The other side of the mirror

On the Daily Post/Weekly Photo prompt last week on reflections, I mentioned  I’ve been studying reflections, my own and those of others. These are literal reflections, the way our physical form appears in mirrors or on glass as we pass by a building.

The thing that led me to this is I realized many of us don’t see ourselves as we really are, and that can be one extreme or the other. We either think we’re better than we are or we think we’re worse. Whatever attitude is strongest inside, positive or negative, reflects how we see ourselves and how we see the world.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about the many “I” identities we have and how the I that is present at the moment might not even have the same memories as the I who is driving down the highway. It explains why we lose things. One I might drop the car keys in their usual place when walking in the door, but the other I might leave them on the desk so I can’t find them when I’m ready to leave.

Does one I look different from another I?

People say as women age, we become more and more invisible. I haven’t experienced this too strongly, but I have noticed I’m not aware of my own aging until I see a photograph. In the mirror, I haven’t changed that much.

So I’ve tried to avoid my own reflection except for necessary things like checking to see if a piece of broccoli is stuck in my teeth. And I’ve watched and listened to others.

It’s amazing how little of that outer self really has anything to do with who we are.

Can I say we’re obsessed with beauty? Hasn’t beauty always had a place in the world? Sight is a powerful gift, and sometimes I’m overcome with the sheer beauty of everything around me, but I do look at people and nature as different entities, when, in fact, we’re all made of the same stuff.

Or is it youth we’re obsessed with? That quest for the fountain of youth, which today includes surgeons and stitches, promising more beauty will bring us more happiness.

Whatever it is, when we remove that obscurity from in front of our eyes the world becomes stiller and it’s one more layer that’s been taken away from a more complete experience of life.

What this all funnels down to, is the same gifts I receive from meditation. Over time, layers of bullshit are stripped away, until there is less between me and others, the world.



12 thoughts on “The other side of the mirror

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I think you’re right, we don’t see ourselves as we really are. That is a very thought-provoking statement.

  2. It seems to me, that very often we look for something… when we look at people or into the street… or at the mirror. The question is what are we looking for. When I’m looking at people, I’m not usually looking for beauty. Sometimes, it takes me by surprise. But usually, it’s the personality, the mood, the level of communication… and other attributes that are not of an aesthetic nature. For me, women do not become invisible with age. Not at all.

    • A friend of mine recently passed away. Physically, he was, quite frankly, rather odd looking, some might call him ugly. He did have rather a goblin-like demeanor. But he had an amazing intellect and a delightfully wicked sense of humor. I didn’t know him well, but at his memorial service I was surprised to see how many people considered him a friend, and from all walks of life–from very conservative police officials to aging hippies who knew him from Burning Man. There was more laughter than tears as people remembered him and talked about him. Anyway, where this is going, is I think this is the true meaning of beauty-to be able to make someone’s world a little lighter, bring in a little more laughter and be able to touch people. That’s what my friend, Tom, was like. Thank you for your comment, Shimon!

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