By Jeany Miller
From the Diary of a Fat Woman Blog Series
As an overweight woman, I have come to accept that mirrors are not my friends. In fact, I hate them. Each time I step out of the shower, I am careful to avoid the image reflected before my eyes. The truth is, I just don’t want to see what my body has become. It’s so much simpler to avoid this image and pretend I’m still the slim, trim teenager of 15 years ago.
But avoiding your own reflection takes its toll after time. For starters, when I have to use a public restroom and feel compelled to check my appearance, I grow uncomfortable when other women see me checking myself out. I wonder if they’re asking themselves, “What does she see when she looks in the mirror, and why would she let herself go like that?”
It’s unlikely that anyone pays me enough attention to genuinely ask themselves this question, but it’s still a fear of mine. So I prefer when I do have to look in the mirror to do it when nobody else is around. This is in stark contrast to other people, who unabashedly check their reflections at every given chance. I have one male friend who constantly considers his appearance, whether it’s reflected in a mirror or window pane. He’ll watch himself in the car, his apartment, and department stores, and he doesn’t care who sees him do it. I often laugh aloud at his vanity, but deep down I wish I could be that comfortable with myself.
Another problem with avoiding your own reflection is that you truly don’t know what you look like to others who see you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve glimpsed at myself only to discover I had a chunk of hair standing up straight, a piece of dry skin on my cheek or speckle of mascara beneath my eyes. All of this could be corrected at any time if I just caught my reflection more often, but sometimes I simply don’t want to know how I look to the rest of the world.
Having said that, I’m forced to address another point. When you’re not entirely comfortable with yourself, you constantly seek validation from others around you, and this can be draining after time. For instance, when I dress to attend a business meeting, I always do so in the hopes that someone will compliment my clothes or hair just so I feel a little better about myself. I'm seeking confirmation that I’m not such a disastrous person after all. But continually waiting for these compliments, which, I might add, don’t always come, is exhausting.
And trying to see yourself through the eyes of others is simply ridiculous. I have no way of knowing what others think of me, and the truth is, I shouldn’t worry about it. What difference does it really make to my life if one person out there thinks I’m fat? Regardless of public opinion, I’m still me, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
My preoccupation with mirrors clearly needs to stop. Perhaps if I saw my own image more often, I wouldn’t wonder so much what I look like to the world at large. I would know what I look like, at least to my own eyes, and maybe those are the only ones that count.