Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why You Such A Liar? by Melissa Swedoski
Have you ever had the distinct impression that your mirror is lying to you? Sometimes in a kind, “You are skinnier than you realize” kind of way, and sometimes in a, “No, yellow is totally okay for your olive skin tone” kind of way.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not obsessing. For real. I check my look in the mirror when I go to the bathroom, but beyond that, I try to just walk through life with a self-confidence that I look okay today. Not supermodel great, but than again, no one’s offering me millions of dollars to stay a size zero, and I’m good with that.
Unfortunately, the trick of time and sun and bad habits and lack of sleep will catch up with you eventually. It’s not so much the wrinkles that are getting to me these days, because I do have some good genes from my folks that are helping me stay somewhat line free. Nope, it’s those ugly dark spots. Brown spots. Age spots. Whatever you want to call them, just not the color of your skin spots. Turns out, my mom was right. Wear sunscreen.
It doesn’t do well to dwell on things you can’t change. But by golly, I’m going to start trying to change it. Although it’s wondrous and amazing to have children at my age, I hear that voice in my head saying, “You are older than most of your kids’ friends’ moms. Whatcha gonna do about it?” Besides cry on occasion, of course.
I’ve tried the over-the-counter route, but they seem to irritate my skin to the point of looking worse. Red, splotchy patches? Gotcha covered. Dry spots from the cream? Yep, got those, too. Not sure that was the smartest $20 that I ever spent.
Then I see some very clever people have natural remedies. Yes, I am ready to make a paste of baking soda, lemon and unicorn dust to try and get rid of these, or at the very least reduce them. I’m a pale gal, I admit, but some lightening couldn’t hurt. Right?
And then I find myself asking, when is it enough? My husband thinks I look just fine. My kids can’t yet tell that I’m any older than anyone else in the room. My family and friends would never dare say anything, and it’s not like me to worry what other people think. So what’s my problem?
It’s the mirror. She doesn’t lie. She occasionally cuts me some slack and allows me to see what I want to see, but in the end, she brings me back to reality with a thud. She likes to remind me that I’m not a size 6, that I’m not still 30 years old, and that yes, the grays come back faster than I can afford to get my hair colored. With her glinting smile, she causes me to see the 43 years I’ve spent doing some foolish things and not drinking nearly enough water.
She whispers to me, “Maybe a little plastic surgery wouldn’t hurt,” and likes to nudge me with, “There’s a perfectly good salon in town that does chemical peels. Cheap.” She reminds me that every time I skip a few hours of sleep to watch late night TV, I add a small line. Or every time I have a midnight snack (usually because I’m skipping that sleep), she pokes me in the belly, giggles slightly and says, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”
What a cold, calculating fiend she is. She pretended to be my friend for so long, applauding me on my short skirts and high heels, oohing and ahhing over my new hairdo and fantastic makeup. But she’s turned on me, I fear. She’s decided that she’s ready to trade me in for a newer model.
Well, two can play at that game. From here on out, I’ll keep my eyes closed around her and turn my back as soon as I can. That should teach her to keep her snarky lips shut. For now.