oh mirror how i have fought with you. i was dysmorphic for over a decade. torturing sales ladies (and my family) everywhere i went. sobbing in dressing rooms, screaming in bathrooms. i spent most of my twenties on tile floors drained from not eating, or purging what i dared to consume. rising in the morning was always grueling, endlessly depressing to face myself, eyes bloodshot, lips chapped and split, cheeks swollen, heart broken. i was heartbroken but never defeated. i don’t know how i did it, day in and day out, there was something in me, a spark (more like the voice of my mother) that kept me going. get up emily, function, pull it together girl, i would cheerlead myself into facing the day. cold water, followed by ice packs, foundation and extra mascara. coverup. i always felt like i was putting on my disguise as i slid on the final layer of eyeliner with shaky hands. i put on my face. the face that seemed to deflect most concern. the face of a girl with just enough color you could assume she was okay. baggy hoodies and elastic workout pants were my uniform mostly and i took comfort (great comfort) in knowing that no one knew how bad, how very bad it was. these days my house has many mirrors. i love them, they open up the space and reflect light so there is always something sparkly near me. i love shiny, shimmery, twinkly things and i have grown to like even what i see. my reflection isn’t what it used to be. i sometimes wonder if i could actually love myself no matter what i see. i notice i am not so sure, but that seems like a sweet possibility, something to remember to try forever for. because mostly i am just grateful i made it, mostly i am just so very glad that my face doesn’t hurt from being forced upside down violently for hours, that my lips are soft from extra beeswax care, that my cheeks while round naturally, are not so painfully puffy, and my eyes are only bloodshot when i let myself cry full out. sometimes i catch a glimpse of myself and smile to see how very far i have come, and to notice i actually do like the woman staring back at me (mostly, i like her mostly). i am not into lying to myself, locking eyes in some reflective surface, saying all the things i wish were true (affirmations never much did anything for me). but i am a fan of making time to be with what is true, and taking the time to reinforce the good. it doesn’t come naturally to me to celebrate (especially myself). but i do feel like this is the first time in my life i can look into the mirror sincerely, without much criticism or the constant wishing for things to be different. and that feels like a mirror miracle to me. ❤️ emily joy rosen

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