Uni Life...

What do you see…

As international students who’d travelled to America with just a suitcase, none of us had any essentials when we arrived in Albany last year. On our very first day there we headed off to Walmart to get everything we needed and, among many other things, we all bought the same full length mirror. 

After we each got our mirrors home and installed them in our rooms we began to notice something. All of the mirrors either lengthened and slimmed or shortened and widened your reflection just enough to be noticeable – think ‘House of Mirrors’ at a funfair

We discussed this occasionally and whenever we were in each others rooms we would comment on how different the reflection was to our own Walmart mirror.

My mirror was one that lengthened and slimmed and, after a while, I would forget that it was making me look longer and thinner than I really was. I liked what I saw and was only reminded that it wasn’t quite accurate when I looked in my roommate’s mirror, hers being the opposite to mine.

When I came back to England, coincidentally receiving comments about how much weight I’d lost while I’d been away (unintentionally, I might add, thanks to bad dining hall food), I looked happily at the reflection in my mirror in my bedroom and trusted that what it was showing me was real. For the whole summer I happily saw my reflection and felt good about myself.

Since moving back to Nottingham I’ve started to feel less confident about my body, I’ve started to make that wincing face when I see my reflection again. I’m not putting on any weight, I’m eating healthily, I couldn’t work out what was going wrong. That is until I went home this weekend and realised that the mirror in my bedroom at home is much more flattering than the one in Nottingham and as a direct result my self-esteem has taken a hit.

This has given me the disconcerting feeling that even what I thought I knew; that looking in a mirror will show me what I look like, might not be the case.

All I can think is how strange it is – that the slightest difference in a mirror, the smallest bend or curve that warps the reflection just a little can have this much of an impact. I keep thinking back to the more confident person I was over summer and wondering if there’s a way I can get back to that.

Maybe this is an opportunity to free myself from the scrutiny I give my body everyday.

What I need to do is adjust my way of thinking. So what that I don’t always like what I see in the mirror, who knows if it’s showing the real me anyway? As soon as I walk away I should assume I look great. We all should.

Of course, in an ideal world I wouldn’t be bothered about being ‘skinny’ at all, I’d be happy with the strengths of my personality and wouldn’t care what I looked like. But this isn’t an ideal world, I am the product of a society obsessed with image and that has placed my appearance as a factor which influences my happiness. Trust me, I’m working towards that ideal, but for now I’ll settle for being healthy, happy and trying to believe that the girl I saw in the mirror this summer is the girl that everyone else sees.

That’s all for now

x

Daily Prompt

 

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35 thoughts on “What do you see…

  1. I was always a skinny girl – pencil thin (aside from my booty) up until ooohhh, about 30. And while I think I look like a hobbit, we women tend to have a warped idea of what we truly look like (especially to other people). I’m struggling a lot lately with my weight but at the same time, embracing that I am a woman who is getting older, and to also embrace the other qualities about myself who make me who I am. Thanks for the read.

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    • It’s definitely difficult sometimes to gain perspective over what we look like, it sounds like you’re thinking the right way about it though! Thanks for reading 🙂

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  2. It’s a tricky thing, this body image. Maybe there’s a sweet spot between caring too much and not enough about how we look and feel. I’m with you 100% that it should be about how we feel and how we treat our bodies. (too much junk food? not so good. the occasional candy bar or whatever? essential!)

    From what you write, it seems you have a good handle on things. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences.

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  3. A friend came over to try on dresses at my house recently, and she told me I had a “skinny mirror.” I was so annoyed, because I had gotten used to thinking that what I saw was who I was. It threw me for a while, but now I’m back on, skinny mirror or not. Nice read. Thank you!

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    • Haha oh no! I definitely know how you feel but I still feel good in my ‘skinny mirror’ even though I know it might not be quite accurate, just embrace it!

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  4. This is fascinating. I wonder if there are studies done on this kind of phenomenon? “What you see is (what you feel) is what you get.” It’s amazing that seeing a slimmer image of yourself increased your self esteem and seems to have contributed to weight loss.

    Also, this gives all new meaning to the term “vanity mirror.” It reminds me of the “vanity sizing” at stores that cater to women–sure! Let’s all pretend I’m a size 4!

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    • Haha, it is strange isn’t it? That’s a great point about shops that use this technique to sell clothes, I guess all of us are inclined to believe what we want to even if it doesn’t seem quite right! But then if it makes us feel good about ourselves then why not?! Thanks for reading

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