Confession: I’m a What Not To Wear addict.
Put me on a couch, turn on TLC and if Stacy London and Clinton Kelly appear on my screen there is a good chance you won’t have to move me again for at least the next hour. It’s not that it’s a show about shopping, it’s not that it makes me think about what I’d do with a $5,000 Visa card. What I love about What Not To Wear is the 360 mirror.
For those of you unfamiliar with the 360, it is the most dreadful moment for each candidate brought on the show. Whether it is the vintage overkill wiry blonde or the muffin top enthusiast with the Nikka Costa-esque hair, the 360, the cage of mirrors is not a place very many people like to be.
One of the most common phrases people say when they get into the mirror is, “Whoa, that’s a whole lot of me.” It’s their initial reaction to seeing themselves infinitely reflected wearing something that doesn’t do them justice. And the truth is at the end of the episode, we realize there was nothing wrong with a whole lot of them, most times it was they used to cover it that was the problem.
Maybe it’s why I love makeover shows in general- because I truly believe that people who love themselves can tolerate seeing “a whole lot of me.” While I’m not always the best when it comes to self-love, I know that when I am at my best and embracing who I am- I am ok to see every inch of me without the cover on.
One of my mother’s favorite poets, Derek Walcott wrote a poem titled “Love After Love” that sits in our her bathroom wall. In it, the St. Lucian poet writes:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Some days, I look at myself and other women and think how much we need to peel our own image from the mirror and love ourselves with awareness. We are all guilty of falling into the trap of saying that shedding the cover would make us less comfortable, when the truth is it would bring us into so much more joy.
Today, keep your own gaze and fall for your own reflection. Choose to love yourself with awareness and be unbridled and unashamed.