Friday, August 17, 2007

Please Allow me to Reflect...on my Reflection

I don't own a full length mirror… I've never owned one… I've never liked the way I have appeared in one. Dance studio’s have mirrors…lots of them… So when dancing, if my instructor and I are facing the mirror I generally keep my head up, but my eyes down (huge no-no in the ballroom world, but when your own reflection makes you so sad you want to run off the's easier to get a lecture for not looking up). All of this means I never REALLY know what I look like… all the mirrors in my apartment are waist up, so I focus on my hair, makeup, top, jewelry etc and rely on a mental picture of my self for what my entire ensemble may look like…. until Wednesday when I finally decided to look up…

I was at my lesson, it was a great lesson too, refreshed on a lot of basics in Rumba, and worked on adjustments for West Coast Swing (which is fast becoming one of my favorite dances). As my instructor and I are groov'n thru the "Shagin'" step in West Coast, I decide that rather than send my eyes to the floor when we face the mirror, as had always been done, I was going to look into the mirror. Hey why not? I was having a good hair day anyway… and the last time I looked I was 91lbs heavier... So we “sailor shuffle” our way to an open kick that faces the mirror and I made the conscious effort to look at myself directly for that beat before returning to triple step facing my instructor… let me tell you had I been any more shocked by what I saw I would have completely frozen right there mid step…

When I looked in the mirror for that brief moment before returning to face my instructor…I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE MYSELF!… It was me there, but it wasn't, suddenly my thoughts sped through what I’m seeing rather than what I’m doing… I look taller than I remember… and yes I'm aware of how odd that sounds…but keep in mind that for at least the last 4 years I have relied on a mental picture of what I look like head to toe… This is crazy! I have a shape and it isn’t all "fluffy." My face is different, my eyes appear larger than they used to be, my extra chin all but gone…is that the beginning of a jaw line I see? Things I never noticed in the mirror at home were all too apparent in the studio mirror… We did the step again…and again I looked up at myself…still surprised by the woman looking back… Turns out I was running around with a rather inaccurate picture of myself and how I was appearing to the world. Due to my overwhelming reaction, and not wanting my instructor to know about the internal SHOCK I was having over a few seconds in the mirror I went back to averting my eyes from the mirror for the rest of the lesson… I have no idea what I'll do next time I'm confronted with a mirror at the dance studio... but I can tell you that outfit choice just became a priority on days I have lessons :)

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