Mirror face

September 12, 2011 § 5 Comments

For years, I have looked at photographs of myself in disgust. I am so unphotogenic, I say to myself. Yesterday, I asked OH to take a photo of me with Cloud, the cat, before we gave him away, I mean, ‘rehomed him’. Maybe it was the ugliness of the deed we were about to commit (actually he was rehomed to my mum and for good reasons so not nearly as bad as it sounds), but I looked vile. “I am sooo unphotogenic,” I moaned. Then, “or perhaps I’m just really ugly.” Fishing for compliments, you might think, but you’d be wrong. Actually I heard a penny dropping in the room. You see, for years, I thought I looked like the girl in the mirror. How deluded I have been.

So today, I took a few deep breaths, and I did it. I looked in the mirror without first pulling the ‘mirror face’. You may have one. Perhaps sometimes you pull out a few Derek Zoolander-esque ‘looks’ of your own. Perhaps you even name them. ‘Magnum’, or ‘Blue Steel’, perhaps. But I doubt you are as stupid as I was, until yesterday, to actually think that the mirror face is how you really look, all the time. So unconscious a reflex was my mirror face, that I had forgotten I did it at all.

In case you’re interested mine is a very slight suck-in of the cheeks and purse of the lips. My lips have always been my most hated feature. Think John Major. Or Zoe Wannamaker. Or the gay builder from DIY SOS who was in Celebrity Four Weddings (no? Just me then). Anyhoo, the mirror face makes me look fine. Often, I do my mirror face in photographs. People have been known to laugh at them. My best-friend-since-we-were-5 always laughs at my ‘pout’. But I never realised until today quite the extent of my thin lips, double chin, and slowly developing sad face/jowly bits. Couple that with the fact that in the last two months I have pulled out more grey hair than in the last two years, a girl could find herself a bit down in the mouth. Oh no hold on, I think we’ve established I’m down in the mouth already.

Then I found myself thinking about my poor eldest son, and baby daughter, who have inherited my lips. (Middle one has escaped, I think). And I realised that I must never, ever, share my own niggles about my appearance with them. I looked back on my childhood and remembered not a single occurrence where my mum moaned about the way she looked, or commented on my appearance in a negative way. I think this is so important. Probably why I was so secure in how I looked until today! I intend that my children will grow up with the same security, thin lipped or otherwise. And as for me? Well, who cares, really. We all age. My OH loves me, and I’m happy. I’ll just have to smile more in photographs. I have good teeth.

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§ 5 Responses to Mirror face

  • I’m not convinced. I rather like myself in the mirror also but the camera hates me. Even my friends say I don’t look good in photos and that I look much better in real life. Even professional photographers are surprised at what comes out and offer to take it again (passport, degree ceremony, sister’s wedding…). I think some faces just pick up the light in unfortunate ways on film and do not reflec the true beauty of the person.

  • I love what you say about your mum never complaining, so true. I always saw my mum as beautiful, even though I now look at my own very similar reflection in the mirror with frustration. Beauty is much more than skin deep.

  • Here here! My mum went white at the age of 35. Not grey – but full blown white. She never dyed it, never really wore make-up. But she was always beautiful and I never even thought about her white hair. Now, at 58, she has better skin and better hair than any other 58 year old I know. I love what you say about smiling – I think an open, honest smile beats a contrived pout any day.

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