Mirror mirror on the wall
Who is the slimmest of the all?
Mirror mirror on the wall
Who is the wrinkle free of the all?
My bundle of joy, my little boy is six now. Never in fourteen hours of his wakefulness, he stands in front of mirror or catches a glimpse of himself unless in some blue moon he feels like making a fancy face or poke a joke on his own image. He just doesn’t feel the need for it. I know he will not stay the same, but that story rests for some other day when I face the gun. Is he not aware of his existence?
What is that makes a child not to be that self-conscious about his or her body?
Our body image is our reflection on the appearance that we carry or to say the personality we offer, which indeed is a part of our existence. But what is that makes us grown-up feel so conscious about our physicality and right here I am hinting on the attributes that we manifest aesthetically. The morning mirror throws a reality check as we brush our teeth or tidy up, to face the world. Our face and body stands there sometimes as welcoming as it could be and many times as a challenge to overcome. We agree or not but amidst all the engagements or hustle, we all do find a few seconds to steal a glimpse of our own self in mirror and adjust our demeneaour depending upon the reflection it throws at us. If not so, then why on earth would your profile pictures in social media sees you in the chosen best of the light?
While it’s not wrong to be conscious about your presentability but if believing or obsessing on ‘what you look like’ determines your value as a person, then somehow it carries unfavourable implication on your own self worth. Being fixated to physical appearance and trying to fit into this new found definition of beauty which changes every now and then with trending and sponsored media galleries, causes a superficial approach to find and feel the real you. The media hungry obsession of picture perfect body images of celebrities has done no good to us or to our coming generation, where mostly many pictures are photo shopped to the point of achieving a totally impeccable body shape or bearing. As it is there’s nothing left to fancy for or charm about with the abundance of incongruity and shamelessness exhibited in the name of glam or sham.
This reminds me of a day few years down the lane, while I used to work for a media house and was a part of a management team, who coordinated the supposedly most prestigious beauty contest of India. When I met the contestants backstage almost all of them between 18 to 24 years maidens sans make up or designer ensemble, I felt a sense of hollowness as if the air surrounding smelled of something so over-pretentious or affected. There was something not natural about it as almost all the girls looked alike or similar as if measured, dissected and pruned accordingly as to fit into a cast which defies their originality, for a reason which does not resonate with the very essence of beauty.
When all are almost same, how do we measure? But then why should we measure?
Doesn’t the beauty lies in the uniqueness of each one of us?
To add to the glory there were few who were mugging the jarred lines on women empowerment and social obligations to score a point or two. After delivering my duties which was little tiresome being into the core of the event, once I was out of the backstage and then making my way through the crowd and then out of the venue and stepped towards my vehicle, which was parked in that vast airy space outside the auditorium meant for parking, I felt a sense of relief, away from that stifling air inside which was nothing less than the mockery on the entirety of beauty. I was almost of the same age group of the beauty pageants but totally from different side of the world. I was neither as tall nor size zero like them, but there upsurged this strange sense of confidence within me which made me feel more beautiful inside as every day I lived I have seen the sense of appreciation and look of admiration of people around me who know me and may be even physically find me endurable enough and thankfully I was not a part of that pointless inane beauty parade.
Back home I switched on the TV and the same contest was going on live and this was something I have watched consistently in my teenage days. For the first time, I rejected it. Somewhere I felt a woman cocooned out of a girl. I was 23 then. It lost that charm or attention of mine after being exposed with the real manoeuvres of how it really works and what damage it actually does to the young ones projecting skewed versions of beauty. And ever since I have just stopped watching it. It doesn’t amuse or thrill me at all, no more. Infact it dissuades or makes me feel rather dismayed. Should we then blame the media alone. A family is a powerful system too. I have seen girls of as early as ten or twelve following dieting or exhibiting eating disorders just to be part of the insane race or to feel validated by peer group and the surroundings.
Quite recently I attended a puberty ceremony(sort of sweet sixteen) of my neighbour’s daughter. She was dressed in traditional attire with golden brocade silks and rich ornate jewelleries. She wore makeup, may be for the first time. She is not that typical beauty which certain set standards proclaim but at plumper side. But there flickered a sweet smile on her face and a sense of delight lingered in her poise. At that moment I was so sure of what I wanted to tell her being a woman who has passed that impressionable and sensitive phase of girlhood. I just looked at her eyes as there were people around and noise and told her assuredly that ‘you look beautiful today as you are a gorgeous, gorgeous girl.’ I could feel the twinkle in hers eyes sparkled a bit more with sort of a sense of achievement. And I am sure that with years to pass by, when certain days will be harsher to her, words of appreciation and assurance like this treasured in her innermost self will give her the spunk to fight back and have belief in her own being.
Our body is this amazing gift; appreciating and respecting all the things it can do will help us to feel more positive about it and notions like this if instilled at right age into our sweet little ones will create a more self-reliant and secure generation.
And now comes the formidable question once again to be grappled with:
What is that makes a child not to be that conscious about his/her body image?
Perhaps if we think deeper, we will realise that childhood to certain stage lacks that state of self- consciousness as somewhere their physical state of being is in tandem or harmony with their mind, emotion and intellect. A child accepts his body the way it is, without making any fuss about what he is not or what he should be in terms of appearance. And there lies a subtle message for us in this as the day we accept our physicality the way it is like a child, instead of grouching on that extra inch gain or freaking on one fine line appearing in forehead, may be we will understand the true beauty God has bestowed on each of us; the beauty of being you.
The beauty which defines you and only you and no one else. It’s being accepting who you are rather than trying to chase a never ending unrealistic race of being who you are not. It’s having learned to appreciate how each part of your body connects, and how wonderful it is to be able to use it fully in harmony with your senses alive. It’s being comfortable in your own skin. It’s been feeling beautiful by being alive in itself.
It’s not about what mirror reflects,
but rather about how we reflect
on what we see is the key.
Just give your body some love and that’s what all it needs to feel the real beauty in you. Until then I wonder, How the world would have been with no mirrors around? Does it even matter as long as you feel you are beautiful inside and out!