The Shattered Mirror

Haley Bunnell, Featured Columnist

     Tears streamed down my face, as I watched a 7-year-old girl point out her most hated body features on Tyra’s talk show. Ten girls stood before Tyra on live TV and circled their noses, their eyes, their arms, calling themselves “fat” and “hideous.” They even wanted to get surgery to take off what they thought was lumps of fat, and to get Botox and a nose job. My jaw was wide open in awe and in complete shock. All I could see were angelic faces that shined and glimmered, and beautiful bodies. I couldn’t believe that they only saw monsters in the mirror.

     This show hit me so hard. I couldn’t help but just scream at the TV and yell, “You are so beautiful! You don’t need surgery. Just really look and you will see!” I wanted to just fly to the set and tell them myself. But the truth was no matter how times someone told them differently, they would still see ugliness. I know because I was the same way.

      The first time I remember truly hating what I looked like was when I was in third grade. It was just after my mom remarried, and my stepdad and his two kids joined us. We moved to a new neighborhood, and I was going to a new school. I was so shy and never said a word to anyone. I watched other kids play and only joined if they asked me. I looked at my classmates and saw beautiful faces, and fashionable clothes, but when I looked at my reflection, all I saw was huge disproportioned lips, shaggy hair, a fat stomach, and passed down rags as clothing. I truly hated my appearance.

     I remember having a few crying-fits that year. I sat in my room for hours and cried because I didn’t want to go out and be seen in public. My mom came upstairs to see what the matter was and to help, but she always left with a sour face. No matter how much she assured me that I was beautiful, I told her that she was lying. She is my mother. Of course she would say I was beautiful. That was her job, and they were only words.

     I could not stand mirrors. I hated my reflection, so the mirror was evil.  I never looked at my reflection, or let my mom take pictures of me. Taking showers was even harder. It was torture to see what really was hidden behind my baggy clothes. I didn’t want to touch or even look below and every picture that was taken I wanted deleted because I was a monster. It didn’t help that my brothers pointed and laughed at me. Sometimes my younger sister even called me fat. If my own family thought that about me, then that was only the truth.

     These thoughts are what constantly absorbed my mind through elementary school, middle school, and the first two years of high school. Ninth and tenth grade were what I called my learning years. They were the hardest years of my life but the most influential and important. I started wearing make-up and buying more fashionable clothes. In most ways, I still loathed myself, but as time went by I started to see that I was beautiful. I started putting mirrors up in my room and look at my reflection. At the beginning I could only look for a quick second, but then I started to train myself and really start to love what I saw. I began to say out loud ten things every morning and night that I loved about myself. I didn’t believe them to begin with, but the more I started to say it, the more I started to believe it. It took time and commitment to start liking who I was. It was a fight within.

     As a senior now, I would say that I am much happier and much more confident. Sometimes insecurities do come up, but I try to tune them out. For the most part, I can proudly say I love who I am.

      Those guests on Tyra’s show were just like me. It brought me back to how I used to feel, and I could relate. After watching that show, I grabbed a box of my childhood pictures and looked at them. More tears fell as I looked through them because what I saw was a beautiful smiling girl with not one flaw.