A Year Without Mirrors
Imagine living a year without seeing your reflection in a mirror.
That’s what Kjerstin Gruys did when her engagement transformed her from intelligent grad student to “bridezilla.”
You’ve heard of the “bikini body.” Well, Kjerstin fretted over not having an adequate “bride body” in time for her wedding — if ever.
As she viewed dress after dress in the scrutiny of dressing room mirrors, and through the mind’s eye of her imagined wedding day — and after purchasing three different dresses — she knew she had a problem. One which echoed an earlier eating disorder.
So she pledged to give up mirrors for a year, in hopes of regaining her real values.
She wrote about the experience on her blog and in a memoir called, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year.
It wasn’t easy since mirrors are everywhere: bathrooms, stores and businesses, rearview mirrors… She even hung a curtain over the looking glass in her bathroom. Her friends and fiancé helped her to look presentable in society.
But the endeavor provoked an existential crisis:
Without my reflection around to wave hello to me during my work-from-home days, I began experiencing strange moments when I questioned my very existence. If I couldn’t see myself, did I exist? But how did I know?
Makes you wonder what people did before the looking glass was invented. When you aren’t used to seeing yourself, maybe you have a different self-concept?
Kjerstin didn’t even see herself on her wedding day. But, less distracted with how she looked, she was more engaged in her wedding. And she felt beautiful — with nothing to tell her otherwise:
As I stood among my closest friends, I felt exactly how I’d always hoped I would on my wedding day: confident, feminine, glamorous, and — most important — loved. Did I believe — or want to believe — that I looked perfect? No. I wasn’t delusional, just practical. I believed in all of my heart that I looked good enough, and good enough was exactly how I wanted to feel.
Yet even after the wedding Kjerstin struggled with insecurities. But she gradually accepted herself and appreciated what was really important: her family and friends, her goals, and knowing that she is beautiful regardless of society’s crazy ideals:
You don’t have to have the best lips in the planet. Remind yourselves about all the other things you have going on… (now) I see a happy, energetic and passionate woman.
Kjerstin lost her reflection. But she found herself.
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Posted on August 20, 2014, in body image, feminism, objectification, psychology, women and tagged body image, feminism, Kjerstin Gruys, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall, objectification, psychology, women. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.