Today I saw a full body mirror for the first time in over three months. Since changing apartments in February, I have been living in a place without any mirrors besides my phone and a small hand mirror.
Initially, it was really strange – not because I particularly cared how my outfits looked, but because I was used to looking at my body everyday and analyzing it. It’s easy to get out of the shower and notice how you look, then decide if it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
Without a mirror, my focus gradually shifted from how I looked to how I felt. My mental check points became different. ‘Do I look skinny?’ became ‘Does my body feel strong?’ ‘Is my outfit flattering?’ became ‘How do I feel when I wear this outfit?’ ‘What will other people think of how I look?’ became ‘Are these the kind of people who make me feel loved for who I am, or what I look like?’
It was beautiful bliss to forget about mirrors for a while. My body image started to reflect more of my values as an individual, rather than what society wanted me to look like on the outside. I had been so busy comparing myself to others that I forgot to build a relationship with myself. ‘You look great today! No, that cupcake doesn’t have the power to make you feel worthless. Yes, your legs are big but that’s because they are filled with muscle! No, a flat tummy is not going to determine whether a guy (the right one!) will like you or not!’
There are definitely days of ups and downs. Today, I am still in the middle. Looking into that full body mirror instantly brought me back to habits of self-insults and not being good enough. The judgement was right there, hovering like a shadow that had been waiting for the sun to set so it could envelope you with darkness.
Easy as it may be to regress, these past few months of building a relationship with myself and my body have given me strength, physically and mentally. That full body mirror can go back to being just that: an inanimate object that doesn’t have a say in how I feel about myself.