Two Months Without a Mirror and this is What Happened

I spent my summer without access to a mirror. Sure, there was a small one affixed above the sink where I brushed my teeth, but the house where I was staying had no wardrobe mirror. For two months, I didn’t see my full reflection.

The timing of this was particularly interesting seeing as it was summer, a time when, under ordinary circumstances, I’m particularly prone to self criticism. Pulling on a bikini is usually followed by craning my neck around to look at my backside with a disdainful eye or sigh over the downward pull of my belly that seems to increase with every passing year.

Without a mirror in which to examine every flaw, however, this is what happened: I put on my swimsuit, threw on a cover up, and went to beach. It was no different from how my 4-year-old niece approaches readying herself for a swim:  a practical matter, dreamily free of the self consciousness that seems to plague every woman I know.

It was the same in the evening, when I threw on a sundress or buttoned into a pair of jeans. There was no mirror in which to ponder if I’d be better off wearing something else. I bought and actually wore a tennis skirt without ever once examining how it did or didn’t flatter my legs, my achilles heal for body image.

Under ordinary circumstances, I don’t consider myself someone who spends a lot of time in front of a mirror. But when I began thinking about it, I realized that I actually do. My full-length mirror is on the inside of my closet door, which means every time I get dressed, need to change shoes, put on a jacket, or grab my handbag, I’m looking at that mirror. And every opening of that door is an opportunity to assess, and yes, often criticize.

The one challenge of not having a mirror, of course, was the inability to see if my top matched my skirt or which shoes to pair with my jumpsuit. For that, I relied on my sister, who happens to have a knack for style, and my daughters, who are never shy with fashion advice for their mother.

Now that I’m home, I’ve been considering what I’ve come to think of as the mirror conundrum. I’m not ready to live without one, but I do plan to be more thoughtful about how I use it. My intention is to rely on it for the practical purpose of putting myself together with a modicum of style (since sisters and children aren’t always around to help out on this front). Beyond that, I’ll get on with my day. I may relocate the mirror to a less intrusive spot or switch the door I use to open the closet. Either way, when I do catch a glimpse of myself,  I intend to be more aware of the thoughts that trip across my consciousness, aiming for kindness and self-compassion rather than criticism.

Photo credit: Logan Ripley via Unsplash

Comments

08.21.2017 at8:40 AM #

Wendy

If you wouldn’t say it to someone else don’t let your mind say it to you! Be as kind to yourself as you would to someone else 🙂

08.21.2017 at8:40 AM #

katiemorford

That is such a good rule of thumb, Wendy. It’s almost like applying the Golden Rule in reverse. Be as compassionate towards yourself as you would to others.

08.21.2017 at9:03 PM #

Liz

Beautiful post Katie! I am going to use this tactic on myself too ❤️

08.21.2017 at9:03 PM #

katiemorford

Thank you Liz. I think it’s a worthwhile experiment!

08.22.2017 at12:27 AM #

Kristin Dickerson

I love this post, Katie. Very thought provoking. Everyone should spend a summer (or two) without a mirror!
Miss seeing you guys and hope to see you soon!
Kristin D.

08.22.2017 at12:27 AM #

katiemorford

Thanks Kristin. I agree…it’s a worthy experiment.

08.23.2017 at1:46 AM #

yunah

katie- i love this – it is so hard to turn off or even turn down the volume of that inner critic. i will try this…
xo, y

08.23.2017 at1:46 AM #

katiemorford

those critics can be awfully noisy 🙂

08.25.2017 at10:24 PM #

Anne|Craving Something Healthy

Love that you were able to take one more thing off your plate during your vacation. I wonder if the lack of mirror is intentional?!

08.25.2017 at10:24 PM #

Jessica @ Small Bites by Jessica

That’s such an interesting thought Anne – no mirror on vacation

08.31.2017 at9:44 PM #

EA The Spicy RD

This is such a great post Katie! Although I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I usually put on some mascara and lip gloss. It was so refreshing this summer to go to Yosemite and not bother to put on any makeup at all. I did catch an occasional glimpse of myself in the mirror, but decided not to worry about how I looked, and just smiled and said, “What the hell!” 🙂

08.31.2017 at9:44 PM #

katiemorford

Make-up free vacation sounds like a good idea too. Thanks for sharing.

08.31.2017 at10:01 PM #

Rebecca

LOVE this so much!

08.31.2017 at10:01 PM #

katiemorford

Thanks Rebecca

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