The Roundup -

Mirror Mirror on the Wall


I can’t tell you when I last took a good long look at myself in a mirror. I do know it’s been years; the only times I make use of a mirror is to give myself a superficial glance in passing. I know very well what will stare back at me if I look too long or too hard, and I figure life is too short to confirm everything I didn’t want to know anyway about my facial features and the condition of the rest of my body.

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with mirrors. From the time I was old enough to understand that some people looked gorgeous and others of us looked mundane or worse, I have not particularly appreciated mirrors or cameras. As a teenager I spent long hours peering, primping, adjusting, fuming, stewing, and worrying about the state of the reflection staring back at me from the mirror, but even as a teen I was never very happy with the overall result of all my careful attentions. I can assure you, that unhappiness has only increased as I age, and I’ve reached the point that I really don’t bother much with reflective devices any longer. They are useful to ensure that I don’t have a bit of breakfast hanging from the corner of my mouth, or to check on the state of my hair, or to tweeze those annoying chin hairs that also have started sprouting on a regular basis, but other than that, I figure the less I see, the happier I am.

After all, why would I want to take a close look at the increasing number of wrinkles that line my face? I have no idea who stole my neck and replaced it with turkey wattles, but until I find the culprit and restore my neck to its rightful spot, I really don’t need a mirror to remind me of my loss. As for my hair, I used to love it as it lay thick and shiny around my head, but it has decided it wants to change to an undesirable gray color, grow limp, and lose the shine and bounce it once possessed.

As far as the distasteful thought of looking at myself in a full length mirror, I can’t think of a better way to throw myself into a bleak depression. I weigh the same as I did when I graduated from high school, but unfortunately, the shape has changed dramatically. My science teachers had it right: there is such a thing as gravity, and it DOES tend to pull everything down towards the center of the earth. I know that my belly wants to sag, my hips have become my thighs, my thighs hang somewhere around my knees, and my knees have transformed themselves into my ankles. Why do I want to look in a mirror to validate the mishmash my body has become? What I know but don’t see the need to confirm on a regular basis keeps me in a much more pleasant frame of mind.

I know that I have tied an apron around my waist to work at the Virginia City café on weekends all summer long, and not once did I look in a full length mirror to see how the apron made me look around my midriff and below. This in itself sounds great on the one hand, but it also makes me realize how old I am. Five decades ago I would have peered, turned, smoothed that piece of cloth, and retied that darn apron a hundred times in fruitless efforts to make my waistline resemble Scarlett O’Hara’s. Today, after many years of worrying about trivia such as what I look like, I really don’t care if this apron makes my rear look big or not.

I already know I have lost the pleasant firmness of youth. Heck, I lost that part of my general physique decades ago. In my case, my string bikini days were over before they ever began which depressed me immensely as a young woman, but doesn’t bother me a bit today. I mean, look what mirrors can do. Ask Snow White how a talking mirror nearly got her killed just because she was the most beautiful of all. At least I don’t have that concern: no magic mirror on earth would EVER tell me I was the fairest damsel in all the land. Would I even want to be the fairest of them all? What a drag. I’d be surrounded by sycophants who wanted something from me, and what a nightmare I’d have trying to keep those good looks from succumbing to the demands of time. Heck, do you know how many years have passed since anyone in their right mind would even consider me a damsel?

I treat mirrors respectfully and keep them at arm’s length whenever possible. Mirrors, like cameras, have the unfortunate habit of magnifying every single imperfection, wart, chin hair, and general disrepair of a person, and they never fail to remind me with indifferent cruelty that whether I like it or not, I have some age on me.

No wonder the Shopko clerks need no identification to prove that I qualify for their senior citizen discounts. They take one look at me, and tell me that today is Senior day and they have applied the appropriate discount on my purchase. I also unfortunately cannot remember the last time anyone even jokingly asked to see some identification when I bought a bottle of wine.

Oh well, as I tell my husband, I earned these wrinkles and gray hair. They represent a lifetime of experiences, so mirrors can go the way of the brontosaurus as far as I am concerned. They really aren’t needed any longer at my house.


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