It's been more than a week without mirrors of any sort, and it's time to report back on the emotional experience. To put it shortly, I am in withdrawal. I ache to see myself in a mirror, and I have no logical explanation other than addiction. I'm sure things will get better as I adjust, but here's the current situation:
The strangest experience, thus far, has been a weirdly philosophical questioning of whether or not I actually exist, if I can't see myself. Yes, I'm serious (please don't laugh). I work from home several days per week, and it has been much more lonely than usual, now that I can't wave hello to myself in the mirror. Do mirrors bear witness to our very existence? ( Note: "proof of existence" did not make it on to the list of things I'm willing to give up for this project, so I'll be working to remedy this issue ASAP.)
|Original image found here.|
I imagine, now, that if a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear its sound, said tree would probably feel less shitty about the situation if it could at least watch itself in a mirror during the fall. (Here I am, promoting vanity for redwoods! Forgive me. It's been a tough adjustment.)
On a less philosophical (i.e., more superficial) note: I've experienced mild paranoia about my looks. I know - in the most pragmatic sense - that my appearance has not changed dramatically over the past several days or weeks. Yet, I have felt lost without the reassurances from mirrors to which I have become accustomed.
To give my people credit, I've had subtle reassurances from the various V.I.P.s in my life, as far as my looks are concerned. My fiancé, his sister, my sister, and several friends-of-friends have seen me over the weekend. I've had no (unsolicited) compliments on my looks, and no insults either. (okay, okay, while writing this, M leaned over in bed just to tell me that I'm "beautiful" - bless him!). This is good, right? I trust these folks to tell me if something not-so-good is going on with my appearance.
|Fresco by Raffael, 1511|
And yet, I feel a bit wild (i.e., restless, unsatisfied and high-strung - more than usual!), wishing to be gifted by angels with a stark, factual, and highly-detailed description of my looks. Is my hair bumpy? Fluffy? Sleek? Is my makeup invisible-yet-ethereal? How about visible-yet-tatesful? How 'bout that belly-button doughnut? (I've brought concept of obnoxious academic navel-gazing to a new low, me thinks!) I am at a loss. Yeah... I used to not be so vain, but now I know better.
To wrap things up, life without mirrors has been simultaneously freeing and yet paralyzing. It's been priceless to leave the house in less time, and with a conscious "good enough is good enough" attitude. Yet, I have felt haunted by the question of whether or not I've actually accomplished "good enough." Additionally, without mirrors I feel less able to understand the intricate details of why people are interacting with me as they are. According to Charles Horton Cooley, this shouldn't matter, but it has mattered for me. This same response has been experienced by others, and yet I feel embarrassed to report it to you.
Yesterday things reached the point at which this blurry image of me (reflected in my apartment buildings' elevator door) became pathetically intriguing. Yes, random reflections are against my "rules," but I couldn't resist. That said, I imagine that this was about as satisfying as Nicorette gum feels to most trying-to-quit smokers. Here's what I learned: my 6-years-old Banana Republic blazer still fits, and... I still exist. Good news on both counts, right?
I promise you, I'm not a wallower; my life (and this blog) should perk up quite soon. Hang in there with me and I promise good things ahead. :)
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