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Thursday, June 12, 2014


Even if you have never heard of Snow White and the 7 Dwarves (???) there is no way you have never heard the line, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”  This seems like an okay question to ask a mirror, I think.  I mean, a mirror gets a LOT of customers and MUST have some kind of opinion, right?  But the trouble comes, at least for Snow White, when the mirror tells the truth.  Instead of kissing the Queen’s ass, the mirror offers an honest assessment that hey actually, her stepdaughter is edging her out in the looks department.  And Snow White IS pretty cute!  But would it have killed the mirror to be a little nicer about it?  The Queen isn’t exactly someone to sneeze at, and it would have saved Snow White AND the Queen herself a world of hurt if the mirror could have told what amounts to a little “snow white” lie, see?  So what gives?

I personally enjoy playing a  game I call good mirror/bad mirror.  Whenever I look in any mirror anywhere, I form an opinion of ITS worthiness based on how I look in it.  I turn the tables on the mirror, if you will.  If the mirror doesn’t make me look like the fairest (or slimmest) of them all, then I proclaim it a “bad mirror”.  But if I look pretty good if I do say so myself, then that is a “good mirror”.  See, it’s the mirror’s fault!  And all those “bad” mirrors are clearly just bald faced liars looking for a rumble.  Too bad about the fluorescent lighting and the extra slice of pizza, mirror!  I look puffy and washed out and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!!!  BWAH HA HA HA HA!  That was my evil Disney Queen laugh, btw.
Have you ever looked at yourself in a fun house mirror?  The ones that can make your legs look two feet long and your torso unending, or give you a giant head and tiny body, or make you hugely fat or disgustingly skinny?  It’s funny, right?  Sometimes you stand and kick those little short legs and laugh, or wag a super long finger in front of your elongated nose.  We enjoy the bizarre images because we KNOW they are not the “truth”…we know we don’t actually look like a space alien, but instead like a denizen of planet earth.  So now I have a challenge for you:  can you decide that ALL mirrors are fun house mirrors?  That what you see reflected back is quite unlike what anyone else sees when they look at you?

I have had days when I leave the house feeling great about myself, only to catch a glimpse of my reflection in a car window that turns my mood upside down…how can I look like THAT???  I looked so good in my bathroom mirror (GOOD MIRROR!) but I look so bad in the car window (BAD MIRROR!).  And I let it spoil my mojo.  Instead of feeling confident, like I did only seconds before, I feel self-conscious.  Self-loathing.  I want to fix my hair, get some botox, change my clothes.  I want to change how I look to change how I feel.  But a) that is always a temporary and transient fix, because another bad mirror could lurk around the next corner and b) do I even have any idea how I look, really?  Do ANY of us?
I was cuddling my son before bed one night and I asked him, “Why are you so beautiful?” and he answered, without a moment of hesitation, “Because I came out of YOU.  You have no idea how beautiful you are.”  Now, I could rationalize this and say, “Well, he’s my baby, of course he thinks I’m beautiful”, or I could generalize this and walk out into the world with a new perspective.  A new perspective that says, “I have no idea how beautiful I am, and NEITHER DO OTHERS REALIZE HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE.”  We have all experienced this with teenagers, when they wear that self-conscious misery on their sleeves and you just want to shake them by the shoulders and yell, “You are so fresh, young and lovely!  BE HAPPY, GODDAMMIT!”  But we have also had a super model friend tell us how “fat” she feels, a handsome and charming man bemoan his balding pate, a woman with a radiant complexion flip out over an imperceivable blemish.  Be happy, goddamit.  All of us.

Photoshop, stop messing with everybody.  "They give those nice bright colors, give us the greens of summers, make us think all the world's a sunny day"...but hey, I've actually met you, and you don't actually look like that picture you are so proud of; you look like you.  I love your crooked teeth, I love your sparkling eyes, I love that little hitch in your walk that you don't notice but allows me to recognize you at 100 paces.  You are more beautiful than you know.  The mirror can't properly reflect that, and neither can a picture.  It can only be seen in another person's eyes.  It can only be known deep in your soul.  You have no idea how beautiful you are, but the time has come to learn.  Even if it feels like a lie at first, remind yourself that the "truth" did not work out so well for the Queen.  Would it kill you to be a little nicer to yourself?  And to the mirrors of the world:  how about you take your opinion and shove it?  The view in here is just fine, thank you very much.



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