Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Musings on Mirrors and Moods

Over the course of a typical day I see myself a lot of different ways, and I'm not even being introspective here. I'm being literal. I'm talking mirrors. Those suckers are everywhere.

I even have a favorite mirror. (Yeah, I do realize that's weird. Bear with me. It's Monday.)

Knowing me as you do by now, you might naturally assume my fave is a fun house mirror. Those do make me laugh, and I love to laugh. Here is a simulation of what I might look like in a fun house mirror:

But, no, it's not my favorite.

It's not a magnifying mirror, either--those send me running the other way, screaming in horror. Here is a simulation of what I quite possibly really do look like in a magnifying mirror, though I can't be sure, since magnifying mirrors scare me so much I have to shut my eyes:

It's not even the huge mirror in the master bathroom, the one that's directly opposite the bathtub, so I can't help but see myself naked as I emerge after a shower. (Which isn't as horrible as it might be, because that one fogs up easily, plus I'm terribly nearsighted, so everything is fuzzy until I put my glasses on or my contacts in, anyway.)

Here is a simulation of what I look like in my fogged up bathroom mirror:

My favorite mirror is the one in my downstairs powder room. See, that mirror is kind. Thoughtful. Friendly, even. Maybe it's just a trick of the light, but I swear it erases the lines around my eyes, turns my hair totally blond again, makes my lips and cheeks rosier and my teeth whiter. I'm pretty sure, if I adjusted the angle of it downward, it would also shave five pounds off my ass.

Here is a simulation of me in my favorite mirror (notice how it captures my bad-girl sauciness even as it displays my *cough* innate inner sweetness and light):

*sighs* I love that mirror.

But does it show the real me? Any more than the hideous, horrible, very bad magnifying mirror does? Nope. It shows a version of me I happen to like, but it's no more "real" than any other mirror.

Something similar happens when I reread stuff I've written, only it's my mood that alters what is reflected back to me. The same way different mirrors distort my image of the physical me, my mood on any given day can warp the words on the screen.

Mood #1: Everything is Rainbows and Puppies

This is pure euphoria, akin to how you feel when the dentist gives you a whiff of laughing gas. I read, and am in awe of my own brilliance. I know better than to trust this perception, but I try to enjoy it when it happens, since it's rare.

Mood #2:
The Black Acid-Rain Cloud of Doom

Other days I'm astounded by the enormity of the dreck I have produced, and wonder how I could have ever thought I had an aptitude for the written word. Huh. More like craptitude. I suck, you suck, the whole world sucks. Let's all have a great big suckfest, and suck eggs together. No, wait. That idea sucks. (Fortunately, this one is rare, too. Sadly, not as rare as the elusive Rainbows and Puppies, but still.)

Mood #3: Life Ain't Half Bad probably the most reliable. This is the one where I can read, noticing things that could use some improvement, but still remain, for the most part, satisfied with what I've produced.

What's interesting, when I really cogitate on the matter, is that all of these moods are useful to my writing. Lord knows I need those rainbows and puppies to keep me afloat sometimes. The black acid-rain cloud of doom serves to keep my writing from getting insipid--you really have to experience all kinds of awful moods and emotions to write them with any authenticity. I mean, too much sugar gives you the written equivalent of cavities and diabetes, and who wants that?

As for my normal "life ain't half bad" mood? Well, that one just keeps me (and the people I live with) sane. ;)

Now, pardon me while go rearrange the words in my WIP. But first I think I may gaze at the powder room mirror for for a while...


Jessica Lemmon said...

Closeup mirrors are the WORST! But necessary for my eyebrow grooming. And, I do tend to hover around the "Life Ain't Bad" mood quite often myself. :)

Trisha Leigh said...

LIfe Ain't Bad isn't a bad place to spend the majority of your time. I enjoy it there as well.

How about the lighting and mirrors in clothing store dressing rooms?!? I look so hot in there and the clothes flatter every little inch.

Now, if only other people's eyes could master the same trick!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Omigosh this is the MOST brilliant post I've read all week. Where's your tweet button so I can easily RT it? Now I'll have to copy and paste. Oh well, it's worth it. I can't believe how this spoke to me today.

Linda G. said...

Jessica -- Fortunately, I have very blond eyebrows, and when I have to pluck (ouchie!), putting my nose an inch away from a regular mirror works okay.

Trisha -- I know! Nordstrom is the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) offender. I swear I look two sizes smaller in their dressing rooms. Hmmm. Maybe we should invent "Nordstrom Dressing Room Glasses," and pass them out to the viewing public: "Here, you must put these on before you look at me."

KarenG -- LOL! YOU must be in a Rainbows and Puppies mood. ;) And, just for you, I added a tweet button. (Can't believe I figured out how to do that--I'm such a tech dummy. Thank goodness for internet search engines.)

Steph Schmidt said...

Will the WIP be allowed to gaze into the mirror as well?

I need to kidnap the guy that sets up the lighting in those dressing rooms. It's never the mirrors (they're awesome at home) but the lighting. I get ready, go outside, realize too little too late it was a bad bad idea to wear X.


Love the perspective!

I once worked in a photo studio that had a mirror in the lobby that made everyone look just a little bit thinner. I'm not sure how it worked, exactly, but people loved that @#$% mirror and everyone was always excited to have their pictures taken!


Candyland said...

Ha I love this. My mom carries around an old, clouded shard of a mirror in her purse bc it makes her look 10 years younger..."

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Haha, I have the world's crappiest full-length mirror, to the point where people recoil when they check themselves out in it because it adds at least 15 pounds, probably closer to 20, and it's all in the problem waist/hips/thighs area (because it's a cheap mirror and is therefore rather convex at that terribly inconvenient spot). And since it's in my living room, I end up reassuring everyone that nope, the mirror lies, and they don't actually look like that at all.

How do I live with it? Easy. I know the mirror is lying whenever I look terrible and assume that I actually just look awesome and svelte to the naked eye. Does this mean I mentally subtract 25 pounds from my hips sometimes? Probably. Do I care? Not really. I'm way more likely to be freaked out by a "normal" mirror that makes me look bigger, since I don't feel like I'm allowed to mentally subtract whatever I want at that point. And that's no fun at all. :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Hey, my downstairs powder room mirror is pretty nice, too!

Dressing room mirrors are the worst ones in the world. I think they are all designed to make you cry.

And as for my WIP, when I look at it with the Black Acid Rain Cloud of Doom eyes, I know I'm tired and it's time to watch TV or go to bed.

demery said...

Stuck in #2 at the moment... glad to know I'm not the only one who visits that dark place.


Jeffe Kennedy said...

I'm a believer in always looking in the good and happy mirrors. Evil, unflattering mirrors are banished to the forest with Snow White. Yes, I know what that makes ME in this story...

Linda G. said...

SM -- Hey, that's a great idea! If I learn to "mirror read," I can reread IN the powder room mirror. Bet it'll look fantastic to me then! ;)

Tawna -- Ha! But did the thinness carry over to the pics? That's the important thing. ;)

Candyland -- Hey, sounds good to me. Tell her she could probably sell that sucker for a mint on eBay. ;)

Elizabeth -- LOL! Remind me never to look in your mirror. ;)

Dianne -- True about when to stop looking at the WIP. It pays to know when you've reached the point of diminishing return. :)

demery -- Aw, I'm sorry. Hope you get to spend a little quality time in #1 soon. :)

Jeffe -- LOL! I prefer the good and happy mirrors, too. Though the other ones do have their uses. Research, for one. ;)

courtney said...

This entry is so much win, that is about all I can think of to say. Seriously. Loved it! Very apt, Linda!

Samantha VĂ©rant said...

There is one mirror to stay away from: the dressing room mirror in a department store during swimsuit season. The pain! The horror!

Unknown said...

The black rain cloud of doom is when I get my best ideas...maybe that's why I write mostly sad, depressing tales, huh? *sigh*

PS...I'd enjoy the fun house mirror the most ;)

Talei said...

I like the downstairs mirror here too, its the one you pass just before leaving the house...and its the same one I creep pass on my way in.

Unknown said...

Mirrors-- ugh! I tried to pluck a stray eyebrow hair yesterday that turned out to be a wrinkle! BTW-- you are high, you have super cute hair. ;)

Linda G. said...

Courtney -- Thanks, bb! :)

Samantha -- Ack. Swimsuit season. I avoid mirrors at all costs during swimsuit season.

Karla -- Different strokes for different folks, huh? Takes all kinds of stories to make the reading world go round. :)

Talei -- Sounds like a good one. ;)

Pseudosu -- OUCH! Also, LOL! No, I'm not high. Just normal. I mean, nobody likes their own hair, right?

Kelly Breakey said...

Great post, I love the days where the words fly from my fingers and I am truly inspired by my muse and the creative genius flowing freely. As I sit writing and laughing and laughing and writing I don't allow myself to dwell on the fact that this euphoria will only last as long as the happy pills, or whatever I have done to induce it. Just kidding. Not really. No, just kidding. But I do love days like that!

Linda G. said...

Kelly -- Gotta enjoy the writing euphoria when it hits! :)