Changing Room


Hello, who are you?

Hello, who are you?

I stood in the Kohl’s changing room, trying to look at myself in the mirror without actually seeing myself. I was there to buy bras. I was hating every minute of it. I found four that were nominally in the size that I wore. I put them on and took them off as quickly as I could. They all fit differently, but they all fit Well Enough that if I bought all of them then two of them would be half off and I wouldn’t have to buy bras again until they fell to pieces, which- in my experience- takes about five years.

There’s nothing pleasant or flattering about a changing room mirror. In a normal mirror, I’m generally pretty happy with what I see. In a changing room mirror I see a ghoul. Somehow, in a changing room, I am paler of skin, flatter of foot, broader of beam, older, zitier, drier, lumpier, and generally appear less like myself than I find reflected on any other surface on earth, including the front-facing camera on a camera phone. And we all know what those are like. There’s nothing like a changing room mirror to remind you that you are out of shape. What shape did I expect to see exactly? Perhaps I don’t even know. Although I’m certain that there are cultural standards of beauty that affect my self-image, the biggest problem that I have with the changing room mirror is that the image that I have of myself in my head doesn’t match the image that I see reflected back to me. But who am I, then, if not the person that I believe myself to be? Am I the image in my head or am I the image in the mirror? Which reflects the truth? Does either?

This question has been on my mind for the rest of the day. Is this state of being out-of-shape temporary? Or is this just how things are going to be from now on? How much more work is it going to be for me to stay the same as I was? Is it more work or less work than just working to accept the stranger that I see? Is this someone that I can accept? Do I have any choice? I’m not really sure where all this is coming from, but I sure hope that buying the bras was worth it.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on October 22, 2016.

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