Quilting the Empty Body
Food and Dieting
She was very beautiful, but so proud and haughty that she could not bear to be
surpassed in beauty by anyone. She possessed a wonderful mirror which could
answer her when she stood before it and said –
“Mirror, mirror upon the wall, Who is the fairest of all?”
The mirror answered –
“Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all,”
and the Queen was contented, because she knew the mirror could speak nothing but
Grimm and Grimm 1898: 9
How many times do we look in a mirror? Every day, when we get up, we often catch ourselves staring at the sleepy-eyed face that we recognize as our own, with a mix of curiosity, boredom, and matter-of-factness that confirms to us the sometimes dubious fact that we do exist. We look awry at our reflection in the hallway mirror while rushing to work. We peek at ourselves as we walk past a shop window. We may even sneak a glance at ourselves while sipping a drink in our favorite bar, often wondering how we came to have such a dismayed demeanor.
Our reflection is a constant – though not always welcome – presence throughout our lives. We all remember the endless time spent in front of mirrors while growing up, during those awkward teen years, trying to figure out the right look to be hip, and at a total loss as to why our parents did not make us cool enough.
Mirrors often continue to haunt us as adults. After all, who is totally comfortable, at all times, with his or her reflection? Too frequenUy, it does not exactly match what the world around us promotes as acceptable or preferable. It is not only a question of clothes, hairstyles, or accessories. Our body itself frequenUy bothers us, to the point where we end up perceiving it as some external burden imposed on our real self, that inner self that does not succeed in shining through the obtrusive flesh.