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What it is like to look in the mirror and see nothing

What it is like to look in the mirror and see nothing

No, the title of this post isn’t a metaphor, it is literal. When I look in the mirror, I see nothing. I can’t see my own face.

Growing up, I went through an awkward stage when I was uncomfortable with my body and the way I looked. I grew up a dancer and spent hours in front of a mirror in tight clothing, observing the different shapes I had to make with my body. When I was alone, I would struggle to look at myself directly in a mirror, especially in the bathroom, because I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a girl who was not ‘skinny’ enough and who I perceived as ‘ugly’. So, I avoided looking at myself.

As I got older, I became more comfortable with myself and could look at myself in the mirror. I also had to look at myself in the mirror because I was going out and needed to see if my outfit and make-up was on point. I gradually become more comfortable in my skin and learnt to love my flaws.

Just as I was getting my confidence back, the image in the mirror started to disappear. First, I wasn’t able to see my eyes unless I was close to the mirror, then my nose started disappearing, then my whole face, then I was headless and could only see my body in my peripheral vision. I was disappearing before my own eyes.

Not being able to see myself in the mirror was something that I really noticed as I lost my sight, because that’s what a mirror is for – looking at yourself! I would brush my teeth and not see my face, so I would look at the tap or sink to distract myself from the fact that I couldn’t see. Here I was again, avoiding looking in the mirror.

It is such a bizarre feeling when you stand in front of a mirror and you can’t see yourself, but can see things in your peripheral, like the bathroom door or part of the basin. I have lived in the same house for over twenty years, looked in the same mirror, and have watched my image fade. It actually feels like you are a ghost.

Some days I get extremely frustrated, I just want to know what I look like! I can use magnified small mirrors to do my make-up, although I don’t get the whole picture. I feel so vain for writing this.

I guess this is another thing I need to let go of, to be confident within myself even if I can’t see myself. On the plus side, I can’t see any cellulite so as far as I know, I’m cellulite free!

When your vision is degenerating, you are constantly in a state of change and adaptation. Just when you think you are managing well and coping with your condition, something changes and you see less. It is a continual process that feels like a yo-yo; from up to down and up again. It can be quite draining and stressful but at the end of the day, I can’t change what is happening to me and must learn to live with it, through the tears, and find the light in the mirror.

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