Monday, May 2, 2011

Why I'm Not Looking in a Mirror for a Month

As of 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 2011, I’ve embarked on a monthlong mirror fast. Thirty-one days of no mirrors, store windows, shiny pots, spoons, or the dark glass of the subway.

My personal bathroom mirror is shrouded; my windows will either be open at night or be covered with drawn blinds so that I can’t sneak a peek. At public places and the homes of others, I will avert my eyes where I know there’s a mirror, and will look away as quickly as possible if I run into an unexpected reflection. The only exception to this will be the use of a handheld mirror to apply makeup—I will apply my skin products (serum, tinted moisturizer) without looking, but will use a small mirror for the color products (eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick). I am also allowing a small hand mirror to be used to spot-check for spinach in my teeth. Deal? I’m doing it this way because not wearing makeup for a month is another sort of challenge, and I don’t want this experiment to be about not wearing makeup for a month; I specifically want it to be about the dozens—perhaps hundreds—of times each day that I look in the mirror for no practical reason. 

 

*    *    *    *    *

Marilyn, Annika Connor


I purposefully say “no practical reason,” because there are plenty of reasons that I look in the mirror as frequently as I do, reasons that go beyond checking for lipstick smears or unreasonable hair. To be clear: I am not bound to my mirror. Some acquaintances reading this may be puzzled as to why I believe a mirror fast will be a challenge for me; I’m not prone to pulling out a hand mirror to check my makeup, and I don’t give off the vibe of someone who can’t be torn away from her own image. I don’t know how often the average woman looks in the mirror; I’m guessing I’m about on par, perhaps shying toward the more frequent end of the scale. So I’m not particularly concerned that the time I spend in front of the mirror is consuming me.

What I am concerned about is the uncomfortable recognition I had when reading John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. He writes:

A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. … And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. … Thus she turns herself into an object—and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.

Reading this was the first time I’d understood that objectification does not mean sexualization. Because I don’t usually present myself in a particularly sexualized manner, I thought I’d done what I could to safeguard against my own objectification. But I haven’t, because in many ways it’s near-impossible: Women are constantly being looked at. Even when we’re not, we’re so hyperaware of the possibility of being looked at that it can rule even our most private lives. Including in front of our mirrors, alone.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see myself, or whatever I understand myself to be. Other times, I distinctly see an image of myself. When I see my image reflected on a mirror behind a bar I think, Oh good, I look like a woman who is having a good time out with friends. Or I’ll see my reflection in a darkened windowpane, hunched over my computer with a pencil twirled through my upswept hair, and I’ll think, My, don’t I look like a writer? Or I’ll walk to a fancy restaurant and see my high-heeled, pencil-skirted silhouette in the glass of the door and think: I pass as someone who belongs here. You’ll notice what these have in common: My thoughts upon seeing my reflection are both self-centered and distant. I’m seeing myself, but not really—I’m seeing a woman who looks like she’s having a good time, or a writer, or someone who belongs at Balthazar.

I may in truth be any of those, but I am relying upon a false reference point. It’s false because it is, by necessity, distorted—whether it’s distorted by the physics trick that shows us a reverse image of what our onlookers see, or by my own subjective opinion, or by my pucker-lipped “mirror face,” the fact remains the mirror will not only not be able to tell me whether I’m having a good time, it can’t ever really tell me whether I look like I’m having a good time. I know perfectly well what I look like; still, I use the mirror as a divination tool to repeatedly confirm both how I look and how I should feel about it.

One of the symptoms of an eating disorder is what’s known as “body checking”: excessively feeling, measuring, or monitoring aspects of one’s body. The idea isn’t necessarily that an ED patient is checking her or his body and finding it unsuitable (though it can be that); it’s more that the chronic observation signals a preoccupation that bespeaks the larger concern. The act of monitoring becomes one of the touchstones through which an ED patient marks her day. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m “face checking” myself, but most of the time when I’m looking in the mirror, I’m not merely looking for stray eyelashes. I’m looking for confirmation that I look good enough that I needn’t be anxious about my appearance—not at any given moment, but in perpetuity. In other words: I am asking the mirror to free me from being absorbed with my looks. It’s like having an AA meeting at Tequila Willie’s.

Please don’t mistake me: This experiment isn’t about improving my self-esteem, not exactly. I don’t stand in front of the mirror and pick myself apart, nor do I gaze tenderly upon this glorious visage. My response to my appearance fluctuates, as does everyone’s, I assume. Most of the time I like what I see just fine. Still, if one outcome of this project is emerging with a more consistent attitude toward my appearance, well, that’s just dandy.

Yet my core concern here isn’t whether I like or don’t like what I see in the mirror. It’s about the overriding self-consciousness that’s taken up residence in my psyche. Self-consciousness is often taken to mean some combination of shy, uncomfortable, awkward, and not feeling particularly good about one’s self; it can indeed result in that. But there’s another application of heightened self-consciousness, aptly described in a chapter of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex that's titled, of course, “The Narcissist”: 


I recall another young woman I saw one morning in a café powder room; she had a rose in her hand and she seemed a little intoxicated; she put her lips to the mirror as if to drink her reflection, and she murmured with a smile: “Adorable, I find myself adorable!” … “I love myself, I am my God!” said Mme Mejerowsky. To become God is to accomplish the impossible synthesis of the en-soi and the pour-soi [that is, to be at once the changeless Fact, the Essence, and the mutable, questioning Consciousness]... The young girl who in her mirror has seen beauty, desire, love, happiness, in her own features—animated, she believes, with her own consciousness—will try all her life to exhaust the promises of that dazzling revelation.

When I read that passage from The Second Sex, a trickle of dread ran through me—I felt like I’d been caught, as though Simone de Beauvoir had peered into my brain at my vainest and most delusional and written it down for posterity. But the real concern I have about self-consciousness—both the drunken-mirror-kissing kind and the painfully awkward kind—is that it is impossible to be in a state of flow when you are your own #1 concern.  

In a flow state, a person is so actively engaged with a task that there is simply no room for awareness of one’s self. That’s not because you’re outside of yourself as you might be when, say, watching an engrossing action film; rather, it’s because you are so wholly present in the moment that you and the moment merge so as to engulf your consciousness. Forgive the New Agey woo-woo, but: In a state of flow, there is no self-consciousness, only consciousness.


Mirror Me, Annika Connor

Times I have experienced a flow state: hiking the White Mountains, writing this blog, attending a figure drawing class, creating a magnificent dessert, moonlight swimming in the Gulf of Thailand. Times I have not experienced a flow state: necking with a man who murmured that my body was “amazing,” buying a great pair of jeans, seeing a candid photo of myself and thinking I looked quite pretty, being told by an appealing man that he’d been “spending the whole night trying to not stare at your beauty.” I felt good about my appearance in each of those latter moments, and I’m not diminishing the importance of being able to recognize one’s own beauty. But those moments had no transcendence. I emerged from each of those windows of time feeling beautiful, but the moments were myopic in their focus on my appearance.

When I look at the flow moments, though, beauty takes on a different tint. It’s not that beauty becomes secondary or unimportant; it’s more that I’m fulfulling the false craving I have for feeling beautiful with something more substantial. You can get vitamin C from a pill—hell, you can get it through enough Skittles—but there’s nothing like getting it from a perfectly ripe orange. In both cases, you get the vitamin C, but with the whole food you get things like fiber, folate, and potassium. It’s the same with flow states versus moments of appreciating my looks, or having them appreciated: With both, I still wind up pleased with my appearance. But one is the orange, and the other is a grab bag of candy.

There’s nothing wrong with looking in the mirror. There’s nothing wrong with sometimes looking to your reflection—even when it is impossibly subjective, and backward at that—for a breath of fortitude, centeredness, and assurance. I just want to see what life is like when I’m not using that image as my anchor; I want to see how it affects the way I move through the world, the way I regard myself and others. I want to know what it’s like to sever a primary tie to one of my greatest personal flaws—extraordinary self-consciousness—and I want to discover what will fill the space that the mirror has occupied until now.

I want to eat the orange. 

44 comments:

  1. This is an exceptional idea - I wish you all the luck in the world, and I can't wait to see how your project turns out.

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  2. I LOVE the extended metaphor at the end. It's perfectly placed.
    That sounds like a very interesting endeavor. I'd like to try it some time too.

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  3. You should track down Carol Shields story, "Mirror". It is about a couple who go to their vacation home...and live there for a summer together without mirrors. I did a post on this some time ago. To go even more new-agey on you: In a sense our significant relationships are the BEST mirrors.

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  4. I relate to the John Berger quote, too, but I don't think it's a ladies-only perspective; I think avid readers are at high risk of the same thing, seeing their lives from the outside, envisioning oneself as a protagonist. Hell, I bet even movie buffs do it.

    Fun experiment!

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  5. Love love love!!

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  6. This is fantastic, and I can't wait to read more. I actually just started a similar project (though I'm aiming for 1 year without mirrors!). If you're interested, check it out at www.mirrormirroroffthewall.blogspot.com. I'll definitely be staying posted on your progress! Is it alright if I link to your blog from mine? Best of luck. :)

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  7. Amy CT, Alexa, Terr, Rebekah, "Anonymous," and KJigsaw--thank you for reading! I'll be doing weekly updates here.

    Terri, excellent recommendation--thank you! I definitely feel like my partner's perspective on this is helpful--he is probably the least vain person I know yet is sympathetic to me feeling tethered to the mirror.

    Rebekah, great point--self-objectification isn't limited to women, or even to sexism. And I think that such flights of fancy aren't always to be discouraged--it's more that when I find myself playing the role of Me I sort of ick myself out...

    KJigsaw, I am THRILLED to meet you! Yes, certainly link to my blog from yours; I've done the same and Tweeted your blog as well and am happy to walk this path with you!

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  8. I love this. I am so impressed that you are undertaking such a challenge. I don't know if I could...but reading this post really makes me want to try! I remember reading "Ways of Seeing" and being quite enthralled, I should re-read it. As for the "Flow" - I totally get that. It is why I love exercise so much - running, yoga, core fusion, that is where I find my flow. It used to be acting and painting...and maybe would be still if I ever got around to it. But, yes, I get how being conscious of yourself can impede on flow. Honestly it is why I was not a better actress, I couldn't stop observing myself... I am just beyond impressed, Autumn! I can't wait to see how it goes!

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  9. Cameo, when I read "Ways of Seeing" for the first time (only a couple of years ago) I felt like it opened things up and articulated so much that I'd never been able to expressed. And, ha! That's exactly why I wasn't a better actress too! Or at least part of it. Really, I was dearly afraid of looking stupid.

    Terri, I found the Carol Shields story--a delightful, quiet read. Thank you for the recommendation.

    KJigsaw, the story Terri mentioned is here--you may find it interesting too. (It's short.)

    http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/0997/shields/sstory.html

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  10. I made my way over here from jezebel, and I'm really excited about your experiment. I have realized on many occasions that I hadn't looked in a mirror for 6-8 hours, even when I had gone to the bathroom and walked past windows. I had just been too pre-occupied to notice my appearance. Now don't get me wrong- I like to look nice. I have over the years, though, come to understand that I am fairly uncommon in my usual state of excessive mental pre-occupation, and I am just fascinated to see how a thoughtful person feels about entering such a state on purpose. Good luck achieving the flow.

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  11. I understand what you are saying, but feel it's a Western (and young) position. As an actress now living abroad (I just spent 2 years in Uganda), I have found myself shedding all of that with each step away from the Western idea of beauty and constant "awareness" of self.
    I have also become a mother, and let me tell you, when you are chasing a toddler around and settling into a new home in a new country, the last thing you do is look in a mirror. If I am able to make it out of the house without food all over my shirt, well, that's beauty enough for me.

    P.S. You are a very good writer.

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  12. Jamie, thank you for reading! I'm envious (in a good way) of that ability of yours. That state feels wonderful to me, and I'm trying to find ways to allow myself to access it. Of course, now the problem is I'm preoccupied with NOT looking in a mirror, ha! But it's been only a few days...

    Red Dirt Lattes, welcome! And thank you for the compliment, and for reading. You're absolutely correct that it's a western position--the awareness of self on some level is human, but the way we engage with that awareness here in the states takes a vastly different (and more all-encompassing) form. I've never been to Africa but when I was in Vietnam it was really interesting to see how little concern there was about individuality, which is part of what our self-awareness in the west is about. Everyone dressed the same, pretty much--part of that was it being a socialist nation, true, but it went deeper than that, I suspect.

    An excellent point about mothering as well. I don't plan on having children but have often thought that doing so might function as an accidental remedy for bouts of narcissism on my end! And I'm 34, so not particularly young, though not "old"--in fact, my age is part of why I want to do this project now. I think that 10 years ago I wouldn't have been bothered by the breath of assurance I felt in the mirror, because I was still leaning so heavily on it to be comfortable in my skin. I'm still not wholly comfortable with my appearance but am generally fine with it--but I still rely on the mirror for input, when that no longer makes sense.

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  13. Very interesting project, Autumn - especially the 'doing' of it. you can read widely and think on it until the cows come home, but one day without mirrors will tell you more about what all this is to You.

    i 2nd Terri's rec, also Carol Shields' short story 'A Scarf' (both can be found in her collection 'Dressing Up For The Carnival'). the latter addresses women, our relationships, and issues of identity and self-worth. it provided the spark for her novel 'Unless'.

    i just returned from a week with my mom, who has one mirror in her whole house - above the bathroom sink (none even above the powder room sink). as it happens, she very consciously and deliberately avoids certain 'issues' she'd rather not think/feel about, and this is a bit of a contentious point between us fairly often. and she doesn't like her looks much, her explicit reason for the no mirror policy.

    yikes! it so often comes down to goldilocks - not too much, not too little, just right.....your experiment sounds nicely suited to help you find a relationship with your reflection that makes you happy. i'm looking forward to hearing more! steph

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  14. Hi Steph--Thank you for reading! I appreciate the literature recommendations; I'm not nearly as well-read as I'd like to be, especially in fiction, and this is helpful. I'll certainly check these out. (I greatly enjoyed "Mirror.")

    That's an interesting connection between your mother deliberately avoiding issues she'd rather not think about, and her only having one mirror and not caring for the way she looks. I wonder what would happen if she did the reverse of my experiment and consciously started looking in mirrors more? Hmm.

    I don't know if I avoid issues (if anything I overanalyze things) but I am very "out of sight, out of mind" and frankly I've been surprised by how neatly that's transferred over to my feelings on my appearance!

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  15. What an interesting idea! I have been in the habit of "body checking" at times, but I have seen the extremes of it while in treatment for an ED. I kind of wonder what it would feel like to avoid the mirror for myself. My challenge would be in covering up the shared mirror in my bathroom, I think my husband would get annoyed! ;-) But it's definitely an idea that has gotten my brain going... I'm subscribing to your blog now, I can't wait to hear your feelings at the end of this!

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  16. This really gets to me, probably because I have an awareness of going into the bathroom at social events where I am having fun and checking out my reflection with the thoughts:

    1) "Do I look like I'm having enough fun?"

    2) "Do I look like I'm worthy to be having this much fun?"

    And -- at an individual level -- asking the questions makes me regret checking the mirror.

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  17. Hi, Jill and Frolic Naked! Thank you for reading!

    Jill, this project is turning out to be much more related to body/eating/self-perception issues than I'd initially anticipated. I didn't realize how much I was policing my body, because most of the time I'm looking in the mirror it's at my face, or so I thought. I'm still figuring it all out but do stay tuned. I never thought I was *that* into body checking either, but removing one enormous way in which I could do so without realizing it has made me highly aware of how often I'm surveilling myself. Honestly, it's been unexpectedly intense.

    Frolic Naked: You've hit it. That's exactly it: I'm looking to this external factor (the reflection) as a barometer of what sort of time I'm having. It's this odd sort of dissociation from actually HAVING a good time, isn't it? I'm learning that there are as many relationships to the mirror as there are people, and this aspect of our mirrored selves is difficult to describe to someone who doesn't do this...but it's there, and it hampers our ability to simply be.

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  18. Autumn! You are always doing the most awesome experiments here. I think it would do me good to ditch the mirror as well. At least, temporarily. I will be following your month long experience.

    Also you referred to mirrors being backwards several times. Have you ever listened to Radio Lab on NPR? Check out this recent segment on mirrors. Fascinating! http://www.radiolab.org/2011/apr/18/mirror-mirror/

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  19. Well, it looks like you are satisfying your personal flaw "extraordinary self-consciousness" by announcing and publicizing this personal decision of yours, foregoing mirrors but having others notice you by talking about it.

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  20. Hi Timothy--Thank you for reading. And, yes, you could say that blogging and mirrors serve similar means. It's a point that Rob Horning at Marginal Utility makes when he strokes my self-conscious ego with his post:

    http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/142268-/

    If you're interested in the connection between narcissism and social media you'll likely find it interesting.

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  21. I've read this post and all the follow-up comments with great interest! For the past 25 years or so, I've included "The Mirror Challenge" as an assignment in a course I teach regularly about women's lives around the world. The "challenge" asks all students (who are mostly young women, but usually include a few young men) to go for (a mere) 24 hours without looking in any reflective surface (mirror, window, TV screen, water...), keep a diary of the experience, and write a paper discussing the experience (in relation to a bunch of readings they do about women's body images in cross-cultural perspective). My students' papers, and class discussions about the experience, are always revelatory. In general, those students who most dread the assignment--because they consider themselves mirror addicts--tend to most enjoy it, as they discover a new freedom they hadn't realized they craved; and those who least dread the assignment--because they consider themselves already liberated from mirror gazing--often discover that they are far more dependent on frequently confirming their appearance than they realized. No matter which group they fall into, ALL students discover that it is a lot harder to avoid reflective surfaces as they go about their day, even if they are actively trying to do so--they are typically appalled to discover that reflective surfaces are simply ubiquitous in our post-industrialized living spaces. Nevertheless, as we might expect, the men in the class typically have an easier time of the assignment than do most of the women, and they learn a lot about the ways that cultural pressures to be beautiful in a particular way are especially internalized by women in Western societies when they hear how tough the challenge was for some of their female classmates. I haven't yet had a student who's refused to do the assignment, no matter how mirror-addicted they considered themselves, and I recommend it to everyone (male or female) as a great way to become aware of how cultural norms shape our sense of self in deep if often invisible ways.

    I look forward to following your inner journey, Autumn, as you embark on this extraordinary challenge of your own!

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  22. Hi Alma--Oh wow, what a fascinating assignment! Since starting this project I've met (online) another woman doing this, for a year (you can find her at http://ayearwithoutmirrors.com), and just talking with her has helped crystallize some stuff for me--how wonderful to be able to talk with dozens of classmates about what one learns.

    FYI, this experiment is now officially concluded, though my mirror is still covered--I do look at myself to put on makeup now but have just found that I'm more at ease without that constant monitoring. Here's a page on my blog that has links to my various writings on the matter:

    http://www.the-beheld.com/p/month-without-mirrors.html

    You would likely be most interested in the conclusion (http://www.the-beheld.com/2011/05/month-without-mirrors-update-531.html), which was also published in edited (and therefore smoother) form at The New Inquiry (http://thenewinquiry.com/post/6385216577/the-mirror-slave-dialectic#disqus_thread)

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  23. I lived without a mirror for nearly 2 years. I didn't avoid them deliberately - the house I lived in just didn't have one and I didn't change that. It was fantastic! I was 17, and since then have never worn make up, cared about hairstyles or obsessed over clothes, weight or anything. I am now 33, naturally confident and free from almost all of the trappings of our society's ludicrous beauty myth. Good luck!

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  24. Just wait a very few more years, and you will find that no one IS looking at you.
    It is very liberating. I don't miss it, as I have a family to care for, and I am too busy being engaged outwards. I have been liberated from navel gazing and over awareness of self.I used to be aware of my own image in the eyes of others almost all the time. Most of the time it was good as I was quite attractive, but... 'goodbye to all that'.

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  25. Anonymous, what a wonderful way to have lucked into an escape hatch from preoccupation with "appearing"! That's a really excellent experience, one I wish more girls at that age could have.

    KS, it's interesting--I've heard similar things from a number of women over 50, and not a one of them has missed the attention. Not a one! Women in their 40s (I'm 35), I've heard say "Wow, what happened?" but it seems like that's just an adjustment. But in any case, you make it seem wonderfully liberating--thank you.

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  26. My church asked us to join them in a 3 day fast from something that controls us individually. I chose to fast from mirrors. When I'm tempted to look at my reflection, I'm reminded that God sees beauty in the heart and to let God work on improving me inward. I'm so glad to have found your blog and the girl who did this for 1 year! I thought I might have picked a weird thing to fast from, until I saw all your other reasonings, and how much it can help grow a person. Thank you for documenting!

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    1. Leann, I think that's wonderful, and inventive. Abstaining from more traditional vices (alcohol, sweets) certainly teaches us a lot about ourselves, but there's a cultural narrative laid out for that already. Challenging yourself in this way is a different beast, and I'm so glad you did it! And I'm honored I could play a small role in your understanding here.

      In case you haven't come across her work already, I'll point you toward Kjerstin Gruys, a sociologist in California who is abstaining from mirrors for a YEAR. http://ayearwithoutmirrors.com

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  27. Hi,

    I came across your page - via my mother who announced at dinner yesterday "there's another girl online not looking in mirrors." I have to admit, I haven't had a chance to read all of your reasoning above, but I have read enough to see that I while our reasoning is likely different, I have a lot of respect for what you did. (I have to tell you though - I think using a mirror for your makeup was cheating... but that might just be because I can do mine without one.. lol). For me, it's not a full month - when I can look in the mirror again (on the 31st) it will be after two weeks - but it's been a very interesting experience.

    I won't go into on here my own reasoning for doing this, or the understandings that I'm looking for during this process, but I will say this on a very light note - dear god, I never realized before how many shiny surfaces there really are.

    xJeniLynn.

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    1. Hi JeniLynn--Pleased to meet another likeminded experimenter! I'd be curious to know about your experience and reasons for embarking on mirror abstinence; if you've written about them publicly please send me a link. And hallelujah to the shiny surfaces! I'd been using my computer screen as a mirror without realizing it!

      As for the makeup, the second time around I did it without one, though really I don't feel like I "saw" myself when I used a small hand mirror the first time around. But why not make it "pure" if you can, right?

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  28. I don't know if you've ever come across this Sylvia Plath poem, which is what your post reminded me of:

    Mirror

    I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
    What ever you see I swallow immediately
    Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
    I am not cruel, only truthful---
    The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
    Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
    It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
    I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
    Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
    Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
    Searching my reaches for what she really is.
    Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
    I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
    She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
    I am important to her. She comes and goes.
    Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
    In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
    Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

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    1. I hadn't come across this--thank you for pointing me toward it!

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  29. Several years ago I went on a three month backpacking/walking/wandering trip through parts of Europe with a groups of other students. The only mirror that I had regular access to was the side view mirrors of our van that we used to carried our heavy gear. I remember using mirrors less and less and thinking about how I looked less and less...and just being myself. I didn't do it intentionally, but it was an amazingly freeing experience. I don't think I realized how big it was until I came home and was surrounded by mirrors again. Your documentation of your mirror fast makes me want to give it a go, because I know it's good for me!

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    1. Greta, camping/backpacking is often a portal to recognizing the effect mirrors have on us. I had something similar (though only for a few days) and I recall feeling sort of freaked out by seeing my reflection again. I looked like hell after three days in the woods with no amenities, and my initial feeling was embarrassment at how I must have looked to my camping partner/boyfriend. But now I see the flipside: My lack of self-consciousness during the trip meant I wasn't thinking about it. Glad you recognized its import earlier than I did!

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  30. I plan to never use a mirror again, being constantly worried about the way others view us is what stops us from being ourselves, its like were trapped in a prison of paranoia, and the only way to be free is to completely get rid of the cause of the problem, for example the TV adverts and magazines etc. constantly telling us how to look! I believe we can achieve great things when we remove all causes of distraction, so why not do it!

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    1. Anonymous, that's a great point about how so many other things function as "mirrors"--the advertisements, magazines, etc. I've heard of people going on "media fasts," which isn't that far removed from a "mirror fast," actually!

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  31. I was so happy to find this blog! I took a course called Woman: Images and Realities last semester. For one of our final assignments, we had to do a liberating action. As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I randomly reflected on the fact that I looked in mirrors a lot. So I decided what better action to do than to not look in a mirror. Starting April 1st up until May 17th (the day I went home for summer), I didn't look in any sort of mirror, no handheld, no reflective surfaces, no nothing. When I went home for summer vacation I took a week break to see what it was like to look in the mirror. I found that my time not looking in a mirror made me realize that my internal self, my personality, and how I feel about myself are all that truly matters. And if you feel good and comfortable with yourself, everyone else will see that. Ultimately, looks don't matter. So when I resumed looking in a mirror, I found that I stopped caring what I looked like. Whereas before I would just stand in the bathroom and look at myself, not necessarily nit picking or admiring, just looking. And when I would be aware of how I looked, it would sometimes alter if/how I approached people and I was always aware of how I might look at any given moment. So over my initial experience, I connected with myself so much. I learned to appreciate my unique personality and learned to feel beautiful in my own skin. When I would interact with people, even though I would go every day having no clue what I looked like and even applying my makeup with no mirror, people still responded to me in a positive light. I am grateful to have experienced this and I continue to love not knowing how I look. I hope every woman tries this, even if just for a day, to learn to love yourself and all that encompasses you.

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