What happens when you stare into your eyes in the mirror

What happens when you stare into your eyes in the mirror…



Halloween Greeting Card


is a search term I found in my blog stats,

which caught my eye because it asked a question that was rather unusual,

which reminded me of a post that A Momma’s View wrote inspired by a post which Four Hats and Frugal wrote, both titled – 100 Questions No One Ever Asks.

(please check those blogs out, they have nourishing food for thought)

It’s a difficult task to think of a question which has never been asked, especially now that we have the internet and are exposed to the minds of millions of people from around the world.

Online we can unleash all those inner musings and curiosities which we may feel required to keep quiet about offline. We can be anonymous (or at least feel as though we are and ignore the fact that we may not be as anonymous as we think we are) and therefore less inhibited about asking questions.

Chances are if you can think of a question someone else has too.

Whether we ask those questions of others or not depends on whether we want to deal with the consequences of our curious mind, such as knowing TMI about them (which may ruin our image of them for us), or them reacting badly to being asked something they don’t think we should ask, which they don’t want to answer or want us to know about them because it may not suit the image they have of themselves or want us to have of them.


Medusa - Maximillian Pirner

Medusa by Maximillian Pirner


I have to admit that many of the questions listed in the 100 Questions No One Asks are ones I’ve heard people ask.

A couple are the sort of practical question which a business might ask of you in a product development or sales pitch survey…

Have you ever felt the need to pee or poo in the woods? Did you find it an inconvenient and uncomfortable experience fraught with complications? Well, we at WIPU aim to make your experience easier and more pleasurable. Once you’ve used our products you’ll never want to use an indoor toilet ever again! That’s a WIPU guarantee (total excretory satisfaction or your money back so you don’t bitch about us on the internet)! We care about your derriere!

Some are the sort of question you’ll find on personality tests – both the ones which claim to be serious and those ‘for entertainment purposes only’.

A few fall under the ‘small talk’ category – the sort of things people ask when they’ve run out of conversation and feel the need to fill the silence with sound or they are bored and want to spice up the interaction (and make an impression on you so that you won’t forget them).

I’m guilty of the latter, not for lasting impression reasons (I’ve learned the hard way that that’s not always a good thing) but for bored and overactive curiosity reasons, and judging by some of the reactions I’ve had to questions I’ve asked… I shouldn’t have asked that as they didn’t have a pre-prepared answer.

I tend to get into trouble most often when I ask questions pertinent to what someone else is saying.

People often complain about others not listening to them, not hearing them… but those same people don’t like it when you ask them questions which may shine a spotlight on their own tendency not to listen to what they’re saying, or that they don’t listen to others – they just want others to listen to them (but only listen to what they want you to hear, not to what they don’t want you to hear).


Five decrepit doctors - Francois Delpech

Five decrepit doctors crushed together in consultation by Francois Seraphin Delpech


Out of all the questions I’ve asked, which others have often made me feel are ones that No One (in their right mind) Asks, none are as unusual or uncommon as the ones I’ve been asked.

One of the most bizarre questions which I have been asked was – Do you think your mother wished that she could have a retroactive abortion? – to which I answered – Yes, I’m sure she’s wished that many times –ย  and then I added something along the lines of – I’ve wished that she could have one too. Which promptly shut the person who asked it up as they realised that a tactic like that wasn’t going to have the effect on me which they were going for.

Mind you, their target probably wasn’t me but my mother who was there during the interaction. In fact the interaction was supposed to be between that person and my mother, but as usual she used me as a buffer and I played the part of the buffer as I was trained to do. I was better at handling people dishing out shit during RL life-chess games than she was – because she always handed that sort of thing over to me.

People often think I’m pliable, soft, like putty until they try to mold me to their image, then… you won’t need to ask me a question such as – Am I stubborn? – especially if you want me to buy a ticket on your train to Shitville.


nope train to fuckthisshitville

Nope train to fuck this Shitville


Someone once told me that I was like one of those lollipops which has bubblegum inside of it (I used to love those lollipops!) but the comparison was not about all the sweet and chewy stuff on the outside, it was about the stick that the candy was on – apparently my stick was made of iron and broke your teeth if you bit into it thinking I was as soft on the inside as on the outside and were planning to eat me alive. The person who said this to me was actually giving me a compliment, and made the point of underlining that they recognised themselves in me. They too had a stick made of iron under the sweet and chewy exterior.

Basically it was – Don’t mistake my kindness, gentleness, politeness, good manners and such for please walk all over me and clean your shit-covered boots on me then blame your stinky mess on me.

Yes, I am going to tie this into the original question – What happens when you stare into your eyes in the mirror…

I’ve done a lot of that – staring at my eyes in the mirror.

According to my mother, in a story she loved to tell me about myself as a baby, who claimed to be a witness to the first time I saw myself in a mirror… when my eyes first laid eyes upon my eyes in a mirror, I gasped, held my breath and turned blue. My mother said she thought I’d never breathe again (not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing for her).


Un Regard Fugitif - Mary Shepard Greene Blumenschein

Un Regard Furtif by Mary Shepard Greene Bluemenschein


As a child, an only child…

(all those psychological hypotheses about what it is like to be an only child… fairly certain that most of them are written by those with siblings who fanatsise about being only children, or those with a chip on their shoulder about their perception of only children perhaps because they tried to use peer pressure to manipulate an only child and that’s a bit hit and miss – everyone does this therefore you must do it too… but I’m not everyone and don’t intend to do what everyone does until I’ve thought about whether I want to do it or not)

the only other child in my life (on a regular basis) was my reflection in the mirror.

That reflection was not an image of vanity because what I looked like wasn’t really an issue when I was a child (that sort of issue comes into play later on) – it was an issue for my parents, especially my mother. What I looked like always seemed to have some effect on her and she was very vain. She did not have a good relationship with her reflection in the mirror – the issues she had with who she saw when she looked in the mirror are similar to those which fall under the label of – Body Dysmorphia.

Her body dysmorphia spilled over onto me – somehow my body was her body and she saw mine as clearly as she saw her own. She put me on a diet when I was only a few months old because in her eyes I was a ‘fat’ baby (this was someone else’s fault) and that just wouldn’t do. She fixed the problem and bragged about it for years afterwards which is how I know about it.


Vanity Fair June 1914

Vanity Fair – June 1914


The mirror for me was a haven. My reflection was a friend in a small world full of what often felt like foes (adults telling child me who I was, what I looked like, and how it was always wrong somehow, stuff like that which can make you never want to or never be able to look at yourself… and see what is there).

Looking into my own eyes – I saw myself and myself saw me (being seen was novel, at least being seen as in actually seen as is… not seen through some filter which someone else had constructed and needed you to live up to or not live up to depending on what they needed to get for themselves out of you and what they were seeing in you… and didn’t expect me to live up to some ego ideal, which was refreshing).

I used to confide my fears and wishes to that me in the mirror. I couldn’t do that with anyone else… not if I didn’t want it to bite me in the ass.

She listened, she heard, she didn’t judge… instead she helped me to perceive, understand, work things out. She laughed with me at my mistakes and embarrassing experiences (she watched me decide that shaving my eyebrows was a good idea… and then agreed with me when we both found out it was a bad idea), and soothed me too – it’s not that bad, yes it is but hey… let’s just keep going… everything in our body moves, grows, keeps going… so should we.

That relationship with my reflection in the mirror… made a big difference to my overall sense of self.

Even at my worst… I had those eyes which somehow saw a glimmer of something good in the bad.

During my teenage years, my late teens and early twenties, during that time when it is easy to lose yourself… my friend in the mirror watched me lose myself but kept an eye on me, let me know that she saw what was going on. She was there for me if I needed her even when I rejected her because… because of things like society (and my parents, and my parents’ cronies) telling me I was ugly and ugly people get rejected. I couldn’t look in the mirror without seeing the ugliness I was told I possessed… so I couldn’t find my friend in the mirror… but she was there if I could just get past all the barriers that were being erected for me (some by me, some by others).

I recall one night, in the middle of a very dark time when I avoided my own reflection, or at least avoiding making eye contact with my reflection… after a shower I made eye contact, but the mirror was all fugged up and all I could see was my eyes which looked as large as those which we humans have decided that aliens have.

My whole head looked like that of a ‘grey alien’ because I was subsisting on a diet of raw apples and nuts. During this diet I often had moments of feeling as though I was floating while walking… I was lighter than a feather but heavy on the inside.


grey alien


Looking into my eyes that night, I knew I wasn’t being true to myself. I knew I was lost, had lost myself to others… and others weren’t really appreciating the sacrifice because… they never do, it’s never enough for them, if you’re doing it they tend to tell themselves that it’s because you want to.

That moment was… etched into my psyche… and always will be.

My lost self was screaming out to be found… it would take many years to find me… but knowing I needed to find what had been lost helped… it hindered too as once you’ve lost yourself to others they’re not keen on you being anything other than lost to them.

When I hear people degrade others for taking selfies, for looking at themselves in the mirror, for being vain due to looking at themselves in any way, shape or form… I want to ask those people who feel righteous in their judgment of others – when was the last time you really looked at yourself and did it without judging yourself for doing it? What’s the real reason you have a problem with others doing it, taking a selfie, staring at themselves in the mirror… why is what they’re doing such a problem for you? Why is it your business and why do you need to make your business their business so much so that you shame them for taking selfies and looking in the mirror?

I know it’s more complicated than that… it always is.



Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche


What happens when you stare into your eyes in the mirror…

I have no idea what happens when you do it, but…

What happens when I do it?

I make contact with myself… my self.

I say ‘Hi, you… me’ and ‘me’ says ‘Hi’ back.

Sometimes it adds – Hi, how are you doing? What’s going on with you?

Sometimes I ask that of it, of me

I come home to myself.

Home – that place where there’s someone in this world who knows everything about me without my needing to tell them (but I can if I want to and know I will be listened to and heard – and also expected to listen and hear what I’m saying), who doesn’t need to ask questions (including ones which no one asks) because they can see the answers before the questions. They know what every line, scar, blemish, expression, and subtle nuance means.

They don’t need to ask – Do you have freckles? – they can see whether I do or not.

They figure out the answers before the question needs to be asked.


wear your goggles

Wear your goggles


Also… looking into my own eyes makes me take stock of how my eyes may be experienced by others. I’ve been told, sometimes by random strangers, that I have kind eyes. But I’ve also been told, mainly by the rather judgmental people in my life, that my eyes are judging them – what they see in my eyes informs me more about what their eyes see when they look at others and especially themselves. Those who are hard on others tend to be very hard on themselves… and unfortunately their hardness on others tends to inspire others to be hard on them which perpetuates the hardness rather than softens it.

Those who are most reluctant to meet their own gaze in the mirror, who judge others for doing it… they’re afraid of what they’ll see and of what they won’t see… and what the eyes in the mirror will see and won’t see.

Some people are always chasing what is not there and fear what is there…

I’ve been there, done that… seeing my eyes in the mirror reminds me that I’ve been there and done that, but there are other ways of being there and doing that, of being and doing, of seeing and being seen.

Sometimes you need to close your eyes to see… sometimes you need to keep them open, and not just physically…



Someone, a girl friend shortly after we met and felt connected, said the song above reminded them of my eyes…

it seemed a bit much to me…

and later proved to be too much for them too.

What they saw in my eyes was what they were seeking and needed to find in their own eyes, not in mine or anyone else’s…

My eyes remind me that I am not supposed to be who others need me to be for them,

that what they see in my eyes may not be what is there…

and I need to know what is there so I don’t try to become what is not there.


What happens when you stare into your eyes in the mirror…?