the mirror garance dore illustrations The Mirror

The Mirror

Author Garance Doré

We’ve all had that moment when, without warning, right when you’re least expecting it, as you’re minding your own business and life seems to be purring along nicely… You come across THE photo.

THE photo that suddenly makes your legs weak, and has you feeling a little faint inside, the photo that shows you something you already knew but had chosen to ignore, the photo put right in your face by a totally innocent person with nothing but good intentions, but who, without knowing it, has just destroyed your mood for the next 72 hours.

Or the next 72 weeks.

This photo…is the bad photo.

It could be a photo where you suddenly see yourself from behind — you and your butt — which you’ve taken great care to avoid looking at. Or the photo where the big frown lines you’d been able to hide whenever you looked in the mirror by doing “raised eyebrow” pose No. 72, is finally visible in all its glory.
Or the photo where you realize you have posture like a Riff Raff (ok, that reference came out of nowhere – who’s seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show?) when all along you’d thought you just looked like a 15-year-old super model with your sunken shoulders.

For me, it was the photo that Chris sent of me surfing — obviously he was full of good intentions (I mean, I think so?) (or maybe he wanted to send a message?) but, thanks to that photo, I finally understood the full extent of what I already knew: a slightly alarming number on the scale and a winter spent, like I told you on Monday, on my couch eating chips and conscientiously (with admirable regularity!) missing my Pilates classes.

And here I’d totally been imagining myself as an Amazon lady of the sea (???)(I mean, you know — a mermaid or something) on my surfboard, so this came as a shock.

I, of course, thought about setting it as the background photo on my phone to motivate me to start eating healthy again but, the truth is, I don’t even have to do that. The photo is engraved into my memory FOREVER.
So, now, the idea is how to get the image OUT of Chris’ memory, hahaha. And out of everyone else’s memory around me.

Because THE photo is also the moment when you realize something that everyone else around you could already see. Deep down, I knew I’d gained some weight. My supersonic scale doesn’t lie. My super-stretchy jeans have their limits.

But it’s crazy how good I am at avoiding what I don’t want to see. Whether it’s the bags under my eyes when I’m exhausted, or my weight on the scale, or my reflection in the mirror when I’ve let myself go a little.

I hope I’m a little more aware in other areas of my life.

Or I hope to have friends around me who can hold the mirror up and help me see reality. Like my friend who told me over a year ago: “Sweetheart, I have to tell you, you don’t look very happy.”
You should have seen how hard I tried to convince her that yes, I was perfectly happy, everything was exactly as it should be, until I finally realized she was right and I was miserable inside. And that it was finally ok to cry about it.

Once I was capable of looking at the truth straight on, I was finally able to begin to change.
Facing reality and accepting it is where change begins.

So, there you have it. The mirror, whether it’s real or symbolic, is a powerful force for change. Whether it’s for the big things in life or the little things.

Ever since I’ve taken back the reins, I’ve stopped eating anything and everything, and things are already going much better.

So thanks for the photo, Chris – now can you delete it from your phone and from your memory for life, please? Otherwise, should I call the Men in Black? Or maybe hack into your iCloud? Or jump up and down on your iPhone in my Gianvito Rossi's?

Have you ever had a moment like that, where you realized you’d been avoiding the truth?

Translated by Andrea Perdue