In a moment, the machinery of my vanity ground to a stop. And in the stillness, less concerned about my physical presentation—or maybe, relying less on what I'd hoped was the pleasant distraction others might find in my appearance—I felt a raw, unadorned freedom.
For all of my adult life, looking in the mirror, I have objectified myself, wanting to recognize myself as the person I—somewhat literally—make myself up to be. I've then toted this image, heavy with expectation, around in my head. But I don't have similar expectations of the people I love—my friends, my husband. Some days he looks good. Some days he looks really good. But during those times when he hasn't appeared princely to me, has it made me depressed? Have I run out to buy him hair dye? Scheduled urgent appointments for eyebrow grooming or teeth whitening? I haven't. I love his face simply because it's my most vivid reminder of who he is. What if I chose to regard myself in the same way, without the burden of expectation?
By the time I'm ready to look into the glass again, I feel sanguine. After all, for the past several days I've either thought I looked a lot worse than I did or I've looked a lot worse than I thought I did. Both perspectives have their advantages.
I stand at the bathroom sink. I'm not wearing makeup. The light's kind of harsh. Here's what I see: a woman friendly and forgiving. And I'm plainly glad it's me.
Change Your Self-Image—For the Better