When I read that August McLaughlin would be hosting Beauty of a Woman Blogfest on Friday, I just knew I had to join the party. Last September, I wrote a very personal account about my sick relationship with a magnifying mirror. Now this was no ordinary mirror, but one that I picked up at a garage sale because someone else was most likely trying to break their addiction. This evil 20x magnification mirror should have been destroyed, but instead I bought it for $2.00…. Since my only commenter was the GoodGreatsby, I knew he would be a sport and wouldn’t mind if I posted it again.
Last fall, when my 19-year-old daughter informed me she didn’t want to take her magnifying mirror back to college since she would stare at almost non-existent blocked pores and proceed to unblock them, it made me think. “Whoa! I don’t know if I could give up mine.” Then it hit me. “Am I addicted to the magnification like a junkie in a back ally? Would I be crying out for a fix at the end of the day?”
That horrid instrument of ego destruction has bound me to my cast reflection more times than I care to admit. Blocked pores have been the least of my concern since gazing for the first time into a high-powered tool mounted on a wall of a hotel. It nearly ruined my vacation! My epidermis seemed like an alien landscape complete with pot holes, peaks, and valleys. “How could this be my skin?” I thought in horror.
Years have gone by and the slow deterioration of my close-up vision has hastened my growing addiction to my own magnifying mirror. The fear of errant nose and eyebrow hairs, as well as failed attempts at applying eyeliner has kept me glued to this specialized looking-glass.
“Come on! For God’s sake you don’t need it.” With that thought, the intervention began. I took one last look, careful to tweeze any unwanted hairs for I did not know what fate awaited me in a brave new world that didn’t include enormous image inspections. Sobered by my decision, my heart began to race as I anticipated life without it. Gazing at my enlarged reflection had been like having my nose pressed up to my own image on an IMAX movie screen. I had become numbed to scrutinizing my moon-like surface with small wrinkles that appeared like huge crevices among my crater-esque pores. My self-image had been bruised and battered over the years of self-examination.
At that moment I split in two. The strong-willed tough Susie said, “It’s time,” to the pitiful wimp inside of me which sighed while taking one last look. Then I picked up the offending tool of terror and placed it on a high shelf where it could be forgotten.
The next morning I peeked into my old free-standing mirror. “Geez! My head is really tiny!” I thought. My entire body part fit inside the small mirror! I applied my make-up somehow without looking like a cast member of A Rocky Horror Picture Show. I stood back, smiled at my reflection and said, “I can do this!” (Of course I may have looked like Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and didn’t know it.)
That evening went well too, but I tried a new gizmo that started my demise. I had purchased a battery-operated skin buffer at the grocery store. “What a deal!” I thought, “A good sanding is what my skin needs.” My fatal mistake was made when I used the granulated cream that came with it. I always have an allergic reaction to anti-age creams, but for some ridiculous reason I get it in my head that this new miracle cream will be, “The One!” – Angels sing in background –
The next morning I looked in the mirror and even though a pinhead-sized reflection stared back, I could see that my skin had begun to react. A rash had formed, only now I could not execute the usual recon. It just about killed me to ignore the magnifier to see what devastation had arrived in the wake of the newest anti-age treatment, but I was strong.
I strode by that high shelf and did not glance over at the mirror once that day! I treated my ravaged skin the best I could; in braille.
I had to go to a party the next night. By then the redness and peeling had taken over my entire cheek. What would I do? I tried to cover it up, but could not see what I was doing. I was weak. Weak I say! My 20x magnifying mirror barely had any time to collect dust on that high shelf before I grabbed it and plunked it down on my counter with a resounding, “Bang!” Armed with caulk, filler, and paint I began to reconstruct a somewhat presentable version of myself before going out although I hung my head in shame for the addiction had raised its ugly head and I had fallen off the wagon.
I am happy to report that I have left that nasty mirror alone on the shelf for months now. Seeing my shrunken pea-sized head staring back at me is no longer a surprise. I have a better self-image knowing this is how everyone sees me anyway! If I need a closer look, I am satisfied with a 3X magnifier. It’s good enough.
After all, beauty is only skin deep…