Is it easier to look at pictures or mirrors? For me, it’s pictures.
When I look at an old photograph, it’s easy to say that it’s not really me. There is a huge difference between what I feel and what a camera picks up. It also helps that I don’t have many recent photographs. The me from just a couple of years ago is nothing like the me that exists now, so it’s not difficult to imagine that I’m not looking at a photo of myself at all. It’s like I’m staring at a stranger.
With mirrors, however, there’s no denying what you see. The distance between me and a mirror is only a matter of inches, whereas the distance between me and a photograph can be measured over a span of years.
This makes it difficult to stand in front of a mirror. The strangest part is that I’m never prepared for what I see. It takes a couple of seconds for the image to sync. For a brief moment, it’s like I’m not looking at anyone at all. It’s a simple issue of incompatibility: my mind does not agree with my reflection.
This dissonance has lead to its own problems. It’s hard to explain to someone why I don’t like looking at myself. Initially, it sounds like a problem with self-esteem. In reality, that’s not what it is at all.
The thought of trying to express this to another person makes me feel like an alien. It’s such a strange problem, yet it is real nonetheless. Trying to make it make sense to someone else seems impossible.
Ultimately, though, there is nothing that makes me feel more alien than my own reflection. It’s a bizarre predicament, but I have been doing better with it. Here’s to continued improvement.