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.