Tricky Mirrors

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it before. Maybe it was more apparent today because I was one of only two silver sneaker members to show up today for chair yoga. It snowed yesterday afternoon and evening, you see, and many members of the silver sneakers sect are reluctant to get out in adverse weather. But strong-hearted Dottie and I were there. Neither Dottie nor I were particularly perturbed at being the only shows. I did wonder if the yoga instructor, with only two people to watch and focus on, would be more apt to notice that sometimes I don’t get the posture right, or that sometimes I still forget to breathe.

We weren’t far along in our warm-up routine when I noticed the two old ladies in the mirrored wall facing us. The one on my right looked all right, good posture for one with osteoporosis, a little thicker at the middle than she was as a teenager I’m sure, but bright eyed and, as always, totally “into” what she was doing. One thing about yoga is that you have to be so focused it’s hard to remember to keep the gut sucked in, the waist contracted as much as possible . . . and that’s when I saw . . . HER!

The old crone staring back at me was quite startling! And then I realised . . . that was me! Oh my God almighty! When did my waistline get wider than my chest? When did my face start to sag so much? My eyes look so old? And there was absolutely no denying that pear shaped blog trying to bend forward – to stare at its navel – was me.

It was almost impossible to believe it, but by this time I was beginning to hypothesize that those old trick mirrors from my childhood were back to haunt me. Hadn’t my own mirror told me just this morning as I was pulling the drawstring to my exercise pants tighter and tighter around my waist that I was looking quite slim these days for a woman of my age who refused to deny herself those m&ms and almond joys and pecan pies?

The mirrors in the old house I grew up in were distorted as well. I remember concocting a whole fantasy around them as a child. You see, I knew that I was so beautiful that, seeing myself as beautiful as I really was, could possibly have made me  a conceited but beautiful snob. Nobody likes a Ms. Perfect. So my parents, I supposed–as I couldn’t think of any reason anyone else would–had realized that, and installed special mirrors that made me look, if not exactly ugly, then let us say “not quite as attractive.” So I wouldn’t get a big head about my natural beauty you see! You do understand the logic?

Well, that’s how I grew up. Without the right haircut and style, the right clothes that matched or shoes to go with each outfit, when I wore shoes at all, I could not go out the door to meet life head on unless I believed that I was really far prettier than what those distorted old mirrors reflected. Eventually it worked I guess. I hadn’t thought of those mirrors for many long years.

So what happened? The only thing I can figure is that my legacy followed me here, and haunts me still. Hence the need for more distorted mirrors everywere I look. Maybe they were all installed over the Thanksgiving break. Could they have been there all along?

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