This week started out well.  I didn’t get shat on, I didn’t have to pack or unpack any boxes and my family and friends are in good health.  What more could a girl ask for?

It was a regular Tuesday morning when I got ready for the day, gave myself one happy lingering look in the (beautiful, wonderful) mirror in my bathroom which makes me look like I lost 10 kilos overnight and went about my business.

I wouldn’t say I am overly attached to this mirror, but – oh who am I kidding?  The mirror is the only thing between me and some sort of boot camp where you pay an astronomical sum of money for some loud and steroid-addled maniac to yell at you all day and make you do things you have previously only read about or watched – horrified – on television.  It is the fine thread that keeps me together.  The reason I don’t hate myself every time I reach into the snack cupboard (yes we have one, what is your point?).  This mirror is without a doubt, a blessing to my mental health and well-being.  And, I should add, I am not alone.  Everyone who comes over pauses and looks into this mirror and says:

“Wow, you were right, this is a really flattering mirror. I feel really great right now.”

Now, my logical mind knows that it is a false image.  After all, the mirror in my bedroom, not 5 feet away gives me a far more accurate reflection.  And I know that you can’t actually lose 10 kilos overnight, even if you have spent the whole night tossing and turning and dreaming of the boot camp and the pumped up maniac and the torture.  But just as I am leaving my room, I cast an eye toward the mirror and my lasting image of myself is just a little bit better than reality.  Big deal!  Who hasn’t played these games with themselves?  Loads of people put their watches five minutes forward to give themselves 5 extra minutes when they are rushing.  Who hasn’t told themselves that that one cigarette/crisp/hour of revision/glass of wine isn’t going to make that much of a difference.  No one that’s who.  Or whom.  Whatever.  My point is, we all do it.  So I didn’t feel at all bad or strange about it.  I accepted it about myself, enjoyed the temporary and illusory weight loss and got on with my day.

But this particular Tuesday (Curses!  Tuesdays!  Did we learn nothing from Constantinople?!) I went back into my room later in the day to get something and as I looked over to the mirror automatically, I gasped.  Because the mirror is now sporting a very large, very obvious crack.  It’s huge.  And although I can still look to one side of it and avoid being in the crack, it is now tainted.


do you see how thin I look?!

This imperfection is a reminder that the image beyond it was not real.  Also, I am now worried that with this breach in its integrity, the mirror might break away from the wall and shatter all over my bathroom causing much mess, dangerous spiky floors and general devastation.  Apart from the obvious damage and fall out from such an eventuality, I also dread having to explain to the person replacing the mirror that it isn’t just a regular mirror that I am looking for, but a magic mirror.  I can imagine the conversation.

“That’s no problem Madam, we can replace the mirror, I’ll just measure up and replace it for you.”

“Er, right, thanks but can we make the mirror so that it is curved or whatever (I can’t even fake the science-y bit) and makes me look a bit thinner?  The mirror it is replacing was particularly flattering.”

“That isn’t possible you deranged woman.  This isn’t the funfair.  Stop wasting my time.”

Perhaps if I dressed up as the Evil Queen from Snow White and started talking about magic mirrors, they would be more understanding.  Somehow wearing a long black cape with the collar up seems like the right way to approach a mirror expert.  Sometimes, the crazy approach yields more results because people think they shouldn’t mock the afflicted.  They smile understandingly with puzzled expressions on their faces in a the-doctor-said-to-nod-and-say-yes kind of way.  The end result?  You get what you want and some guy you don’t know and are probably never going to see again thinks you are a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.  So what, the mirror still makes me look thin.  Win.


If you do not find me a mirror as flattering as the last one, I will pay you in apples and keep your heart in this box…

Anyway, it also got me wondering how it cracked.  Did it just tire of being flattering and crack to stop being misused?  Is there water behind it causing it to come off the wall?  Did the neighbours hang a painting behind it and cause it to crack?  The only one of those questions I could answer without taking the mirror down was the last one.  I went downstairs to the porters, told them what had happened, ascertained which flat backed onto ours, and was debating going over to ask them.  As it happened these neighbours are people that we know, so I hesitated.  I shouldn’t have, I mean I wasn’t going to go in there, guns blazing talking about how they ruined my life and they were going to pay.  I was merely going to approach them in a friendly manner and say, did you guys hang a painting or something because I now have a large crack in the mirror and look at that, I guess the walls are thinner than we thought.  They don’t need to know that all of my body confidence (and I use the term loosely) and self-esteem comes from a completely false image projected back at me from that mirror.  In the end I decided not to say anything at all.  Firstly because I am not a confrontational person, secondly because I didn’t want to cause any tension with people I live in very close proximity to but mainly because I wasn’t actually going to ask them to do anything about it.  It felt like I was making a fuss just to make a point.  Or fuss.  Anyway, you get my meaning, I decided against it.

Of course I forgot that the porters in this building are like the little old women who sit out on their doorsteps on the island with nothing else to do but mind everybody else’s business.  The only reason I mentioned it to the porter was so that I could know who to ask.  But the porter, in his infinite wisdom, thought it a good idea to mention it to the people in the flat next door.  A minor enquiry was held, (all without my knowledge) during which they ascertained that the only person in around the time of the cracking of the mirror, was the nanny.  She was quick to deny any knowledge of even having been into that room at that time, and anyway, she didn’t hang a painting, or even brush a feather against that wall. Ever.

So an innocent question to the porter led to Mirrorgate.  No matter.  I was my usual friendly self, and smoothed things over nicely I think.  I did learn from this experience however.  Here’s what I have gleaned:

1) Self-esteem is a fragile thing which can crack suddenly and without provocation.

2) If there is a problem, solve it alone. Don’t contact the porters as they are incapable of keeping anything to themselves.

3) The spot I have to stand on in the bathroom to still get the reflection I want to see was difficult to find, and has now been marked with an X.

The good news is that I am not worried that the crack will now bring me seven years of bad luck.  How could I believe that when only two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be pooed on by a pigeon?  I will let these omens of good and evil fight it out between them.

So far the bird is winning. Let’s hope that holds.



Evil Queen art by TVfan97