by Marcia J. Wick
Stumbling over my guide dog, I make my way to the bathroom getting ready to meet a new day. But I cannot see how I will greet the day, even though I am standing in front of the mirror. The reflection of my face in the mirror is disappearing due to my progressive vision loss.
Whether I start my day feeling like death warmed over, or I wake refreshed and ready to put my best face forward, it is the same reflection I see. Soft and fuzzy at the edges. Clouds and vapor off which the light bounces and flickers. Pixilated glimpses at a part of my nose and expressionless orbits for eyes. No use worrying about plucking my eyebrows or checking for blemishes.
Although my days are dimming, there is a silver lining. Not seeing how I look in the mirror presents an unexpected opportunity for me to use my mind’s eye. I tell myself, “You look great!” My fading image forces me to let go of judgments I might heap upon myself if I could actually make out my finer features.
My progressive vision loss helps to keep my steady aging process at bay, at least as far as I can see! Staring ahead while brushing my teeth, I do not discern the crow’s feet seeking permanent residency at the outside corners of my mouth and eyes, nor can I perceive the pervasive grey masking my former dark brown hair color. If I squint, I can almost imagine myself as a blond bombshell.
When the face looking back at you from the mirror disappears, you have the chance to imagine yourself in a new way. If you frown at the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning, you might lock in a picture of how you will look to others during the course of your day.
There is an advantage to not judging yourself by how you appear in a mirror day after day. If you have some vision, consider taping a picture of someone else’s face at just the right size and height to block out your own image. Look at you! You look as great as Wonder Woman Linda Carter or Clark Kent as Superman! Your eyes are bright and your hair and brows are trim. Your teeth could not look more brilliant, and your neck is tucked firmly out of sight under your chin.
You look great! You feel great! You smile! When you lose sight of your own face in the mirror, you can imagine Sophia Loren or someone rich, powerful and influential. I promise you will feel happier and more confident about facing the day when you fancy a new face in the mirror.
Marcia Wick is enjoying new adventures with her first guide dog, Viviane, a 60-pound yellow lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Marcia is legally blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. Recently retired, her career included newspaper reporting, public relations, communications and publishing. With two daughters now grown and a grandson, Marcia is returning to her writing roots in partnership with her sister, Jennifer Walford, as The Write Sisters. She also advocates for public transit, the Visually Impaired and Blind Skiers , and currently serves on the GDB Alumni Association Board of Directors. Marcia lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and Viviane.