I’ve been having this weird experience lately with full-length mirrors. I pass in front of one at a fancy restroom or someone’s house and am shocked to see that I am significantly shorter than I thought I was when I got dressed.
These flowy-wide jeans that I chose because they make my legs look super-long, so they’re the perfect match for this tunic thing I’ve got on top? Yeah, my legs look exactly the same length in these as they do in my six other pairs of jeans. Also, these happen to be too short, which is probably why they make my legs feel longer but actually only make my feet look bigger. Also they make my middle look wide. But then I realize, my middle is wide. Not excessively so, but in my mind there’s no wideness at all, just super-long legs in flowy-wide jeans trailing up to this cool tunic top thing.
Where did I get these false images? From ads? From how these clothes feel as compared to how other clothes feel? From the fact that I don’t have a full-length mirror upstairs? The only one in the whole house is on the front hall closet door, but to use it you have to stand right in front of it, so close you don’t get much perspective. Try to stand farther back and there’s a desk in the way. Or you can stand on the other side of the desk, but then you have to stand on the first step of the stairs going up, which is what I usually do, so you can only see the upper half of your body, which now looks six inches taller.
This visual disconnect wouldn’t matter much except for two things: 1) The abundance of full-length mirrors I seem to be encountering lately in the rest of the world, that shock me with the image of how I actually look. Which wouldn’t be so bad except that 2) They mess with my confidence. To be confident enough to go out and do the things I want to do, like…
Like what. What am I trying to do that requires model-tallness? I’m a middle-aged woman who’s trying to create stuff and collaborate with other people gifted in various aspects of the performing arts. None of this requires me to be five-ten. But it does require confidence. And if I am constantly being reminded in the outside world that I am not in fact five-ten, as I previously seemed to believe when standing in my cramped closet with the door closed so I wouldn’t have to bother closing the bedroom window shades to get dressed, than what else have I mis-estimated? Am I also not as talented, accomplished, intelligent, entertaining, and pleasant to be with as I might have assumed? And things just spiral from here.
So either I need to get myself a full-length mirror in the bedroom, so that I can begin the day with my confidence accurately calibrated to my actual height, or I need to destroy all the full-length mirrors in the world. But that would be a drag, because just every now and then, when I’ve started the day thinking I’m too short and out of ideas and not confident at all, I catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror somewhere in the world, and am shocked, shocked to discover that for some reason, I am actually six feet tall and perfect.