Tuesday, December 11, 2007


When was the last time you really looked at yourself? I mean really stopped! Held still, and peered at your own reflection? Not just for the seconds it takes to poof a flat part of your hair, or refresh your lipstick. But to actually and honestly SEE -- and see YOU? I haven't done that in so long that I don't recall when it last happened. Maybe that's why photos of myself always shock me. Do I look like that? Do I really look like that? We have no official 'dresser' in our bedroom, which is barely large enough for our bed and a makeshift night table on either side of it. The master bathroom, gorgeously redecorated by Double BB, has a mirror about 12" by 30", mounted so high that I have to stand on my tiptoes to see my eyeballs, and I'm a 5'-10" woman. [It's the perfect height, of course, for Double BB to peer at his loveliness without stooping OR stretching.] Because the decor in the bathroom is the most soothing (not to mentioned FINISHED) in the entire house, I will never complain about mirror heights. But that means I end up sitting on the toilet, lid down, to put on my makeup in the mornings, and I use a little compact mirror for that process. But what can I see of myself, in a compact mirror? Just parts, like small portions of a puzzle tended to one-by-one. An eye, the other eye, an eyebrow, lips, cheekbones. Not a cohesive FACE. Not 'moi', in all my glory. Of course, given that I'm not a Tiffany or Jimmy Choo fashionista kinda girl, you probably already guessed that I don't carry makeup in my big ass purse, either. Priorities, dontcha know: makeup? or journal? For me, it's a no-brainer. But that also means I'm never searching out the mirrors at the office or in fast food restaurants to freshen my face, or even check it. Mostly I pee, wash my hands and vamoose without ever even thinking about the proximity of a mirror. And since my hair is so short, I don't have to fuss with that either, although doubtless sometimes I probably should. Once upon a time, we had a $10 Wal-Mart version of a full length mirror nailed to the back of David's bedroom door. It might still be there, actually ... yes, it is, I checked: he's got family photos tucked around the sides of it. But I get ready for work at 5:00 a.m., just about the time he seems to be coming into the house... naw, I'm kidding, but most definitely my GQ-Must-Have-A-Mirror oldest male child is burrowed deep into his blankies at 5 a.m. -- and I'm just not interested enough in that image of myself to disturb him in order to get a gander at it. I'm suspicious of full length mirrors, actually. I've been to enough circuses, carnivals and fun fairs to be fully familiar with the distorted version of mirrors to be found in those places. Those are rather terrifying self-images to see, although once it was cool because I got to see myself actually SHORT. --- Still, it occurred to me that to SEE myself would be a useful exercise. And this occurred to me tonight because I sat down at my studio desk to do a self-portrait, how I feel about this lovely continuing rain we're enjoying here in the desert. But when I got to my face, I froze. I wear glasses, have worn the same frames for almost 3 years, but do you think I had even the slightest notion what shape or color they are? [kind of elongated rectangular, a beautiful bronzey-copper metal color] That boggled the blond side of my brain, it did!! And I only know the color of my eyes by rote, from years of telling everyone 'blue' or writing 'BL' on my driver's license or health insurance applications and such. What shade of blue? Any other colors in there? Almond shaped? Round? See what I mean? Astonishing, to be invisible to myself in such a completely thorough way. So tonight when I go into the bathroom to perform my secret feminine beauty regime, I'm taking 5 and gazing upon myself, to see what I can see, and to swap howdy's cuz obviously it's been way too long.


Veronica Rosenshein said...

Wow, your writing is so amazing. I have a huge mirror in the bedroom as well as in the bathroom but never look at myself. I just fluff and go ....lol

twinsand2boys said...

I dont spend much time looking at myself either. I do check a full length mirror as Im ready to leave, and only if I have time...but I have never studied myself. Your writing is fun to read.