mirror image of breasts white woman
February Photo Fest 2021,  February Photofest 2021

Mirror Image

A mirror image, the replica of what is reflected, or is it? Here are some definitions I found for the word mirror. Neither of these definitions defines how I feel about the mirror.

Mir-ror / 1: a polished or smooth surface (as of glass)that forms images by reflection // She looked at herself in the mirror.

Mir-ror/ 2: something that gives a true representation // the press as a mirror of public opinion

I have always had a love/hate relationship with the mirror. Actually, that is not being honest. I straight up fucking hate the mirror. The funny thing is, I can’t seem to walk by one without taking a look at what it shows. Vanity? I use to think so. It was vain always to be looking at my reflection in the mirror. The term “never looked in a mirror they didn’t like” was a term my family used growing, and it wasn’t a compliment.

It took a lot of reflection and self-honesty to realize the mirror image I saw was rarely an exact reflection. More to the point, I was not looking because I liked what I saw. The exact opposite was true. I looked to see what was wrong, what I needed to change, and what I needed to improve. I never saw a mirror I actually loved or even liked a little.

Now, as I am older, it hasn’t gotten better. I wish I could say I like the mirror image I saw or accepted what I saw. That isn’t the case. If anything, it is worse. I see lines, dark spots on my face. I see scars on my body, and I see cellulite and rolls. None of this is appealing and mostly sends me in a tailspin. Some days are better than others. There are more bad days than good days. That is hard to admit, but that is honesty. The mirror image I see is always something that I want to change.

What would I change? I would rewind time and not let the sun hit my face and burn my skin. I would be more healthy and create habits of healthy eating and good exercise routines. I would give myself fewer excuses and actually do the things that would keep me healthy and maybe even maintain my younger look. The thing is, I don’t remember a time when I looked at any of my mirror images and likes what I saw. That is the saddest part of all. There is no time to go back to that I would find comfort in that reflection, which leaves me with only one option. Move forward.

These mirror images only show what is on the outside. On the inside, there are more scars, more doubts, more regrets than the mirror could ever show, me or anyone else. Moving forward won’t erase the lines, lighten the dark spots, or iron out those rolls and ripples of cellulite. Accepting that is hard. I have tried to accept all these things and more for longer than I would like to admit. Finding that acceptance should come from the inside, from the inside of me. I should feel it in my soul. I do not.

I have been loved. I have been told I was sexy and desirable. Others have given me forgiveness. I have had better sex and felt my sexuality more strongly in the last 5 years than I have in my younger days. While I carry scars from past relationships, all of those scars have taught me something. I am seeing a great guy, and we have amazing sex. He enjoys all of me, even the lines and wrinkles. Being with someone that isn’t self-absorbed is a nice change from my last relationship.

Mirror images only show the surface. I will try to keep reminding myself of that and walk past a few without looking. The ones I look into, I will be more forgiving of what I see and remind myself that it is only the surface view, and what I see is not just wrinkles and dark spots; it is a life lived and lessons learned.

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