When I was younger, like 6 or 7, the mirror was my best friend.
I would stare into the glass for hours; I practiced to cry, studied what my face looked like when I laughed or yelled or frowned. With my mirror, I doubled my GI Joe combat forces in order to successfully capture the smurfs and destroy their village. Oh, how the mirror and I laughed and laughed as Papa smurf pleaded for mercy.
The mirror and I had serious conversations too. Spelling was hard. Ms. Bilboul was mean. Where is our right glove?
Frankly, I blame Snow White. Not the girl, the movie.
I assumed that everyone talked to mirrors.
My mother would ask who I was talking to and I would answer “the mirror,” and carry on as I were.
To her credit, my mother never said anything else.
Or…um…to her complete and utter failing as a parent. I can’t decide.
Anyway, I guess I stopped actually conversing with the mirror in my early teens (or by nine…whatever age is perfectly normal for one to stop conversing with mirrors. Cause I am normal. Nothing’s wrong with me. Get away from me with your white coats!) That is, assuming that rehearsing my monologues and speeches don’t count.
And then, one day, I was either 18 or 19, I was staring into the mirror and I saw a grey hair in my head.
What. The. Fuck?
I brushed it furiously with my hand. Clearly I had had some kind of flour mishap. This could not be real.
It was. I yanked it out of my head and washed it down the sink.
I stared accusingly into the reflexive surface.
“How DARE you? After all we’ve been through.” I turned away from that backstabbing mirror and never looked back.
I spent the rest of college in mirror less rooms, my apartment in law school only had a mirror on the medicine cabinet. I certainly didn’t carry one with me. Ever.
My former confidante was now a turncoat tattletale.
“There’s a hair sticking out of your chin!”
“Laugh line? Ha! Ten years ago maybe, ya wrinkled crone!”
“You’re so fat!”
Oh, mirror, I hate you so very much!
And then, the other day, I stumbled across this poem and I literally laughed out loud.
First, because it so exactly hits the nail on the head, but also because it’s by Sylvia Plath and I usually hate her!
So, as we speed toward the close of another year, let’s take a moment to reflect on our common enemy.
Reflect. Heh. See what I did there?
By Sylvia Plath
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the 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.