I am always the girl who looks in the mirror. Its not always just a mirror, but any reflective surface. Always checking to make sure that everything is place, or at least as good as I can possibly get it. As someone of average looks but beyond average self awareness I know where I stand in life, I see things clearly in that reflection of mine. However, after all the research I have done on happiness and mindfulness and the like, I know that great looks do not equate happiness. I know that is a fact, but I still struggle against the fact that for someone who is both short and average in both looks and weight, my image will never be reflected back at me from any poster, ad or doll. The only reflection that I have to go on is my own.
What prompted me to write this story is an event I remembered back in college. When I slipped into the bathroom between classes as always, I stopped to look in the mirror to make sure my hair was exactly like I wanted it. If I can't control my body, I will damn well control my hair or something else. It had to be just right, brushed back for volume with a large soft brush, parted and sprayed into place. It looked totally normal and not formal or over the top, but for me, looking normal required effort. As I was making efforts to look effortless, I saw a girl rush past me. She washed her hands quickly, dried them and ran out of the bathroom. She did not look up to see herself in the giant college bathroom mirror. Not even for a split second.
This minor act really confused me. How can someone when faced with a giant mirror, especially a college age woman, not look up? I was shocked. But the feeling that surprised me most was jealousy. I was jealous of the fact that someone can so blatantly not give a shit about what they look like. Maybe she didn't come from a culture that primped its women like dolls. Maybe she had a totally different upbringing. Maybe she was taught something different? I really don't know but what I do know is that I was jealous and I was jealous because I knew that at the end of the day the girl who does not give a shit what she looks like is much happier than the girl who dwells on it.
This goes beyond bullshit media-inflicted images of women, its deeper than that as not all women will be affected by those images. Those prone to self loathing will do so no matter what and if you are a young woman, that kind of loathing will scar you for a while. Its just a constant feeling of always being uncomfortable and never satisfied. Always dwelling on the details until a forced state of perfection is reached. And to be honest, I'm exhausted.
When will I FINALLY love myself? When will I follow the advice of all those books I read when I was researching the mind and depression and happiness and being in the moment and so on. I always go about my life like every day is temporary and I take that approach with my face and body. The FUTURE one will be great! Just wait til ::insert whatever arbitrary event:: is coming up and I will be ready! Its like dieting for a wedding that will NEVER happen as mine never did. But it seems I am waiting to be happy when I reach whatever impossible goal I set for myself.
I remember talking to my sister over the summer and then someone else on the topic. They said the older you get the less you care. My sister said she was in her 30's before she learned to love herself. Well I am 30 now and when will it happen? Because I really really am exhausted and I am terrified of this self loathing to keep manifesting itself in awful ways which I do not care to discuss just yet. These days are not temporary they're forever and yes, these are the days of our lives and they add up. So its not happiness that I want at this point, its to look in the mirror (or not) and really not give a fuck. I can't wait for that day to come because that is the day that I can start being happy.
Week 16 of 52 - Story a Week in 2014