“Vanity. All is vanity.”
“Your scriptural citations are always correct, old friend. All is vanity. When I stop being vain, I’ll be dead. Vanity is its own resurrection. It gives one hope.”
Jory in Sideshow, by Sheri S. Tepper
Every mirror tells a different story. While they are all different, some mirrors are better than others, and I must emphasize at the outset one VERY crucial thing: make sure you have a good mirror- nay, a SUPERB mirror in your home. On this there is no compromise. A bad mirror is certain death as far as the ego is concerned, a veritable abyss of all the ugliest things we might think about ourselves at our lowest point, and who needs that? No-one, I say. The Mirror is a Witch’s tool, wonderful for glamouring and entrancing and enhancing, not for poisoning. Be careful!
I happen to be an expert on mirrors. I am fascinated by them ( or should that read, fascinated by myself – hah!) and always have been. When i was a little girl, my Nanna had a 50′s style enclave of 3 mirrors positioned so that when you looked down either way, you would see an infinite amount of pictures of your little selves receding into the distance. I’d spend hours playing and talking to my reflection, dressing up and inventing stories, bringing my dolls in so they, too, could enjoy the game. It dawns on me as i write this that psychologically this may have led to some sort of multiple personality disorder, or at least a fragmented sense of self which has made me feel somehow incomplete ever since…
Oh well, c’est la vie, there are worse things. The truth is, I love looking at my reflection. Even when i wake up first thing in the morning and go into the bathroom, hair crazy from sleep and puffy eyes – it just makes me laugh. And because I love a good make-over, I get a kick out of doing one side of my face and hair first and seeing the difference, before and after, woo-hoo! By the time you walk out the front door you feel ab fab darling, because you know how much better you look than when you first woke up, it’s like a little miracle.
Is that vanity? Hardly. However, the fact that i know where every mirror is on my walk to work through Block Arcade, kind of paints a pretty picture of a vain princess, doesn’t it. Hmmmm. I could take those City Tours myself, but they’d be the Magical Mirrored Melbourne tours of Vanity. I think it has a ring to it.
I love the way mirrors frame you and suddenly you are a work of art. My boyfriend and I have hardly any photos of us together, but so many times I have pulled him up in the street somewhere as we are passing a mirror in a shopfront or the reflection from a particularly shiny window, and posed together for just a moment in time. Imagine all the pictures of us if I could magically manifest them all…we’d have a big random album of neverwhere.
Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins, apparently, so I guess the warning is out there. Look what happened to poor Narcissus, drowned in the reflection of his own too-beautiful self. Whilst I don’t think there’s a HUGE danger of that happening to me, sometimes I wonder why i have to look in the mirror so much. I am mildly obsessed. I tried to go a day without it some time ago and didn’t get past 10 in the morning. True. I just felt..lost. Where am I? Who am I? What the hell do I look like? I’ve busted my rear vision mirror from tilting it one too many times – and i’m not joking.
But, I ask you, does this make me vain?
Maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe I’m so not-vain that I need constant reassurance that I look fit to go out in public. Maybe it’s just an O.C.D. thing or a long-time habit, an addiction, where it’s not even fun any more, i just do it to feel normal.
Or maybe I am just vain. I don’t care, I happen to really like the word Vanity. Vanity Fair, how good is that name for a magazine! It’s got a bit of the in-bred, powdered-wig and blood red lips feel to it, hasn’t it. At the end of the day, though, most people could do with a little more vanity rather than less. We all know there is nothing quite as sexy as confidence, as loving yourself and knowing you are worth the best (whatever the best might mean to you) and just generally having your mojo up and strutting. I love striking a pose wherever I may be, even on those dastardly trams. It’s like living art, darling, and we create it with every posture and sideways glance, every tilt of the head or fan of the hand.
Vanity is the opposite to carelessness and sloppiness. Vanity ensures attention to details and focus on the little things which really do count. It’s like dressing up for a lover and being adored. It is paying homage to Beauty in all it’s various forms – but being very specific about the fact that it is FORM not just function, which matters. Personally, I wish we were all just a little bit more vain, and looked in the mirror a bit more rather than looking at pictures of ‘perfect’ people and feeling like we don’t quite fit the picture. No, no, I tell you, this is not the way. You make your own picture, a whole gallery full, every day, in so many different ways. It’s an adventure of self-loving fully endorsed by Aphrodite… and how can that be wrong?