I don’t have a lot of company over for social calls, but if I did, they’d attest—Mallory covers her mirrors.
The room I currently live in so happens to be the room I grew up in—bottom floor at Mama Mo’s house. It’s the room where I grew through awkward puberty, picked at my teenage acne, painted pop punk murals upon, and spent many hungover mornings of my twenties roaring and snoring. The room of this current flashback of youth also has those long, full length, 1990’s style sliding closet doors made of mirror. They make for a constant reflection, unforgiving reminder, and inescapable proof of what I’ve looked like through every age, every angle, all the time forever even when I’m sleeping.
It’s hard to pinpoint where things begin when it comes to my shiny negative self-image.
Could it have been seventh grade when Tommy Shanley passed me in the hallway openly gazing at my chest and indiscreetly and aloud mumbled, “my god, they’re huge?”
Could it have been the fact that I had cystic acne throughout high school, played basketball, and didn’t have a boyfriend for four years and was the chubby and funny token friend?
Could it have been the weight battle that ensued after high school ballooning me into the obese realm of 225lbs at age 19? It probably didn’t help that I pierced everything on my face, cut my own hair, and wore men’s clothes in an effort to be rebellious and punk rock.
Whatever the root, where ever the stem, however the growth, insecurity and body dysmorphia has been with me a while. I hate(d) my boobs and my midsection. I spent many nights and days attempting to make plans to go out only to cancel because I hate my (insert body part here). I argued many hours with the few boyfriends I had about their insanity regarding my attractiveness. I painted countless self portraits in an effort to witness myself, warts and all, flaws and wrinkles, scars and lines, into forcible acceptance. I would lay in bed at night unable to fall asleep because tomorrow morning I’d finally change the binge eating, lazy workout efforts, and uncover the mirror to see exactly what I was.
Maybe everyone did this. Maybe everyone’s social anxiety would tornado out the closet and arrive him or her at the art opening only to lose all the oxygen in the roomfilledwithpeoplemustbolttenminutesintothereception!?!
Maybe everyone covered their mirrors and blamed it on the spirit realm being able to feng shui bullshit capture their souls while they slept?
But I don't think everyone covers their mirrors.
I think other people are okay seeing themselves.
It wasn't until last year at the ripe age of 33 that I really began to tolerate myself. I'd lost 50 pounds and rewarded myself with this cool, art deco, under-titty chandelier style tattoo. (Thanks, Nikki at Aces Tattoo) I felt pretty... or at least one or two steps closer to it. I'd started to wear half sets of fake eyelashes on a daily basis because fuckit and was determined to grin and bare it. Fake it all til I made it some. It was actually working--really. I think?
I'd finally started to like and understand my body when it came time to share it.
Like, share it.
Like share, SHARE it.
In short, Nugget and I have inhabited the same vessel for 207 days now. We've had minimal disagreements and she's a pretty quiet roommate. Nugget spreads out a bit in the communal areas, but mostly knows his/her place. I'm okay with the furniture he/she's brought with him/her and, if anything, he/she's already improved my habitation of self greatly. Food tastes better, I eat less, work out more, and am really getting better in tune with my meditative side. I've put some new work into our place and it's starting to pay off.
I tell folks I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and they look at me like I'm insane. They look me up and down and say, ''no way?" I have to insist and then I sometimes allow them to awkwardly touch my stomach as if the rock hard preggo non-abs will tell the tale I'm apparently not conveying strong enough with words.
My Mother insists I'm carrying Kiddo internally, 'in my back,' and that's why I'm not the show-iest of belly show-ers.
Regardless of where the baby's boudoir is, we're sharing the house.
I think that's why I've lucked out in the negative body image department as of late. With 80% of the mirrors covered in the house and not being 50 pounds fatter with Kiddo OR being the show-iest of belly show-ers.... I haven't had to size myself up as usual. I'm too distracted by crazy shit like kicked colons and vaginal discharge, getting dumped by my baby's father, and what shade of rich dark rose my nipples will finally settle on. Also, not having sex and being single so I don't have to see myself jiggle as I bone down has helped as well. I committed to buying preggo undies and maternity pants early so I wouldn't have to go through the painful elimination process, pant by pant, of my closet not fitting anymore. Right away these tig ol' bitties of mine grew into monstrosities of new bra size letter proportions--36DDD to 40H. I preemptively purchased boulder holders that would fit even the crankiest mammary.
What I'm saying here is... The facts of growth have been ever present.
The reflection of this growth has not.
I'm working on peeling back the mirror veil and appreciating our shape as much as I'm comfortable with... I'm working on positive self-affirmations and not worrying about losing the fifteen pounds of baby weight I've picked up in the last seven months.
I'm working on the mirror veil--as much as I love the beautiful Irish lace hanging over it's surface, it's kinda nice looking into it sometimes and thinking, ''eh... not bad...''
I'm working on myself.
It's a full time gig, self-love.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.