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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31 thoughts on “Day 190: In the Mirror

  1. When I look back at old photos of myself I do not recognize the face or body. Meaning that, I can’t connect with the images, other than wonder why I was never really able to validate my exterior beauty.

    Fast forward 30-40 years and I now wonder where that person went. Who was she, and why did she waste so much time contemplating the exterior of something that would never remain the same.

    I don’t remember much from those days, but I do remember, I had wished I believed that I was pretty.. I would have lived my life so differently. Now I look in the mirror and see the sagging skin.. Mama’s jowls, Grandpa’s weighted drooping eyelids, and my Aunt’s dreaded turkey neck. And of course, those hideous Playboy Granny Cartoon Boobs… that sway to and fro and sweep the floor, clearing her passage..

    As a real Granny, now I am somehow free from all that has passed before me. It’s as though the shackles of my appearance are finally removed and I am seeing myself for the first time, as a beautiful Spirit in a body that never really mattered after all.

    When I hear my 30 year old daughter criticize her appearance, I realize I must have contributed to her fixations. Of course I am not wholly responsible. My ego is not that crazy. But I so wish I could not still hear the voices of my elders whispering through the echos of my life, “Nothing you are worrying about really matters dear. You won’t begin to understand it until it’s too late and you have forever lost those precious days of your youth.”

    I guess it’s the wisdom that only time can teach, and take away. When I look at my disfigured limbs they never caused me the emotional pain the rest of my body has inflicted.. Now I see it was an inside job that stole my freedom to live fully. I am glad I finally caught that thief and hopefully he/she will now wear those heavy shackles from which I have finally been freed.

    I hope one day you will cast aside those painful shackles and fly into life, and never look back..at your image.. Because that’s all it is.. An image, that somehow changes the course of our lives, forever.

    1. Because I know you, I know how beautiful you are inside and out, and you have always been an inspiration for me. I never see your “flaws” only this beautiful radiance, your soulful huge Sally Field eyes, skin like an angel, and a lovely, cute face. It helps me to hear this from you, because you are a mirror for me. I wrote this to help me “grow” out of this mind-challenge. And that’s what it is, my mind trying to figure out a challenge. I am getting better and better at shutting off the voices, and getting over the initial heart shock when I see a photo. And your daughter is such a beauty…she has her own journey, doesn’t she? Yes, the voices of the elders…I have been trying to focus on them more and more…how they shake their head at me and say: silly silly me…..I am so much beyond this flesh and blood.
      And inside job….yep! I love the way you express yourself. You are such a wonderful light to the world. I hope you know that. And I am so very happy that your granddaughter is teaching you about your own powerful essence.
      I will focus on spreading those wings and flying….day by day they are budding.
      Love you bunches and bunches,
      Me 🙂 xoxoxo

  2. How to comment without saying I see a beauty, a person that has something no one else has?
    Thank the Lord we are not all the same… how damn boring that would be… and thank the Lord he made us so that we could not see ourselves… we developed mirrors that has stuffed up all pictures we had of ourselves… nothing is worse than looking in the mirror or at photos of our self, as who is our biggest critic? none other than ourselves. I compare myself with someone like Brad Pitt or the likes, my mirror tells me differently. (where do you think the nickname Bulldog came from? that’s how I see myself) Luckily my wife loves dogs other wise I might have been alone for the last 38 years. However others do see us differently, they don’t only see our outer beauty as they perceive it, but they get to know our inner beauty as well, which we have no perception of. Our minds create how we would like to be seen and liked, and as youngsters we probably attempt to emulate some thing we’re not. Age brings on lines of wisdom and knowledge, that as far as I’m concerned should be worn and displayed with pride.. they are like medals won in war, they show the battles we’ve fought and won, the “purple hearts” of wounds of which we have survived..
    I’m sure your Husband and children perceive your beauty not as only that of the exterior but of that from the interior over which you have no control…
    True beauty to me is one that is just there, big nose little nose, who cares, it’s going to keep changing your whole life. Lines and wrinkles? maps to the inner workings of experience gained through life, guide lines leading a loved one to a place of pleasure.
    Ears? who looks at them when nuzzling a loved one? not the loved one, they are merely loving the appendage that is so much a part of the whole.
    With the personality depicted in your photos who could not love you? Your Husband does, your children, your family and friends, the men that pass you and take a second look, I’m not allowed to say it on your instruction so I won’t, but I see something that you should love…. yourself… there’s not a thing wrong that I can see and I’m a Master of looking at women (with my wife’s permission, she’s worried if I stop looking I might have died)
    Thinking of doing a PhD on the subject…lol
    Sorry about the blog on your blog, but when the fingers take off faster than the eyes they’re following the brain, so excuse mistakes but as a teacher you will know what I meant…
    Keep posting photos of your self I love it, and those that stopped at the first photos you posted today have missed something special… thank you, now you can give me an “F” for what ever…

    1. A+ (You passed with flying colors)
      You had me laughing and crying. What a fantastic spirit you have…..luckily your wife loves dogs…oh my! lol. With your wife’s permission, because you might die!!! LOL!!!
      And that PhD…. I’d like to get one of those on MEN. hehehehe You are so grand in your spirit, really you are. You must make your wife smile. :))))
      You are right about the inner beauty. I would choose a person’s inner beauty over outer any day…I need to transfer that to me. 🙂
      I agree with all you are saying. These are all the same messages I have been telling myself for years. My hope is by sharing that I heal those final pieces that need to heal, so I can move onward and beyond this. I know I am lovely inside. I know I’m not chopped liver on the outside. So it’s about acceptance and letting go for me. And about realizing I might not ever know what I look like, and that’s okay.
      Lines…ears…you are correct about everything. 🙂
      Thanks for saying that about my personality…..I agree….I do have a great spirit.
      You are a great writer…loved having your mini-blog. I am honored!!!!
      Thank you so much. Your words are so very healing to me, and you have made a difference in this person’s life.
      Hugs,
      Sam

  3. Hi there. Woke up and decided to catch up on posts for a bit. Yours fascinates me. I don’t like the way I look outside either. Now, here goes what you asked for. I have not met you in person, but all of your pictures look pretty much the same. They are all of the same beautiful person. Oh, and by the way, I prefer the Fairy waiting on her white knight. I adore Fairies.
    BB

    1. Thank you blog brother Kindred Spirit. 🙂 I chose elf because fairies can be very mean according to legend, and I think the Elvens in the Lord of the Rings are divine, and I already have the ears. 🙂 But a gentle fairy in a gentle kingdom would be cool, too. 🙂 LS

  4. Actually I love to study people’s faces and can recall them quite well. Sometimes I stare too hard at people! I love your bird photos. Yes, you can’t go wrong with being an Elf…they have mysteries…

  5. Well we have another commonality Sam…. I am fascinated with mirrors. Not exactly sure why – but it’s been this way since I was a tot. Always had to sit near/facing the mirror in a restaurant. Talked to the mirror when I was little… Sang to the mirror. etc. . it’s really silly, and I never quite understood it but now I am wondering if like you, I’m trying to see myself, solve that puzzle and figure out who I really am? It’s either that or I’m really vain – but that’s not quite me…. so ~
    Love this post – inner beauty and brightness of spirit is the most dominant feature I see in your portraits. It’s not about any one facial quality ~ it’s definitely deeper ~ this beauty of yours which is through and through. OH– almost forgot — not so much lately with the health/pain, but have also always adored playing with make-up. Just fun to me – pure play… like photography 🙂 We are definitely sea sisters ~ xxxooo Sending love and hugs ~R

    1. No surprised that we have commonalities…..yet again!!! Trying to see yourself, I bet. I’m so glad you like it, I felt silly doing it…but it was VERY HEALING! Thank you for your sweet words. I see a deep beauty in you, too. I love photos of you. You are so precious. Sea sisters, for sure. HUGS and love to you. 🙂 Sam

      1. Sounds heavenly ~ and we can also write passionate poetry by the sea while we eat our chocolate… (doing a sea post tonight btw – my quote (you will like) and featuring a fellow-bogger’s poem) xo

      2. And almost forgot — shadows too!! It’s all the same — SEARCH FOR TRUE SELF (i think) — or we are just egomaniacs but doubt that !!! hee hee! xo

  6. Well, as a sideline, you *are* pretty, even though compliments are not what you are asking these questions for 🙂

    I’ve never met you in real life, but I think if I saw all of these photos I would recognise them as you. The sixth photo of you, though, that looks much more different than all the others and I possibly might not recognise that one as you.

    1. Thanks, sweet Sue. Interesting you would recognize me; I wouldn’t recognize me! lol. 🙂 Yes, sixth photo, the angel…doesn’t look like me at all, I don’t think. Hugs to you. Sam 🙂

  7. I typically don’t like pictures of myself either. Although when I try to put a face on, makeup, etc. it seems to help the picture. Otherwise, I would say….it’s the flaws that make us human and we all have them. 🙂

  8. As they say beauty in the eyeof the beholder i have never been interested in make up or the latest fashions not sure if that is because of aspergers but we all judge by appearance even if we are not aware of it !!
    I have always been slim all my life and people comment on it and dont know how would cope if overweight as think the only thing i have is my figure !! I try to think as long as you yourself are happy with yourself that is all that matters , I have very bad teeth and feal my self drawn to lookat peoples teeth where everyone seems to be white and stright mine are yellow and crooked .
    I have suffered alot from mentel heath issues the past few years and have come to realise to do what is best for me and not others ! which seems extremly selfish written down but you cant help others when ill yourself , i am going off the subject here sorry
    I see how different I am to otherss when i see my 12 year old neice who spends hrs getting ready to go out and her appearance is everything sometimes i see what i am missing out but hey how boring a world would be all the same !!

    1. Yep. Eye of the beholder. I am always years “behind” in fashion….according to someone who decides what we “should” wear. LOL 🙂 Makeup I still don’t understand or get….confuses me. Yep being authentic and happy!!! You are spot on. 🙂 What is best for you! Yep!!!! God blessed me with boys….I wouldn’t have known what to do with girls! lol
      Thanks for the great comment.
      🙂 Sam

  9. Hello my beautiful Basna Woodelf… 🙂 hehehe
    You know with me it’s eyes that I recognise, as for the faces…forget it. I once walked straight past a good friend who I see weekly and didn’t know her at all, even after she called me…giggle, I’m such an aspie!! Faces have to be in places or I don’t see them. She was in the supermarket, I’m only used to seeing her at church.

    I see you, I recognise your eyes. Kind of funny how us aspies fear eyes when they speak so loudly to us. Windows to the soul. I guess that is what the problem is….LOL

    I love you, you kind, patient, loving, honest and open soul full of light and uniqueness.
    See…I can see you!!! Your friendship makes my heart smile.
    Me. xxx 🙂 <3.
    Sorry about my late response, I was in a complete shutdown yesterday, as you already know.
    Mwah……. x 😉 Thank you, and I started my scrapbook. Check your inbox, I'm in a babble mood today…can you tell???

    1. Basna Woodelf here smiling big. We are so alike….face…forget it!!! All about the eyes…..yes eyes I fear and I am drawn to. Thanks for the words of love. Your the besets. Mwah and big hugs!!! 🙂 Remind me to check my inbox again…I’ll forget. lol 🙂 So glad you are happy. xoxoxo Sam

    1. I do look better in real life….in many photos. At least that’s what my husband tells me. lol. You are soooo right….a different side. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂 Sam

  10. Sam

    I read your post with great facination. Can you please enlighten me. is this idea that you dont recongize yourself or see that you are always looking different in pictures and in the mirror, a typical aspie characteristic?

    1. Many people I have spoken with (females) with Aspergers feel the same way, that they cannot recognize their complete self, and others have difficulty recalling others’ faces. So, from my experience, I would say it is very possible that some people with Asperger’s share this same trait. I think it has to do with how our brains view the world, picking up small details and seeing things in great depth. Thank you for the comment. ~ Sam

      1. thanks for enlightening me and not laughing and my question as I try to understand.

        May you be well

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