I have never really thought of myself as a vain person. And that is a very telling sentence isn’t it? Just thinking of myself is pretty vain. And thinking that I am not vain is a kind of vanity in itself. So…apparently, pretty vain. OK fine. Here’s the thing. Read the beauty magazines and they tell you not to have a magnifying mirror lest you become obsessed with every little flaw. Of course, without a magnifying mirror these days…well, let’s just say without a magnifying mirror I am flawless…and mostly faceless because the eyes don’t focus so well in the morning and I am not going to attempt to line or pluck or contour anything without a little focus. But this morning, I lingered on the close-up a little too long and noticed a dry patch of skin on my cheek, just at the edge of my mouth. Nothing big, nothing awful. If you even noticed it, you would probably only think that I hadn’t wiped all the breakfast crumbs away. It is seriously nothing at all. Dry skin.
But then, in the car, on the way to work, I started thinking about it. In my mind’s eye it got bigger and bigger. My whole face was scaly and dry. Nothing would ever moisturize this away. I actually had to resist the urge to peer in the mirror at every stoplight. In the magnifying mirror, leaning in close, it had filled the frame. Maybe it was bigger than I thought. Maybe there was exfoliation needed. Maybe I was shedding my skin like a snake. Maybe I was more grotesque than I realized.
I snapped out of it. What’s a little dry skin? But the idea of the obsession stuck with me and I thought about all the times I picked or poked or prodded something tiny into something much bigger. How many times a little irritation had not become a pearl but rather something quite nasty. All because I looked too close.
If only I could direct my obsession. I’ve heard of people with OCD that clean all the time. Clearly that’s not me. But man can I obsess over something so tiny that it had to be magnified in the first place. Talk about vanity. Yeesh.
Can’t throw away the mirror. And you can bet that I am now so moisturized that I would side out of your grip. But that little patch of dry skin…I know it’s still there…waiting to get me.