Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mirror Has Two Faces

My parents' house is filled with mirrors. There is not one room, including the kitchen, that doesn't have the potential to show you what you look like at any given time. I hypothesize that my self-conscious nature stemmed from this. Self-obsession.

As a young one I watched Beauty and the Beast in my bedroom, a.k.a the living room, and imitated all of Belle's expressions conveniantly in the very 90's mirrored closets that spanned across the entire length of the wall. I would sometimes take two of the doors and open them slightly so I could see a party of myself from every different angle. I learned my good side and my bad and how to become neurotic about the way I looked.

The day we got the mirrors two warehouse guys struggled to get them inside. They huffed and puffed and slid a piece of a box underneath one of them because it leaned over to one side. My mother was so happy.

"I like them because they make the room look twice as big!" she said.

I couldn't complain. At least now I had a closet. Living in the family room wasn't exactly optimal for a blossoming eleven year old girl, and whatever my brother was doing in his room sounded like a fun kind of private. My parents yelled through his locked door to cut it out whenever his girlfriend giggled for too long. A little privacy of my own would be nice.

So I grew accustomed to the mirrored lifestyle and checked myself out from all angles on the regular. I was promoted to my brother's room- old mattress and all- when he moved out to live with his giggling girlfriend in an apartment. The privacy I wanted would be mine, except when someone wanted to wash the clothes in the other room because naturally the only way to the washer and dryer was through my new room.

By the end of my high school days I'd had it with the mirrors.

"Ma, these are so ugly looking! No one has these anymore. They're cracked, and we'd have so much more room in here without them!" I said.

I'd already painted the entire kitchen a buttery yellow, took the liberty to pick out "Italian kitchen" inspired window treatments, and organized the pantry of items. Trying to find something in our house was like an all day event grab bag. You'd go looking for one thing and finding another. I hated the clutter and was outnumbered by two pack rat parents intent on keeping things their way.

"I like my mirrors, and you're father is going to order a replacement piece for the cracked one. They make the room look twice as big," she said.

She still clutched to creating the perception of a more spacious room, only the room we were talking about was littered with piles of magazines, papers, and random things like her bulky pedicure bath and plastic bags filled with God knows what.

"It makes the room look twice as messy!" I said. My counter attack held no weight. There was no convincing her to abandon her precious mirrors.

To this day, now in my twenties, those fucking mirrors are still situated in our living room. Some days I want to just rip them off the hinge and break the door, but she'd just get a replacement. Other times I think of somehow removing the box underneath the closet so the whole unit falls and makes a big hole in the wall and she's forced to get rid of them because they are a liability. And most often I get off of the couch, walk over to them and just check myself out.