I can’t recall the first time I’ve ever looked into a mirror. My parents are not around anymore to tell me when that was; they have both gone to the other side (of that mirror?). If I go by what the parents of my granddaughter are offering her to play with I suspect that I was a baby. Whatever the age, by the time I was a teenager I was glued to mirrors everywhere in the house I lived in during my formative years, experimenting with lots of make up and different hairstyles.

15/16 years young
15 years old

Also, I liked to stare into my own blue eyes, trying to see what my future Boyfriend/Lover/Spouse would see. I was a Romantic Teenager and am still romantic albeit Post Menopausal and still staring into my own eyes; mainly to say a positive affirmation to myself, looking into the mirrors of my soul.

One of my childhood’s mirrors stands today in my healing studio on the same chest of drawers my parents had it on. It is old and well-used. As a young girl I always wondered who were in ages past, the other women who had contemplated their reflections. They must have been ancestors, this mirror came from my maternal grandfathers’ family.

When I look into that mirror now, I don’t think about those long ago women anymore; I think about myself and how I have looked expectantly in that mirror, just before boyfriends would ring the doorbell for a date, on my first wedding day checking my hair before the ceremony and later on, when visiting my parents seeing my growing belly of three pregnancies. I remember my furious and indignant looks when I wouldn’t get my way and was pressed into listening to and acting on my parents’ advice. I remember one sunny day I found myself very beautiful – I was 12 or 13 years old and used very heavy make-up for the occasion to take a photo of myself via the mirror. I made sure I was alone; I was a bit embarrassed that I was so indulgent towards myself. The light was so beautiful in our old house, I looked great and I flashed happily into the mirror with my camera. Finally, when the film came back from the developer after 10 days there were only big light blobs to be seen and not my gorgeous visage, posing in front of the mirror. I was so disappointed, but also a bit relieved because now I did not have to let my parents and siblings know that I had taken pictures of myself with too much make up on.

Today, I see an older woman, wrinkles and liver spots galore, grey hair underneath the ash blond hair dye and of course different teeth. Lately I feel my face sliding of the frame my skull provides. Now and then, it feels it is caving in, disintegrating. Those are the days that I feel an itsy weenie tiny bit depressed but am very easily perked up when I see that I still use the same belt in my jeans I used when I was 16. That is 40 years ago, where things were made with quality, young people. I also notice that sparingly used make-up can do a lot for vanishing faces – less is more.

Over the years I came to know the different uses of the mirror; working with mirrors as space enhancing decorative items illusionary expanding my natural habitat. But more importantly, I like to work with mirrors to expand my inner environment, my (un-) conscious, by mirroring my outer world to my inner, creating an opportunity to be brutally honest with myself, and you know what, that is the moment when judgment disappears. Illusions vanish and naked reality comes storming through my reflection into the here and now feeling passionately alive, kicking, wrinkly and actually, loving it.

– Karin Schuter Lonegren