Vanity, Thy Name is Katy

On average, I look in the mirror 18 times a day.

That’s not even counting the number of occasions when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in some shiny surface. Yeah, that’s not me puzzling over that artistic portrait as to fathom the creator’s intent, that’s me trying to get a glimpse of how my hair looks in a ponytail.

It’s puzzling as to why we as humans aren’t content until we’ve looked at ourselves up and down, in a full length mirror, from a side angle, with duck lips, and with a hat tipped jauntily on our heads until we realize that such a hat is too bold for our certain hair style. Do any other animals perform this ritual of self-interest? Do ducks float around on lakes so as to constantly view their watery profile? Has anyone really considered why it is birds fly into windows? Perhaps they’re simply overly anxious to confirm that their feathers are as preened as they should be. I’m also fairly certain that if you gave a monkey a camera the first thing they would do is take a selfie while hanging out in their tree house.

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat...whoopee!

I opted for the scarf instead of the hat…whoop de doo!

And then once we do give into temptation and look to our beautiful image, what do we see? Ourselves. Almost exactly as we were the last time we checked. What’s the point? What does it matter if I have a small bump in my hair? If my lips need more glossing will the world stop spinning? If I end up wearing that jauntily tipped hat would it really matter in the long run? Who cares what we look like?!

Well, apparently I care; based on the fact that I look at myself in the mirror around 18 times a day.

Maybe if I were prettier looking I’d understand. But seeing as I’m just regular old plain average normal Katy, what the heck is with my obsession with myself? For me to have two mirrors in my room is extravagant. To look at myself in the full length mirror in the hallway while leaving the dorm is outrageous. To go to the bathroom for any other reason than relieving oneself is simply silly; who wants to spend time in a restroom simply to enjoy the mirror? Even my phone cover can serve as a mirror. Just in case I’d like to ensure that I look my best while sending a text message (because the recipient of my message can just tell if my necklace is hanging crookedly around my neck).

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Why must I look so good in scarves?!

But to be fair to myself, I don’t always set out in search of a mirror. I don’t memorize the location of reflective objects around campus and take longer routes just to get a glimpse of myself. But the fact that my building has a full length mirror in the hallway should tell you something about the world. The fact that there are mirrors above almost every sink, that people carry around compacts just in case, that ever in our cars you can find mirrors above the front two seats, shows what an egoistical and vain society we really live in. I don’t necessarily want to look at my reflection so often, but the world is telling me that I must. They want me to be vain, and I’ve been all too happy to oblige.

Yet, when looking beyond my mundane exterior, you’ll find a rebel with a passion for stirring up adventure and intrigue (in addition to finding a fanatical cat lady). It is this nature that makes me not just question the role of mirrors in my life, but that also makes me desire to denounce them.

There have been many documented challenges of people swearing off the mirror for a month or two or twelve, but seeing as I’m too cheap to buy their books, I’ve decided to create a mirrorless lifestyle challenge of my own. I’ll take a guess that they’ve leaned the meaning of true beauty, internal happiness, styling hairdos without visual assistance, and societal influences on commonly accepted standards, but I’m just hoping to get a grip on reality and learn that survival is possible without knowing if I’m having a good hair day or not.

Starting today, I’m going to cover up the mirrors in my room, avoid my image while using the sink, stealthily avoid looking too closely at my phone cover, and give up admiring/critiquing my reflection altogether. I will do all of this for one week (because I’m weak). At the end of this experiment, I hope to appreciate myself and my body a little bit more and gain some real understanding as to why I can’t help but looking at myself in that glass door window at the gym.

Also, I must have looked at myself nearly 50 times today in anticipation of my mirror cleanse. Wow I’ve got some work to do.

Also also, let’s hope I last the week because I’ve just remembered the wall length mirrors in the gym’s aerobics studio…

Also also also, I’ve just put up construction paper to cover the mirrors in my room. It makes me nervous.

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12 thoughts on “Vanity, Thy Name is Katy

  1. I think we look in the mirror so often because we are attracted to beautiful things and we want to look our best. Probably what you’ll discover in your week long venture is that you don’t really think of your appearance at all after awhile. 🙂 I couldn’t fit my full length mirror in the car when we moved, and now I don’t have a mirror in my room at all. I find I don’t really miss it. 🙂 Good luck!

    • That’s a great thought and I’m glad that you don’t really miss your mirror. It’s really quite difficult to not look at yourself at all though and it’s giving me quite a bit of anxiety to suddenly see myself but not allowing myself to really look haha

  2. I love that you wrote yourself a little message to cover up the mirror with! I don’t think I could go mirrorless, but this is a really interesting topic – you’ve given me something to ponder today!

  3. Pingback: Vanity, Thy Name is Katy (Pt. 2) | Living the Life

  4. I went for ages without looking in the mirror except when grooming because I didn’t want to see myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. I avoided my reflection completely. It took a long time to get over that poor self image. Congratulations to you for caring how you look and even liking your appearance! Proud of you for the experiment and proud of you for self-esteem!
    Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    • Oh my goodness I can’t believe you could have avoided the mirror on purpose! I don’t particularly like the way I look either (something that everyone deals with), but I am still proud of the person that I am and don’t want to seem like I’m shying away from myself. I’m glad that your self image has improved and thanks so much for the comment!

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