Day 190: In the Mirror

For those of you that are not into rambling, here is a pretty photo I took today. You can look and stare, and come back tomorrow.

Oh, and this one too.

And one more, since I like the number three, and because this is my all time favorite.

Now for the rest of you…here you go:

me

People often say I look familiar to them, or they know someone who looks like me, or that they have met me before. Years ago someone thought I was that teacher that got caught shagging her student. Don’t remember her name, but it didn’t help when the suspecting stranger asked if I was a teacher, and I said, “Yes.”  I’ve been told I look like certain celebrities—usually bad politicians or people who play dope dealers on television. Thusly, the still very small ego. That strikes me as odd, that people recognize me or relate me to others, as I haven’t a fricken clue regarding what I look like.

I do not recognize myself in any photo. My dear friend who is a photographer says my bone structure affects my photos. She reassured me I don’t need plastic surgery. I actually texted her from some hotel in northern California in tears after a recent photograph, convinced I needed a nose job that very day.

This week, my dear masseuse reassured me that in person I do indeed  look like my photos on my blog. Yes, I have the most awesome masseuse; she actually gives the best massages while discussing me and my blog. I call her my number one fan! That and sue-happy!  She said I don’t look like me when I give that look though…with some questioning, sweet Sue agreed that look meant a blank stare. That blank stare look is my typical smile, or what feels like a smile.

Everyday my husband patiently answers questions for me about my looks. During a movie I might ask (during a crucial moment of the film): Do those look like my wrinkles? Am I that old looking? Do I look like her when I smile? Is that my nose? Oh, is her hair like my hair?

That same photographer friend I texted, she has always said I am blessed with a gypsy-skin complexion and doe eyes. I like her. To make me feel better, she also has told me, more than once, that “pretty” people never like photos of themselves because they appear different depending on lighting. I really like her a lot. She also says I am a good catch. I love her.

mememe

To me, my appearance changes from moment to moment. Forget about the photos. Each time I look in the mirror I do not recognize myself. I particularly do not like my reflection in the car’s rearview mirror or in the glass screen of my laptop computer. Some reflections accentuate all my lines, and I appear to be a prune. I cry at prune faces.

I do not recognize my eyes as the lids droop. And as I age, I wonder where the me before went. Not that I ever saw myself fully to begin with. But now it seems the person I never figured out is vanishing all together into the folds and creases of flesh.

Not being able to judge how I look affects me in many ways. I can’t apply makeup well. I don’t know how. Lessons won’t help. I can’t tell if the shade is right or if I have put on too much or too little. Usually I hardly wear any makeup. I do like watching my eyes change once I put mascara on my lashes, though. I’m like a little girl. I apply and then stare in amazement. It’s like someone enlarged my eyes. When it comes to eyeliner, I can’t tell if it makes me look older, wiser, sexier, or slutty. I do however notice that lately I have developed these distinct come-hither bedroom eyes. Don’t know what’s that about, but have some theories.

me and steff

Fixing my hair is hard. I can’t tell what it looks like. Hair pins at different angles, hair back, hair forward, hair wet, hair straight, hair curly. My looks alter depending. I don’t know who the heck I am. I guess if I was bald that would be one less constantly changing thing. But then I’d probably have that whole light-reflection-changing-the-angle-of-my-scalp thing going on.

I cannot grasp facial features in general, of anyone. For instance, if I was asked to describe a person’s face for a police sketch artist, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even describe my sons’ faces. I was always fascinated in movies when the witness would tell the sketch artist about the nose shape, the eyes’ distance, the lips, the hairline. It feels like they have super powers to me. I’ve been staring at my fourteen year old’s face for fourteen years, and I still couldn’t tell you what he looked like beyond the fact that he has big eyes like me, long lashes, thin dark hair, and a chin like his dad. The rest, all the inside parts, inside the hairline, the face shape, the nose, the lips, the brows, they all go blurry when I try to visualize my son.

I see things in pictures. I see things as a large whole or a specific. For example I see the wrinkles between the eyes, the bump on a nose, the ear that sticks out, the red dot on a check. I am naturally drawn to the details, and distracted by the details, as if I am a camera focusing in. Then, after a little bit of time, I focus out and see the overall face. It is as if I do not have a middle focus, only very narrow or very vast.

I am amazed at how I can look so very different from what I imagine myself to look like. Inside my head I do not look like any representation outside of me.

november walk

I’ve always studied faces, since I can remember. Last year my fixation was ears, particularly ear lobes. I was trying to figure out what my ears looked like in comparison to others’. I know my ears are unique…elf-like…they stick out a bit, and larger on the top part, and generally fleshy. Makes for good nibbling, I suppose. It’s been a whole year of ear studying, and I still am clueless. I couldn’t draw you a picture of my ear unless I was staring at a photo, and likely tracing.

I just started on my nose in May. I’ve been comparing my nose to other noses, and trying to find a companion nose, so I know what the heck my nose looks like. My nose is a funny creature, constantly changing shapes based on the camera angle or how I look at myself in the mirror. When I take a photo of myself, like above, when I extended my arm out, my nose is very European. Sometimes it’s rather cute and pudgy. Other times I know for a fact someone has put their nose on my face, and it’s just not mine! I’ve been studying movies lately, pausing a film and looking at the actresses’ faces, and noticing that their noses change too. It’s not just mine. I’ve noticed how still frames of a movie star’s face are so different from when an actress is in motion. I like to go to the dentist and eye doctor, because I spend time studying faces in magazines.

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I’m still trying to get used to seeing me. Sometimes I think I look like me one day, but then the next day I look back at a photo and think that is not me.

I honestly don’t think I am supposed to be in a human body. I frequently feel as if I have put on the wrong body suit.

I have been insecure my whole life about my looks; mainly because I am a walking shift-shaper and have no looks. From one mirror to the next, I am not me. I capture glimpses of me, but then I fade. Sometimes I think I look very Maltese/Sicilian and other times I see my Irish side. Sometimes I look like I’m from another planet. Other times I am certain I am a little elf: a princess elf with handsome male knights that adore me. And one in particular I want to marry in the forest glen…I digress.

Sometimes I think I look very angular and other times very round. Sometimes I go through thirty moods about my looks in one single day. One mirror in the morning might reveal a tolerable image; I might even like my appearance; but another mirror in the afternoon makes me afraid to leave the house because I’m so frightful to behold. I’ve felt this way my whole life.

Recently, beyond the ears and nose, I’m starting to study eyelids and how they droop. If I am staring at you, I am likely studying your lids. Take no notice; the phase will pass. Just keep your fingers crossed that I don’t leave the face area!

I may sound vain, but I don’t think I am. I think this face obsession has something to do with how my brain views the world in pictures, even words and numbers in pictures, and how my brain is trying to piece together the whole of a very complex shifting face.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly see me. I recognize me, of course. But I don’t know if I’ll ever understand what I consistently look like.

I AM trying to change something. I’m superb at picking out all my flaws and thinking I am a walking big-nosed, wrinkly-faced bozo. So I am practicing looking at myself without cringing. That’s a big deal for me. Since I recently lost a lot of weight, and have grown more confident inside, men are noticing me more. This is very weird for me. I keep thinking, what the heck do they see in me. Are they blind?

I’ve been posting a lot of photos of me on this blog because I am trying to come to terms with what I look like and to accept myself.  I actually am very confident on the inside. Interior-wise, I love me, probably a little too much a times. I’ve falling in love with my person and spirit entirely, and at the same time fallen in love with other people, too. Thing is I don’t care what they look like. Heck, their faces shift and change more than mine. So I focus on their energy, their beauty, their eyes. So that’s what I am trying to do with me: focus on the inner beauty and my eyes.

Please don’t tell me I’m pretty or lovely; that’s not going to help. If you want to comment, comment about the subject matter. I’m not fishing for compliments. Even when I called my husband in to look at the photos tonight, I just needed reassurance that the photos looked like me. And I needed him to say he didn’t notice the huge, gigantic mountain-eating wrinkles. I needed him to explain to me why I look so different in every photo. I must have asked him fifty times, “Is that really me? Do I really look like that?” This isn’t about beauty to me or self-acceptance; it’s about figuring out a puzzle. It’s about figuring out who that woman is staring back at me in the mirror.

space me

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