How Do I Look?

I haven’t seen my face clearly since January 30, 2016 at about 8:45 am.  January 30 was the day I departed Jakarta for Banda Aceh; 8:45 am was the time I left my hotel room to catch the shuttle bus to the airport.

There are 3 mirrors in this house and not 1 of them is clear.  You know how old mirrors look foggy?  Yup, they’re all like that.  Looking at myself in them for more than 10 seconds at a time may give me a headache so I don’t bother; I really can’t see anything anyway.  They may just need a really good cleaning.  One of them is sort of clear but the lighting is bad where it’s hung so seeing anything properly still isn’t easy.

Truthfully, my mirror time before now was not that much anyway.  I very rarely do makeup, and when I do it’s a 3 minute job.  My hair-related mirror time used to be 5 to 10 minutes.  After I cut it all off in preparation to come here, that time decreased to about 30 seconds (poking at a curl here or there).

Then, of course, there’s pimple-related mirror time.  Every woman spends a little time each day checking her face for new pimples and I’m no different.  This usually happens while we’re brushing our teeth and while we’re getting ready.  My pimple-related mirror time reduced significantly in 2015 because I finally figured out that my pimples are triggered by sugar.  Once I put my sweet tooth under manners, incidences of new pimples dropped to practically zero and my pimple-related mirror time dropped to teeth brushing time only, which is usually 3 times daily.

Since I’ve been in Indonesia, my sweet tooth has gone a little haywire (chocolate and Oreos and Magnum ice cream bars…comfort food for settling in to a new life).  It was when I felt the first pimple coming up that I became aware of not having seen my face since January 30.

I’ve found that being mirror-independent takes some care.  Since I don’t have a dependable mirror to tell me when I have cotton on my face or a whitehead or funky hair, I now incorporate a little more care into my getting-ready routine.  I can’t depend on anyone around me to tell me when something is out of place (they may, they may not; I can’t depend on them to have my back like that) so I have to go by feel.  My hands are my mirror now.

I must say, this hasn’t been a big adjustment for me since my mirror time was minimal anyway.  I guess this is why I didn’t even realise how long it’s been since I’ve really seen my face.  But in thinking about how long it’s been, I wondered if I’m typical or atypical in having not realised sooner.  Could the average westerner cope with having no clear mirrors around?  In fact, not counting your morning getting ready routine, can you go 1 week without checking yourself out in a mirror or a big plane of glass as you walk down the street?

Can you go 1 day?


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