‘What I learnt from not looking in a mirror for seven months.’

Video by MWN

For the past seven months I haven’t had a full length mirror in my apartment and it’s changed the way I feel about my body.

I moved cities at the start of the year and I just never got around to buying a mirror, and then I fell out of the habit of looking at my body on the regular.

There’s a little mirror in my bathroom above my vanity, so I was always able to check my hair and makeup, but for months on end I’ve just been wandering around blissfully unaware if I’m sporting a giant camel toe.

And honestly, it’s been bloody liberating.

body image mirrors
"Then last night I had a brand new, full length mirror delivered to my apartment." Image supplied.

For years I've had a love/hate relationship with mirrors. I needed to look in the mirror each morning to feel secure enough in my appearance to leave the house, but from then on I would avoid mirrors almost incessantly, averting my eyes when I walked past shop windows and cringing when I accidentally caught a glimpse of my reflection on my phone.

Then last night I had a brand new, full length mirror delivered to my apartment. It's big, imposing and kind of terrifies me.

I unpacked it, wavering between excitement and fear. I was excited I was finally going to be able to put together some new outfits in front of a mirror, but I was worried about how the introduction of this new mirror was going to affect my relationship with my body.

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After I unpacked the mirror, I spent some time looking at myself in it. I was surprised to find that my body hasn't changed in the last seven months - I haven't put on weight and, somewhat disappointingly, I haven't miraculously dropped a whole bunch of kilos without noticing either.

I was just me. But I felt kind of different. This wasn't a body that had been scrutinised in a mirror on a daily basis, it felt a lot freer.

I have no idea how the installation of this mirror is going to affect my relationship with my body in the coming weeks and months, but I know I'm not alone in my wariness of mirrors.

Speaking to my colleagues this morning, some they admitted they too struggle with mirrors. Some of them couldn't live without them, some of them went out of their way to avoid them, while others, like me, had a ongoing battle with the mirror.

One woman admitted she also didn't have a full length mirror in her house for months until a friend pointed it out to her. After she bought a mirror, she started second guessing her outfit choices and worrying more about her appearance.

"Like, I felt really great in certain outfits and thought I was looking really good... and then after the mirror I realised I had a bit of a camel toe or the shoes actually looked weird," she explained.

"And then felt like I couldn't confidently wear those same outfits."

She said life was simpler when she didn't have a mirror.

When another woman was 19, she lived in a share house in Italy - with no mirror - for several months over winter. She said the combination of not looking in a mirror and wearing lots of layers made her feel very detached from how her body looked. When she arrived back in Australia she was surprised to find that she'd put on about 10 kilos.

"It was a big shock to fly home to a blazing Australian summer and suddenly seeing how my body had changed," she said.

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While one woman admitted her phone has become a portable mirror for her, she finds herself checking her appearance on the phone throughout the day. She's worried this makes her look vain.

A woman in her 40s has made the conscious decision to step away from the mirror. She said if she spent the morning in front of a well-lit mirror, measuring her pores and her bum, she'd feel defeated before she even left the house.

"I'm as vain as the next woman, but my life experience has taught me that we are much more critical of our own physical appearance than anyone else could ever be. So I have freed myself from that scrutiny by generally picturing a sketch of myself before I set sail into the world each day. It's a confidence trick," she said.

How do you feel about mirrors? Tell us about it in the comments. 

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