Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mirror, mirror...reprised


It is funny how we perceive ourselves. Every time I see my reflection or photograph I am startled. It is not the person I feel like inside. Part of it is age. Part of it is self-image. And part of it is the way I am feeling at the time. But still, the face (and the body) doesn't match my thoughts.

These are not new thoughts. Back in October 2004 I posted Mirror, Mirror.... In it I wrote:
"...it reminds me of standing on tiptoe as a kid trying to see my reflection in the toaster that sat on the kitchen counter. And when I could finally catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the mirror, I always felt a bit shocked. Because the face in the toaster was never the face I saw inside. As a boy, inside I always pictured my mature face and wondered who this boy was.

Now, as I age and look in the mirror, I still feel a bit shocked. Because now the face I see in the mirror is still not the face I see inside. Now as the lines on my face increase and my skin sags, I feel the younger face inside wondering who this stranger is staring back at me. "

I remember that time so vividly. It reminds me of all of the fantasy and science fiction plots where mirrors are just two-way windows (there's that word again) into other dimensions and maybe the face we are staring at isn't really ours. I'd actually be okay with that.

It's funny, you would think with all of the times that I've morphed my face onto other people and objects that I would be comfortable with the way it looks. And it dawns on me that perhaps this is why artists throughout time have painted self-portraits. Other than the obvious reason that you don't have to pay the model, it is a way to try and see yourself. And in seeing yourself, perhaps you can discover who you are.

The beauty of paint -- or in my case pixels -- is that if you don't like what you see, you can reshape who you are.

If it were only that simple.
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