually normal for most American women. I have been married 23 years but I still turn heads occasionally and I don't really worry too much what people think about how I look. My daughter is in a wheelchair and 25 years old. She hasn't really worried either and rarely looks in the mirror. I know we aren't the norm about body images because alot more women are worried about how they look. I applaud you drawing this issue to public and getting a year to enjoy who you are inside not who you are outside. Enjoy the experience.

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  6. someone commented that they were inspired "to look outside of myself and focus on what really matters"... look "inside" of yourself where it really matters.

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  7. Hi Kjerstin!

    I'm a journalist and nutritionist with specializations in body image and eating disorders. I'd love to interview you at some point. If you're interested please drop me an email at august@augustmclaughlin.com.

    Kudos to you for embarking upon this meaningful journey! I wish you much success and happiness.

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  8. Awesome project! I applaud your willingness to experience something "way out of the box" in our mirror/image/reality. In 1990, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After the initial surgery, I underwent several "reconstruction" surgeries, lots of pain and an assault on my "body image" when my husband proclaimed that "they didn't look right anymore." It did take sometime, finally I picked myself up, scheduled surgery to have the reconstruction removed and finally was able to be "breast-less", being my authentic self, no longer spending time and energy to try to look like everyone else. I thought everyone would notice...they rarely do. I see myself as quite normal for I am the by-product of my experience. While I believe this is a personal choice and not right for everyone...it was perfect for me. All that being said, I still found myself glancing at the mirror, pondering what I needed to do to tweak my appearance each day. You have given me a new perspective on a bigger picture today. Thank you. Whether you determine to go a full year "mirror-less" or not, please know that you have not only changed your reality ...you have opened a pathway for others to look differently at themselves. KUDOS!!!!!

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  9. I have been considering letting my hair go gray. I am 46, but look a bit younger than that, so i am told. I really hate coloring rather than being natural. It is such a hard decision because I know that I won't look my best for a little while at least. One of my daughters(16) says go for it and the other one (14) says no way, keep coloring. I have been inspired by you to let myself go gray and be real. I really don't care what people think. Thanks for your blog and good luck. You are beautiful!

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  10. I LOVE that book.
    Great idea you have there.
    Life without mirrors seems less superficial.
    Wish more women had this courage.

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  11. A most interesting project. Much of our self-image is shaped by advertising and all those other subtle messages from society. I find it is very important to use the mirror ro really look at my body. I have lost 152 lbs since April 1 2010 and to really see how I have physically changed is important. Beating myself is not an option but exercising and regain my health is very much an option.

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  12. Wow! Inspiring!
    http://DesignersGoldenTouch.etsy.com/

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  13. I can't wait to read about your experience with this idea/concept. I have long struggled with self-image issues, and there are times I put myself on a mirror diet because it can just get really crazy. I blogged for a long time about trying to whip my body into shape, but during that process I have realized how distorted my view of myself and of food have become. This experiment of yours is exciting. Mama P

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  14. I LOVE that you are doing this! You are an inspiration to me and I am looking forward to following your blog.

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  15. This is such an inspiring project! Constantly seeing ourselves through mirrors, or as other people MIGHT see us, can really skew our self image.
    I love that while you're not going to be looking in mirrors, you'll still be trying to stay neatly groomed. You're not just forgetting your outward appearance, you're putting your best self forward...Your best self as YOU see it, what you like (inside and out), not as others might think you should look.
    I'll be following you and wishing you the best of luck! I'm excited to see what changes a year without mirrors can bring.

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  16. I'm a hairstylist, so I'm constantly surrounded by women who are obsessed with how they look. And even though I do hair, I rarely look at myself in my mirror. I have always been like that. Not because I don't like what I see, but because I don't care how I look. I credit my family for giving me good values, and that beauty isn't everything. I do hair because I love the creativity and transformation. I am so happy that you're doing this project.

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  17. Very interesting project. I admire you for taking it on. I'm going to be 70 years old soon, and have lived in this society all of my life watching women become more and more obsessed with their looks every year. I look many years younger than I really am because I'm tall, slender and can walk as well as any 40 year-old, but I know that when my health does start to go and I have to stoop, or even possibly someday depend on a cane or walker, that society won't value me as a human being as much as they do the young, and many will talk to me like I am an infant instead of a valuable human being who has done much and learned much in a fairly long and fruitful, fulfilling life. Our society needs more people like you, sweety. You keep it up!

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  18. I am also a bride-to-be and have been obsessing about my looks since my New Year's Eve hangover. I've lost 37 pounds and am finally at a healthy body weight...yet, every day I start to obsess that it's never enough...gotta lose more. This really made me take a minute to think about what's really important not only on your wedding day, but for the rest of your life. True inspiration and I commend your efforts! Can't wait to check back to see how your wedding went :)

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  19. It is an interesting project. I hope you can avoid the sideways glances into storefront windows, the unexpected mirror on the back wall of a restaurant, and the inevitable mirrors in any clothing store. As you write your blog, your reflection may be apparent in the screen. Despite all of these obvious occurrences, I still commend you for your efforts and hope you find the experience genuine. At 25 I am certain you will find yourself content with your appearance despite the lack of mirror. We all have a natural gauge for the evidence of a blemish, the fit of our clothes, and the lack of frizz in our hair. Although we are all concerned with our appearances - sometimes in differing ways. there are times where it is simply due to a life altering experience - an unfortunate scar, a limp, a mole, and even the psychological feelings after your spouse leaves you for another woman. It is often not vanity as it is the insecurities life unexpectedly presents to you that creates such self doubt and concern with one's appearances. Good luck with your endeavor - it is an exciting commentary.

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  20. I don't so much have an enemy in the mirror, but the girl I see is an enemy. Every day I look in the mirror, diet, exercise, and pray that I will finally work hard enough that i won't be able to see the fictional fat-chick that always looks back at me. I wish i could pinpoint the moment in my history that created such a skewed self-image.

    http://kickmeiamfat.blogspot.com/

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  21. I lived almost without mirrors for about 2 years. I had been living in Greece and one day, while walking down a street in Athens, I saw my full-length self as I walked past a store; it was then that I realized that I had not seen myself in a full-length mirror for the longest time. I had only seen my face in a small bathroom mirror when I brushed my teeth, put on lipstick, and brushed my hair. I didn't have a scale to weight myself either. It was very freeing. Good luck on your journey.

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  22. I think this project is interesting and will be very difficult. However, I think that more and more women need to reflect upon thier needs, desires, and beauty. I work in healthcare and I interact with women all day long that don't take enough time in thier lives to buy pretty make up and clothes or do their hair because they don't think they are worthy or pretty. So many women tell me that their families needs come before their own. I just think that sometimes we loose track of how important it is as women to feel beautiful and if that means spending a few minutes in front of a mirror a day...I say do it.

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  23. I gave up "Vanity" almost 7 years ago, no fake nails, no make up and little to fuss with about my hair. At first it was the most frightening thing I ever did and now I can doll up or down with ease and fearless.
    I think you will do just fine and your children to come will benefit from your wisdom to be yourself, think outside the mirror and most importantly be an individual!

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  24. I dont know if my previous comment is delayed in posting, so will write as much of it as I can remember..again argh!
    About 14yrs ago, I was 65kg, size 14 and considered "average". Last year I was 65kg again, a size 8 - 10 (with the odd 12 thrown in) and considered "above average"...I feel it is the industries way of 'fooling' us. We shop more when we feel good about ourselves and not 'fat'. If we think we are a certain size, we will shop more. The bigger we feel, or think we are, the less we, generally, shop as we feel 'fat' and 'hideous'. So the sizings continue to shrink and allow us to be fooled. It is the same in New Zealand, but I dont think it is quite to the extent as the US. We do now have size 6 in the adult womens sections which are so tiny, it looks like it would fit a skinny 5yr old!! Awful. I wish you the very best with your wedding. Dont worry, the best mirrors are the ones reflecting back at you in your loved ones eyes. They wont let you go out with lippy on your teeth! You dont need to strive for perfection...you are already perfect to those you love. Everyone else can be damned if they think they have an opinion. You have that special radiance that shines through no matter what, so dont worry at all :) Many blessings to you and yours *hugs* Leigha (check-it-4u.com)

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  25. Very interesting project...I will be reading!
    mo

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  26. wow, how ridiculous. grow up. not one of us on this earth are completely happy with how we look. this sounds like something a 13 year old girl would do. women need to come to grips with the fact that they are not all super models and that if they want to be "fit", they can do it. they just have to stop eating junk food and being lazy. it's that simple. i myself am not in "great shape" but i have no one else to blame but myself. i eat whatever i want and i don't exercise much. i'm not going to cry and be depressed because i don't look like a model. i know why i don't look like a model. so so so immature....

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  27. As a 15 year old girl I've always fought with my appearance and last year it played a role in contributing to my depression and becoming very suicidal. I find this project very interesting and I very much look forward to reading your posts!

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  28. Im 13 years old. I am very concerned about my appearance, but at times im like oh well they can deal with it. I do dress comfortably with my own style, and it deos look good. Your project has really inspire me to be less concered. You are a beautiful strong woman. Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading about this. (:

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  29. What if there were a mirror that could talk and tell us what we want and need to hear instead of our typical conversations to ourselves in the mirror?

    I found one called The Affirmations Mirror -
    It is a talking programmable mirror designed by a woman who has overcome many obstacles in order to change her relationship with the mirror - she created this cool tool for the rest of us to be empowered!

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  30. I got connected to your blog from an article on Yahoo. I think it is a really great project you have decided to take on. I hope that you find what it is you are needing and looking for. "Calm spirit, steady heart."

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  31. What a great idea! I applaud your bravery and can't wait to read your posts!

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  32. neat, you started and will end on my birthday :)

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  33. Each year I propose a similar but much shorter challenge to my 8th grade students. I ask them to not look in the mirror for a full day on a weekend. Only a handful over the last 4 yrs have even attempted. Their reaction alone at the challenged is interesting in itself. The boys in general do not see it as such a big deal, but the girls- yikes- it's like taking away oxygen.

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  34. Do you use your rear view mirror in your car? How do you avoid seeing your reflection there and also in store windows, mirrors, etc.

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  35. There's the saying that "men look in the mirror to see how good they look, but women look in the mirror to see how bad they look." Everywhere women at younger and younger ages are getting plastic surgery. The pressure on all women to be prettier and thinner is huge in this society. I am 60. I finally quit coloring my hair, while all my friends still do. It was very hard but very freeing! I have also been "addicted" to makeup most of my life. More and more, I go out with a bare face but it is a mental and emotional hurdle to do every time. What you're doing is extremely significant to all women! Thank you!

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  36. Keep us posted! I'm interested in your results and how you incorporate this study into your curriculum. Thanks for putting the spotlight on sociology!

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  37. Most fat people don't look in mirrors. I spent many years not looking in the mirror. I braced myself when walking into a building so I wouldn't catch a glimpse of myself in the plate glass door. I was especially careful when walking by plate glass windows. I even avoided looking at my shadow on the sidewalk. I tried to drive and use the car mirrors without catching a glimpse of myself. I gained a lot of weight during this phase of my life. I didn't want to see the image of myself that I was projecting to the world. I ate too much because of stress and feelings of rejection and tried to comfort myself on the inside with food. I didn't connect all the eating with my growing body size. I just kept buying bigger clothes. I didn't step on a scale either. I found that not looking in mirrors is a psychological disorder with a name. I needed to face myself and see the pain that was showing on the outside that all the world could see but that I had simply stopped looking at. I realized that the healthy thing to do is to look in the mirror, not too much, but also not ignore what's there or refuse to look. Being healthy for me is about taking in my appearance as one bit of information. My weight on the scale is one bit of information too. I'm not ignoring it anymore.

    Try getting your hair done without looking at yourself in the mirror. Not easy but it can be done.

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  38. I don't remember looking in the mirror on my wedding day. The room at the church I got dressed in didn't have a mirror. You won't be missing anything. Your family will tell you if anything is out of place and you'll have pictures to look at later. I love looking at my pictures.

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  39. After 5 kids, aand 54 years my body has gone to seed. But thnakfully my spirit heart and soul can be beautiful. I have a loving husbnad, and 5 great kids. My community of faith is amazing and inspires me to live out love and beauty. Beauty to me is going to an Orphanage this summer with my 17 year old son. I watched as he loved on kids, and played his trumpet. I held children, fed kids, and played. Now my dream is to bring kids that are unadoptable because of health reasons, to Disneyland for a week get away. The director at the orphanage approved the idea and I am in the process of figuring out how this will come to pass. Inviting others to be part of something I can not do alone, and watching us accomplish something together is beautiful~

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  40. You're such an inspiration...keep up the good work. i will be checking in as well. It makes me think "if she can do it, maybe i can do it too."

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  41. Be careful blogger your opening a lot of emotions for people. Pray the Holy Spirit guides you in this. All that you do you unto the Lord weather you live or die were the Lords. It is a neat project do a self search and pray everyday in Jesus name he gives you wisdom!

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  42. As a father with a wonderful wife and daughters who like all woman (and men) deserve to feel beautiful no matter what they look like when compared to others, I highly recommend doing what I did over 15 years ago--throw away the scale.

    Comparing ourselves to others is not what God intended us to do.

    We're all beautiful; no matter what anyone else believes or says.

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  43. If I were you I'd be obsessed with looking into the mirror too because you are beautiful! Seriously though, gl on the year and have fun with it.

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  44. Hi KJ
    I just happened on this and I think your idea is wonderful. After knowing you as you went through high school, I can see you doing something as introspective as this. I wish you well and will follow your blog. Best of luck. Frau H from MHS

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  45. I was just reading the article posted about your project and it caught my eye because you really are beautiful. So many in our society would be better off if the externals, which fade (or should!), were focused on less than the inside. Kudos to you and I really hope you find what you are looking for.

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  46. Hi

    I have never liked mirrors, and I don't use them in my house. I have a tip for brushing your teeth--look at a picture with four quadrants or interesting things. Then brush upper (front and back) looking at one quadrant, upper other side at the next quadrant, lower the lower quadrant, etc.

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  47. You are so brave! I am a hair stylist, and while I love making women look and FEEL good about themselves, I hate catching my image in the mirror all day long. It is so much pressure to look good when you are trying to make others look good. People are always examining you to make sure you are the "perfect mold". Applause to you and your mission! I hope by reading your blog, it will give me some moments of strength. And p.s., It's hard to imagine a beautiful girl like you had image issues, but that just goes to show it is our own selves that can control our emotion. Many prayers and thoughts headed your way through this journey!!!

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  48. This makes me want to eat ice cream!!!

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  49. Very interesting! Good luck!
    Shira

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  50. I was so obessessed with looking in the mirror a few years ago that I couldn't function. I literally couldn't walk past a bathroom without checking to see how flawed I looked, and it drove me deep into depression. After years of anti-depressants, I finally feel that I have somewhat learned to control myself, but I am so inspired by what you are doing to become even more aware of the type of behavior that I am teaching my daughter. Good luck. I hope you will inspire many.

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  51. Thank you for being so brave I wish I had your willpower, courage and drive! All I do is whine about what I look like ...I look forward to following your journey in hopes that I may come to grips with my low self esteem and learn from you.

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  52. How absolutely IRONIC that I came across this blog today...because I had a very similar thought and conversation while reading "Sacred Hearts", also by Sarah Dunant. I have recently retired and am having to learn how to slow down and appreciate the rhythms of life again. I was thinking how similar it is to what the novices in the convent are learning...and then I saw this blog...WOW!!

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  53. Although I find this an interesting idea I do have a question, maybe I'm just not thinking about this right but wouldn't it be better to work on accepting how you look and just diminishing how often you obsess in front of a mirror rather than avoid something that well it kind of a fact of our lives? You can't avoid your reflection in glass or seeing yourself while you drive can you? And you're not going to buy any new clothing in the next year? I guess maybe I don't understand how to plan to completely cut yourself off from your own reflection and do you really feel that doing so with help your self esteem? What do you anticipate the consequences to be when this year is over?

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  54. I think this is one of the bravest things I've ever heard anyone do, and I'm sending you some good vibes and hopes for the success of your project! I really think that the media-driven obsession with perfection is one of the main things that lead to the diminishing of a young woman's self-confidence and self-esteem, and the fact that you're doing something to actively subvert that is nothing short of inspiring.

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  55. I just happened upon you by way of Yahoo. I will be following your progress as you journey through this project. Can you imagine the potential number of people you can positively impact with this monumental endeavor? If you touch just a few, to encourage others to change and improve their own self-image, what a sense of joy happiness will spread. My thoughts will be with you as your journey unfolds and impacts your life and others who follow your inspirational story.

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  56. I found your story on Yahoo and I decided to read and honestly I am at a crossroads on how I personally feel about your decision. Since I was a child I used a method that was taught to me... to look in a mirror before I was to begin my day and to tell myself what I felt was wonderful about me every morning. This is what kept my self-esteem high (even being a victim of bullying) as I grew up into a woman. As a full-figured mature woman who happens to be a national beauty queen as well; using this method is the secret of why I feel comfortable in my own skin and when I present myself out in the public. To this day... I still do not obsess in front of mirrors because I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am the bomb nonetheless!! I am interested in how this turns out for you and I will watch as you progress through this... it is a very different journey no doubt, but I can see the benefits if it works for you. You may inspire many to believe in themselves before putting their worth in the visions from a mirror. GOOD LUCK SISTER!!!!

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  57. I saw your story on yahoo and wish the best to you! Prove everyone out there that a life with out vanity is possible!

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  58. I think this is a fascinating project - both on a personal level for yourself, and in a greater, general context. I applaud you for taking such a unique and unusual personal journey in this way. It's fascinating how looking at ourselves in the mirror can have such paradoxical reactions - if we are emotionally feeling good, strong, secure, I am sure we tend to like what we see even if it is exactly the same when we are not feeling good, strong and secure, and then we focus on what we find about ourselves to be imperfect, and that hyper focus can color a whole day, week, whatever. I personally think that we focus physically on what we dislike about ourselves in order perhaps to not work on what we ought to work on inside of ourselves. In any case, I think it's a brave and fascinating journey you are on, and I wish you wonderful luck and a happy wedding day. As a sidenote, I counted up how many times this Sunday morning I have looked in the mirror - face washing, teeth brushing, etc., and was stunned how in a few short hours I have probably come face to face with my face and body no less than 15 times already.

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  59. inspiring...i should count how many times i look in the mirror each day and try your project for a litte while. one thing i learned after i got married was that my husband really doesn't pay much attention to what i wear/or how i fix my hair. when we first got married i would make sure when he came home from work that my hair was fixed and my cleaning clothes weren't on. on his days off, i would dress up a little more and fix my hair a little nicer. but he doens't pay attention- he told me so himself. he couldn't tell u what i had on this morning for church. the older i get, the more i realize that most people (and the one's that matter) don't pay much attention to the little things/details as much as we think they do. u don't have to dress like a bum, but save yourself some time and money. an hour or two later no one is going to remember your Coach purse is the exact same shade as your shoes.

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  60. You go, Girl! I find this to be quite inspiring! And as someone who learned the value of self acceptance LATER in life versus YOUNGER, I will tell you that if you constantly worry about your outward appearance, your personality and social skills will suffer greatly. When you come to a point where you could care less what people think of your outward appearance and do what makes you feel COMFORTABLE, then, your inner self starts painting your outter self. If you have a good inner self, and keep yourself neat and well groomed, people will start to notice you for who you are, not what you look like. And may I say, if you have a little girl someday, please teach her this wonderful lesson.
    I stopped "looking in the mirror" as it were about 7 years ago. I discovered that not worrying about my appearance and concentrating on more important things actually made life tons easier. It also allowed me to concentrate on the people right in front of me without distractions. You'd be amazed at how much more closely you are able to interact with friends and family without that little voice in your head nagging you about your physical appearance.
    So, rock on.
    ME

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  61. I moved about a month ago and I never brought a mirror. In my apartment I only have a small face mirror that is an antique and that I can only vaguely make myself out in. I am enjoying this and I decided after I realized there wasn't one that I would try living without one. I too have bad body image junk and I felt it would be a great way to learn to accept myself and love myself for who I am. I hope that this is a beneficial experience for you as it is turning into one for me as well.

    Namaste

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  62. Miss Gruys, I commend you on your healthy mental outlook ("inlook"). It's very refreashing in a world of "who/whom looks better than who/whom". Dealing with different people (work & other), it seems that the ones comfortable with themselves (no matter what) had a better way of dealing with stress & lifes' small problems. From what I've seen, generaly, guys don't understand & stress & push there way thru. While gals stress to fit the media image thrust upon them on a daily basis. "To be accepted, buy this, to look like this, to be like this, so you can be like/loved,etc." As a guy who tries not to be the "typical guy", I find that insulting on a human being level. Also, I have always though that the beauty that we have, that we show, comes from within & is more meaningful & lasting & beautiful than anything that can be applied &/or worn. My compliments to you & your support team (family/friends/etc.)! You are on the right path whether lifetime (nuns), year (youself), or day to day (all of us). Congrats on upcoming marrage, I know it will be wonderful! All the best!

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  63. We are all made in God's image. That should be the key to experiencing true joy in ourselves --knowing we come from Him! By looking inward and upward we can all experience peace and joy with ourselves and in our life.

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  64. Why do you not just face the fact that you're ugly and that the reason you can't look at yourself in the mirror is probably because you're man - who probably looks good - said something about your face or body that made you cringe. Or maybe when you had sex it felt weird. But don't pretend that you're doing this for any legitimate reason. And, by the way, how did you manage to get your wedding dress if you can't look in mirrors? Or is that what contributed to your decision? You found the perfect dress, then realized it didn't look good on you because you're too fat? Yeah, you're never going to be beautiful or sexy thin like the image you have in your head. But you know what? That's your PERSONAL PROBLEM! Just because you're too stupid or lack the self-confidence to stand looking yourself doesn't mean you should make up an excuse not to look at yourself. Just admit you're ugly and that it's okay to be ugly and get on with your life instead of hiding behind a false pretense (because how are you going to avoid what other people think, seeing yourself in your car mirror or on reflections walking around glassed areas - including the bathroom when you go to wash your hands or brush your teeth?). If God wanted you to be beautiful, you would've been; so if you're religious, remember you're spitting at God for refusing to accept the gift he gave you, because maybe you have something more than your body to offer the world. Have you thought about that? Arrogant, vain stupid bitch with a man who'd rather be looking or fucking someone else - get a life!

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  65. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Sociology, and I read about your blog from an article on Yahoo! Can you give any advice for applying to Sociology graduate programs? Also, I admire your introspective study! You inspire me!!!! Thank you for sharing your journey on this blog and I hope to read your book about this experience someday.

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  66. I think this is absolutely fantastic! I worked at a camp this past year and in my cabin of 5th and 6th grade girls I realized how many girls are already going through pressures to look good! My counselors and I began taking steps to help them improve their self-esteem by having no mirror days, positivity huddles, and telling each girl they were gorgeous every single day. As I did that, I began to realize I needed to work on my self-esteem too and your project has made me think again about how important self-esteem is not only for young girls, but for me as well. Thanks and good luck!

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  67. I think your idea is great. I am recovering from an eating disorder but still battle body image. I look forward to seeing how this goes.

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  68. Hooray! hooray!!! I am so rooting for you! I am coming from the perspective of your wedding especially. As a wedding professional I see clients all the time who go beyond obsession about their bodies but even more upsetting they loose focus of why they are getting married and dismissing their fiancee's all together! Thank you for doing this project and for keeping getting married of most importance! Congratulations and I will be follwoing your journey, ever in awe! Graciously, JE*M Reveal Event Style

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  69. Boy, there sure are some hateful losers out there, aren't there? (Mostly named "Anonymous," too!)
    Don't believe them when they call you ugly - it's their own internal ugliness speaking. I don't know you, but you look nice (and cute!) in your photos. I don't know if your project is really necessary, but if it works for you, what business is it of mine or anyone else to condemn it?
    BTW, I go backpacking without a mirror for days at a time, and don't much miss it. Except one time when I bent over and a stick stabbed into my chin and couldn't see to get the slivers out.
    I do think a mirror is essential for those spinach in your teeth, toilet paper in your wasteband moments, because many people WILL NOT warn you about such mishaps!

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  70. My 79-year old mother, as vain as ever, is upset by her jowls and wrinkles and would love to have a facelift/botox/laser treatment (or pretty much any procedure that would change her appearance). I recently told her to get rid of all her mirrors (it worked for Queen Elizabeth after all). It's a much better "solution" (aging is not a problem, however, so I cringe at the use of that word, but I have insomnia, it's 4am and I can't think of another one at the moment) than drastic, expensive and risky plastic surgery. I'll have to tell her about your blog :)

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  71. We're following your story on The Channelmom Show in Denver http://channelmom.com. We try to honor moms in a culture that honors Jennifer Aniston more than the average mom... so we applaud the idea that there is a whole lot more to a person than looks... ask a mom, who hasn't had time to brush her teeth or comb her hair today!

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  72. Good for you! From a guys perspective it's refreshing to see a woman take a stand against determining her value by looks. It breaks my heart to see so many wonderful girls who get down on themselves because they don't look like some false ideal that our society projects. You're all better than that!!

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  73. Hi. I read an article about you in a Norwegian online news report, and couldn't wait to start reading. What a courage! I would be scared to death making a such a decision. But I will read every single post and hopefully get some ideas on how to become less addicted to the mirror and my appearance... Really looking forward to the next chapter!

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  74. You are very beautiful.

    I'm not. I try not to look at myself and have very few mirrors in my house (now just one and I try to avoid it). It works: I stopped hating myself. The world is beautiful and life's a great thing even if you're far from a beauty. Good luck to you! --- Elena, Russia.

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  75. You are amazing. I saw you're interview after the end of your year and wanted to read more. This is such an inspiring thing you're doing. So many people have problems in life, but nobody does anything. It takes a very courageous and strong person to do what you're doing. And I support you're choice to face this head on by making a difference in your life. Congradulations. You are an inspiration to many.

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  76. i was just read your article that was really superb got much pleasure to read that post. please keep sharing post like that.thanks for share with us for this post.good bye.

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