Friday, January 24, 2020

Self: Plunging into the Other Side of the Mirror Essay -- Self Conscio

Self: Plunging into the Other Side of the Mirror Only in a mirror do we find ourselves. We cannot do it when we are apart, distanced, from who and what we are: we need to see our shapes, our selves, in the way we cannot see ourselves subjectively. But still, the glass plays with us, contorting and distorting, even if it is nothing more than a straightforward, honest reflection. It is our minds which are the true lenses. Why do we feel this compunction throughout the ages to look at our own reflections? It is inbred into us; it begins at such a tender age, this obsession with oneself. I never really took much notice of it while I was young, partly because I myself was never overly concerned with my appearance, and partly because my generation was not so image-conscious. However, as the years have passed, I have grown into an awareness of this larger societal issue, watching as more and more pre-teen girls doll themselves up in tight jeans, baby T-shirts and glitzy make-up. Like observing the gorillas in the mist, I watch as these girls preen and pluck, check themselves over and over in their compacts and handheld mirrors, readjust their clothes and redo their hair. It is, from a clinical viewpoint, disturbing. I doubt any of those girls remember the first time they ever saw their reflections in mirrors. If they even did, I further doubt that they would make anything of it, ponder its repercussions, question the greater impact of this first awakening. It is not an emotional, sexual, or intellectual awakening, no: it is a subtle and important transition from the world of the oblivious to the waking world of self-consciousness. As a very young child, I looked for myself in any reflective surface I could find. I would cra... ...ingle noticeable change. My roommates constantly voice their bewilderment at these frequent self-deprecations of mine. It is probably tiring for them to have to reassure me, time and again, but I have fed for too long on my own seeds of hatred and regret; now, like Persephone, I am drawn into that underworld, lost within its dark corners. I am me, I do realize that. But when I look at my other self, that frowning, miserable girl in the mirror, I cannot yet see what Walker saw in herself. However, I no longer look for myself in the mirror, not truly. Yes, it is a starting place, like the very last step to the top of the high dive. But I still have those five very long feet to walk before I can dive off into that most vast of mirrors, and I want to be able to enjoy that shimmering and sparkling last look at myself before I plunge, deeply and honestly, into my self.

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