I’d like to congratulate myself on twenty-eight years of avoiding magnified mirrors.

Really. And it’s not because I was never tempted, either. I assure you, I’ve been in my fair share of bathrooms where one was winking malignly at me from its angle poised position in life.

I mean, have you ever EVER seen yaself in one of them things?

Sister, truly, I ask you, what were you thinking

Hello Truth Bomb

I must now confess: On a summer road trip with my husband, we crashed in at a motel which was equipped with the aforementioned torture device.

You know what’s coming.

Exhausted, stuffed with weird travel food, cramped from hours of driving, thoroughly dehydrated, and otherwise not the least bit ready for my close up, my defences were down, my resolve collapsed, and I gave into the alluring depths of the mirror mirror on the wall.

The only remaining question is Why? Why oh why oh why?

A woman seeing her magnified face and scared of magnified mirrors

I can say with unbiased clarity, I was not the fairest of them all.

Wicked witch looking in the mirror

Do Magnified Mirrors Tell the Truth?

I met parts of me that I never knew existed.

I consider my brows to be one of the small victories in my life, but mother save us, how had I missed this wilderness?

However, that wasn’t even the half of the situation: cavernous pores full of sebaceous abundance, thirty-seven raven black hairs on my chin (skyscrapers in a desert, I’m telling you – not a single inconspicuous thing about them), a constellation of blackheads and blemishes, topped off neatly with the deepening crevices of an alarmingly ageing terrain.

Man with pink eyes gazing

A Reckoning

The question is, though, does the fact that I’ve never seen myself in microscopic Technicolor before now mean that all this time, the world has been harassed by my unkempt beard and cracked veneer?

Or does it mean that this mag monster shows you what no one sees, what no one could ever really see without a medical implement, but nevertheless tricks your self-confidence into shrinking down to the hundred calorie snack pack version of its formal glory just because it can?

Somebody, please tell me it’s not just me!

Tiny cereal box on a spoon

On the one hand, it may be a thoroughly practical utensil, saving us all from certain peril.

However, very firmly on the other hand, I want to know what the almighty driving force behind the conception of this contraption was.

Friend or foe, I wonder?

And, moreover, how does anyone get out of bed ever again after adhering one of these soul suckers to the mosaic tiled wall of their powder room?

How can you (quite literally) face yourself ever again, particularly if you know that face is afflicted with a certain kind of temporary but grotesque giantism?

Genuinely. I want to know.

Here I was faced in every sense of the word with all my vainest demons.

Will my husband stay with me or run off with the pretty receptionist who doesn’t have a moustache?

My Face Is so Disgusting

Not to mention my legs.

The cellulite.

Eugh.

I wish I could tell you that I enjoyed my ghastly reflection for what it was, set the whole place on fire, and then skipped merrily along without two cares in the world.

But I didn’t.

I wallowed.

And obsessed.

And relished.

It was like when you look at the sky at night and see a million stars, then look again and see two million, then again and this time for longer, and you realize that there’s actually hardly any sky at all – just a wimpy thin blanket thrown over an immeasurable infinity of celestial light.

That was me and my upper-most appendage as projected by that amplification apparatus – layers and layers of discovery lying in wait, just significantly less awe inspiring and substantially more troubling than the heavens.

Further still, to add sufficient insult to blunt-force injury, I went directly to town on de-constructing my dermal infrastructure for a solid half an hour  (or more – I deliberately avoided looking at the clock during this inquest) while my husband waited to brush his teeth (he was totally bushed and just wanted to go to bed, but I was fiendishly selfish in this exploit).

I picked, squeezed, scratched, stretched, plucked, pulled, distorted, and otherwise assaulted myself with brutal precision. I can report with scientifically conclusive evidence, this initiative did not improve the situation. At all.

The only consolation was a long motel shower with never ending hot water (which does, in fact, heal many hurts and mend many mistakes).

When I got out, the big eye was still watching me, but since it was fogged over with the steam, I easily turned my back on it, not noticing its chromy appeal, not caring one bit.

I vowed we were through, and we were.

The Beauty Mindset Gone Astray

Except for the part where I went back and did a bit more research and deep excavation. And a bit more. Just a couple more hairs. Just that spot there and the last one on my temple. And forehead.

The next morning, I embraced the long stretches of sunny, summer roads with a smattering of half moons stamped onto my cheeks and chin, where my fingernails had ruthlessly dug into my unsuspecting flesh.

Why do we subject ourselves to these things?

What are we looking to accomplish?

What fears are we hiding from?

The History of Mirrors

Perhaps the evolution of mirrors has always been a double edged sword – the implementation of such tools has allowed for us all to say the better to see you with my dear, but also Lord have mercy is that my face? in ever increasing degrees.

Where we may have originally used a serene pool of water to catch a gently undulating glimpse of ourselves, the first highly polished metal used by Egyptians to regard one’s visage must have come as a bit of a shock.

Versions of the first glass mirrors have been dated to as early as the first century AD, and I really feel for the folks who met their own surprising features for the first time in those new-fangled gadgets – hair raising in every sense of the word, I expect.

Barbie looking at her own reflection in water

Egyptian Barbie looking into a bronze mirror

Fifties Barbie looking in a mirror

So here we are today, and the modern mirror of magnification shines upon us with self destructive enlightenment.

My experience is just one in a long line of thousands of years and millions of people.

The Final Verdict for Magnified Mirrors

What to do?

Avoid.

I’m not fully prepared to be so contemporary.

I should like the closing of motel door #160 to mark the end of my brief romance with, but life-long divorce from, magnified mirrors.

If you have fallen victim to such vicious self flagellation, please, help yourself to

some healing, hope-filled hypnosis.

For FREE

Right now.

A woman sitting in a field of daffodils on the cover of the e-book Get Better for Free by Anna Kay