Friday, January 31, 2014

The mirror, medusa and me

Perseus approached Medusa holding a mirror, only gazing at her reflection, thus avoiding the fate of being turned to stone. For some reason, I recall this myth differently: that Perseus held the mirror up to Medusa and, upon seeing her reflection, she herself turned to stone. (I have no idea where I got that one from.)

But when I think of mirrors, when I think of the power of the gaze, when I think of the question of looking forward, this is what springs to mind.

Turning the mirror so it faces away from me.

Maybe this way I can avoid being seduced, repulsed or just plain deceived by what I see.

Can mirrors really lie? They do hold one particular truth: that, regardless of what is (or is not) happening, time continues to move forward. Whether we are ploughing full steam ahead or taking respite from life's intensity, time will not wait for us.

There was a moment in 2013 when I was far from home and I stopped to actually look at myself in the mirror. Maybe it was because I was out of my ordinary life and routine (I rarely look in mirrors, other than when I am cleansing my face or combing my hair). Maybe the light in New York City is different from the light in Melbourne. Whatever it was, I was suddenly hit by the fact that I have aged.

Since having children, I have certainly felt my age. I don't have the energy or agility that I did when I was in my twenties, even early thirties. I can't get away with "over doing it" or even a "big night out" like I used to. I'm at the point where I can't say I often desire these things.

But I'd never really considered how this reality manifested itself to the outside world. Do I really have that many grey hairs? Is my face becoming more jowly? And since when did I have "bingo wings"?

As I reflect on this now, I can't say that I am really phased by much of this (even though it came as a bit of shock at the time!). What I find more compelling is that I have "the other half" of my life left. And in this other half, I am in the driver's seat. I am no longer a child. I have finished my formal education. I am free to choose my own direction.

Sure, there will be loss and pain and fear. But there will also be love and growth and delicious surprises. And a journey conducted on my own terms.

I've got nothing against Medusa. In many ways, I see that she and I have a lot in common. Neither of us wish to remain petrified.

I'm laying my mirror down.

I am responding here to the twentieth prompt from #reverb13. You are warmly invited to share your own response below, if you did not have the opportunity to do so in December. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. x

1 comment:

  1. I know the classic tale is that Medusa was beheaded, but I also remember hearing a version in which she was turned to stone by her reflection. Google is failing to help me find the source, but you're not alone in thinking that!