This week the photo challenge dealt with using an editing trick...to use the mirror image in editing to create a new symmetrical photo. It was an interesting way to look around; to judge how something would look as or with a mirror image of itself.
Of course that sent my mind wandering and wondering about mirrors in general. We really don’t see ourselves in the same way others do. We see ourselves flipped horizontally the majority of time, while others see us the other way around.
Here I am as the way you see me, the way I see me, two of one side merged, and the other side duplicated and merged!
As a kid I often looked into the mirror and really wondered what I saw. I had the distinct feeling that I was an entity inside this body and not the body itself. I would look at others and wonder what it would be like to inhabit that body instead of mine.
And now as I age, that disconnect becomes stronger. It is ever more evident, with each year, that the mind and body do not age at the same rate. Most of my friends readily admit to being a 30-40 year old housed in their 60-70 year old body.
Body dysphoria is a real thing. I have seen it and heard about it first-hand from my daughter. Assigned male at birth, and later realizing that there was an incongruity with the body she inhabited and the gender she felt, she has claimed her real self as a transgender woman. I can’t begin to understand the confusion, anxiety and every other emotion that one would experience in that situation; looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger. Or the relief and joy of being able to align your mind/gender and body/appearance in whatever way you can.
People who lose weight, lose a limb, are scarred, or altered in any other “disfigured” way must feel this disconnection between self and body, too. To realize that our bodies can morph or change, while our minds may stay the same. With some changes we get further from our mental self, with other changes we may come closer to familiar territory. The reverse can also be true; when the mind changes but the body does not, as with dementia or mental illness, but that is a whole different musing.
This reminds me of a surprise birthday party we once attended. It was being held in a farmhouse in a very rural area which meant the host and the ‘birthday girl’, could tell from a distance that there were people in their house if any lights were on. Consequently, all of us attendees, most of whom didn’t know each other, spent about an hour in darkness before the guest of honor arrived. We laughed and joked and conversed freely. But once they arrived and the lights went on and we could see clearly, the demeanor changed. It became instantly more stilted and self-conscious. We were all trying to align the people we met with the people we now saw. It was a very interesting experience.
Anyhow, this is just a recognition of how important it is to recognize the whole person at all times. How visual representation is an easy way to judge and be judged, but it is only half (or less!) of the story.
Okay enough digression. Here are some more of the mirrored images I had fun editing.
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