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.
The cold turkey approach shocked my system. Like so much we experience in life, moderation is the key to balance.
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…
I’ve been looking for a 5X mirror – don’t know if I could handle a 20X!! I remember when I was much younger and had a 3X mirror and good eyesight, getting addicted to plucking my eyebrows. When your HUSBAND even mentions that maybe you should lay off the tweezers, it’s time.
Now, having to wear reading glasses to pluck ANYTHING, I feel your pain – but I do run away quickly when I pass a collection of 10X-plus mirrors!
Thanks for the post! I’m really enjoying this blogfest!
Thanks Regina for stopping by to read!
I have a friend who need her glasses AND her magnifying mirror….horrors….I hope that day never comes!
Loved this Susie. My addiction was to the scales. I remember the day I took it outside and used the sledge hammer on the offender. (When I quit something I do it with style. There’s no going back.) It was tough to give up my five weigh-ins per day, but I did it. Three years later I checked again at the doctor’s office. I was down about four pounds. That was about ten years ago. I’ve since lost another pound.
I love this, Pru!!
You Rock Girl!!
I was considering that very same fate for my magnifying mirror. We’ll see.
I rarely weigh myself. As long as my clothes fit, I’m good!
Loved this post! I think it’s one of my favorites from this blogfest. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Thanks for the kind words and for subscribing Stephanie!
Oh my goodness, what a hoot! Ok, Susie, you must back away for anything that magnifies 20x unless it’s a glass of wine or gourmet chocolate!!
I am glad you could laugh with me Ginger! That’s kind of how I roll through life. One way or another, that mirror has got to GO!
“Put the mirror down! Step away from the mirror!”
Good for you Susie, you overcame your fear and look how beautifl you are now! You couldn’t see the beauty inside because you were too close to the mirror. You have to stand back a little ways to let the light really shine!
Thanks for being part of this honoring women’s beauty day and sharing your story!
w/a Jansen Schmidt
There was nothing so ego deflating as looking in that horrendous tool of terror! Every time, I would find some new line or spot.
I think as women get older they should buy mirrors with lower magnifications, not higher! Once a woman hits 50, we should accept ourselves wrinkles, lines, spots and all!
Maybe it’s because I’m a style blogger who is frequently in front of the camera – I post outfit pictures several times a month – but I really don’t understand the whole anti-mirror thing. To me, they’re really important, just as looking presentable is very important. You just have to learn to like what the mirror or camera reflects – even if it takes time (unlike the more well-known style bloggers, I don’t have a photographer. I rely on my camera’s 10 second timer to get my shots, so often, one look requires 5 or 6+ takes (either it turns out blurry or something’s just not quite right…)
I bet you are under 40! I loved mirrors too before I got older…..
Thanks for reading and commenting!
I now rely on reading glasses to do close-up work and take them off before I look in the mirror. Every imperfection blurs. It’s heavenly.
Thanks for the laugh, Susie. I’m glad you quit that 20x mirror.
Hahaha! Great idea Pat! I am going to do that too!
I’m so glad you reposted this. I can sure relate and I only have a 5X mirror, but how depressing to look into it. I can’t imagine looking into a 20X. Yikers! I think our eyesight starts to fail over age 40 so we can grow old gracefully. That self-portrait is very cool.
Thank you Lynn. I think you were the only one to notice my illustration.
I agree about the eyesight. My mother has never owned a magnifying mirror!
I hate those magnifying mirrors! LOL My dream home would have that lighting that makes everyone look as stunning as possible, purely on the sake of how it makes us feel… What a fabulous story, Susie!
I agree. I have been to parties where they have the lights turned all the way up and the room is only down-lit. Talk about frightening!
Thanks August for hosting the blogfest party!
Oh my gosh, I looked into one of those magnifying mirrors once at a hotel and was scared at what I saw, so I decided to never look at one again if I can help it:) I love your story and you are right no one looks at us that closely so why should we?
Exactly! Why should we is right! Thanks for stopping by to read Kara.
a 20x mirror should have never been created. sometimes my bathroom mirror is more than I want to peer into.
Thanks for the chuckles and the insight.
I can relate to that! I have been known to gasp…..
Thanks for stopping by Sharon.
You are an amazing writer! I competed in swimming for several years, and you tricked me. Keep writing.
I have been given the Sunshine Award for my blog. I now want to pass this award onto you. Your blog does bring sunshine into my day, and I feel it fitting that you should be given this award. Congratulations!
I have a magnifying hand mirror…buried somewhere among my belongings. It was just the flipside of the regular mirror. So I didn’t buy it for that purpose.
Honest, in the past decade, I look at myself less and less in the mirror. I’m not kidding. Partially because I bike and that means twice a day I’m in a hurry to change into clothing for cycling, so I can’t be bothered.
But don’t get me on about full length mirrors. I’m more interested in them. I’ve been thinking of installing one at home since I’ve moved.
Thanks for stopping by Jean!
My husband did a funny video tape of me last night and when I watched it, I noticed the cowlick at the top of my head was really nasty from wearing a helmet skiing yesterday. I thought, “Geez! I really need to check the back of my head once in a while!”
It is always something!
I hope you’ll stop by again soon…
BTW- Cant’t wait to get back out on my bike. Good for you that you are training like that!
Excellent expression and detail with minimal lines. Great job. 🙂
Thanks Trick for taking the time to take a look at me taking a look! 🙂