Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
Snow White. Damn not her again? Basically, not me—according to the mirror I am a mere dwarf à la Dopey, because of my klutziness—purple hat, green baggy clothes, to complete my Dope look (see what I did there…)
How many of you have looked in the mirror and thought, “Shit, my thighs are like two gigantic tree trunks?” Then anorexia chimes in, “tree trunks? Those look like General Sherman the biggest giant sequoia in the world.” To that I’d conclude, General Sherman? How Ironic, we even share a maiden name. Or to be blunt, Shit, I’m fat.
How many of you have cinched your stomach and spent an elongated time just staring, examining yourself, head to toe, making a list in your head of things you can improve upon?
Well, Once upon a time in a land far far away, I did too.
I stared at my fifteen-week baby bump in the mirror. It didn’t look much different yet, just like I had eaten a big meal—a burger or something bloating. I stuck it out a little to simulate what it would soon be. I quickly sucked it back in. I see all these pregnant women on the streets sticking their small to big bellies out with pride. And really, why shouldn’t they? They look beautiful, and it’s an amazing time—a time I thought for a while wouldn’t happen to me. But how come I was still so shy about my growing tummy? Is it the same reason I am still in denial that something wonderful could be happening to me? Were these thoughts and feelings only because I have only been in recovery from anorexia for almost three years? Maybe.
“Get out of the mirror, Dan!” My husband screamed when he spotted me standing in front of the mirror for a prolonged period of time deep in thought. He had nothing but a towel on and smelled fresh of soap and body lotion. I was in such a trance I didn’t realize he was already out of the shower.
“I am just not sure if I like how this dress looks on me,” I said as I stared at my reflection and saw this person looking back at me. She was unrecognizable. I analyzed her hard. My husband’s cell phone rang and he walked into the other room before he could answer. I watched him leave, and then I turned my head back to this person in the mirror.
She had pale skin and huge breasts. Her hair was thick, wild, and long. She was all dressed up and looked professional, maybe even important. But some things were the same: she had a slight bulge in her mid-section and she just wasn’t sure if it was going to work. She felt a little insecure, and maybe even, I hate to admit this, fat.
You’re probably thinking, Boohoo, you are pregnant, idiot, duh—that’s why you have a bump. Cry me a river like Justin Timberlake sang to Britney Spears in his infamous song after she cheated on him. Yes, and I get those sentiments as well because I was thinking them too as they came into my mind. But, I was able to quickly tuck them away. Fuck you, anorexia. I actually like this new person staring back at me too much to even care what you think.
You see, even pregnant I had doubts about myself in the mirror.
It’s funny because I look at my eight-month-old daughter gaze into the mirror, unaffected by society’s bullshit expectations, brown eyes sparkling, her cherub cheeks forming a wide ear-to-ear grin. It is like she sees the best thing in the world staring back at her—an amazing confidence. She giggles and turns shyly away. She thinks the baby in the mirror is awesome and she is. She has a sweet smile and the cutest rolls you have ever laid your eyes upon.
If only we could keep that innocence. If only we could see ourselves as a baby sees their reflection.
This begs the question, what would a world without mirrors or expectations be like? Would it be like Fiji before American television was introduced with no cases of eating disorders? Probably. But what can we do today?
Eating disorders are like a gun that’s formed by genetics, loaded by a culture and family ideals, and triggered by unbearable distress. Aimee Liu
We have to keep the trend of love who you are going and really mean it. We have to promote being FULL, physically and mentally (intellectually and emotionally)–and unique as what is really beautiful. All I know is that I want my daughter to always look in the mirror the way she does now. I want her to be completely FULL. I want all of the future children to know:
They are the fairest of them all and it’s not what is looking back at them in the mirror that makes them that.