“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Three very very long minutes
Three minutes in front of a mirror constitutes a test of sanity for most of us. For this prompt, I was not only required to gaze into a mirror for three minutes, but to then write about what I saw.
I don’t find the mirror’s reflection hideous. In fact there are days I clean up and feel pretty. One reason I recently decided to lose weight is every time I glanced in a mirror, I saw someone strange who invaded my body. It had been long enough since I saw myself in a positive light and I wanted the outer package to represent how I felt about myself internally.
What I deemed uncomfortable was sitting and staring at myself for a full three minutes! I tend to think in short and frequent streams of consciousness (e.g. I am easily distracted). Remaining engaged was my true test.
In an attempt to remain attentive to the task, I dictated the experience into an iPhone during the 3 minutes
of torture. It was great fun searching through the script. Following is a rendition of the text. The actual transcript is too random to post as is.
Who is the fairest of them all?
- When I turned on the dictation app, the first thing I noticed was how rumpled my hair was. True, it was my day off and I did not have to impress anyone, but if I had to look at myself for any amount of time it was not going to be with a shaggy mop of hair. So after stopping the recording long enough to produce a brush, I was ready to begin again.
- Three minutes take 2: Hair/freshly brushed-check, face/no color! Pull out the lip gloss, start again.
- Three minutes take 3: Now that my lips had a glossy sheen, I was really ready to go! But wait! Sitting on top of the disorganized dresser top (yes I am a habitual slob) there were several bottles of body/hand lotion. Hmm, suddenly I noticed how extremely dry my hands were. As I continued dictating, I slathered lotion on one hand then the other.
- Three minutes take 3.5: Yuck! Is that a new zit on my chin? Sometimes my skin becomes confused and thinks I am still a teenager. Better call Natasha when I am done and book a facial. 🙂 In a few weeks, I will be 44 years old. You should never underestimate the power of good skin.
OK. Enough about my flaws!
Who do I see when I truly examine myself in the mirror? I visualize a kind, caring woman with warm hazel eyes. I’m no longer in my 20’s, but I look pretty good for my age. Behind me, my son Sam is sitting on the bed watching this bizarre ritual with an amused smirk.
What do I notice when I study all of the seemingly random crap littering the dresser? The Hello Kitty twins are placed lovingly on the dresser next to my very first Madame Alexander baby doll. There are pictures of my kids almost (but not quite) hidden by a sassy, cute hat I have been wearing this summer. There are also pictures of me and my friends tucked into the borders of the mirror, which are set as a daily affirmation that I am loved.
A souvenir from a play I recently saw in NYC sits in a clay bowl Avery made me when she was in grade school. Sparkly bracelets are everywhere (a girl can never have too many sparkles). I realize that I cannot simply stare at myself without thinking of the whole picture: sparkles and all.
Overall, I am pleased with what I see. Maybe I will try this again with the associates at work. This is a wonderful self-discovery exercise. Who and what do you see when glancing in the mirror? Do you like him/her? What would you change, and why? Now do it!
#trust30 prompt: Mirror, mirror on the wall… find the nearest mirror. Look. Keep looking for 3 minutes. Write about what you see. Author: Esther Poyer
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