“Mirror, Mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”
As a child, I never found it odd that a magic mirror, mounted on a wall, could tell the ultimate truth to the Evil Queen about the most beautiful person in their land. My younger self almost felt bad for the enslaved mirror who had to tell the Queen that Snow White was more beautiful than her and face her wrath in return.
It was much later that I realized just how much power that Magic Mirror held over the Queen. The Queen being so powerful and well… a queen, was no exception to the need of external validation of her own beauty. The more I studied about mental health, the more I realized that we all carry a mirror with us and it reflects not ours but others’ opinions about us. Like the Queen, we all put this mirror on a pedestal and remain vulnerable to what it has to say.
I see the mirror shine every time a friend says they can’t do a certain task because they are not good enough. It shines brightly when I see women around me work twice as hard as their husbands/brothers at home and at work to prove something, or every time someone takes a long scrutinizing look at their reflection in an actual mirror, criticizing or scolding themselves for the way they look.
The shine of the mirror engulfs us and leaves its scars in the form of stress, self-doubt, performance pressure, anxiety, peer pressure etc. But the scars can heal. They heal by sharing, seeking help, self-care, self-belief, and self-celebration! The shine of the mirror can be conquered by a shimmer within, by asking ourselves what defines us…our physical traits, our demographic identities, our ailments or our thoughts, intentions, strengths, and capabilities! Let’s not get fooled by the mirror. We are majestic and powerful… We are a Queen!
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Iravati kamat is an Engineer and a Mental Health Social Worker who has earned a Post Graduation degree in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has organised campaigns and panel discussion on ‘Stigma Watch’. She has got excellent talent in story writing and direction.