The troll mirror 

Remember the magic mirror at work?  The one that makes this aging wrinkling expanding lady feel a little bit pretty?  Well, I found its evil cousin this week.

Prior to the beginning of my two-day meeting I used the public restroom at the Residence Inn hosting us.  After washing my hands I went to check that my dress wasn’t tucked into my tights.  There before me was a fat squat version of myself.  I gasped and checked to see if I had an evil ugly twin sister standing behind me, but no, this reflected troll was me!  I raced out in horror, but did check to see if my troll underware was showing before I fled.

It was a scarring experience, but I am brave so immediately told a friend, “I am either a hideous troll person or the mirror in that bathroom is horrible.”  She is brave too and went to investigate.  Thankfully she also reflected a squat version of herself.  (Well, I was thankful anyway.  I don’t think she was.)

For two days I warned all the women at the meeting with whom I had even a passing relationship.  Why?  Because this was one of those dress-up meetings.  A meeting where you try on your outfits at home before you pack, and bring coordinated accessories.  A meeting where you check a bag because you want your full sized products.  It wasn’t a beauty pageant or a meeting about how we looked, but it was a business meeting with posturing and politics and one of our female weapons is looking good. Nothing can diminish that power like the fear that our carefully prepared shell is ugly.  No one else deserved the self-esteem hit I took.

Something magical happened with the sharing.  The mirror became a joke, “the troll mirror.”  A joke shared only between the women of the group.  The men heard about the horror, but claimed they had no portal to the bizarro world in their bathroom.  We would laugh with each other in the restroom as our features gently expanded, stretched and shrunk if we moved in front of the mirror.  We all celebrated that we didn’t really look like that.

In the sharing of our secret worries about how we look and our insecurities we grew closer. The inside joke will make us evaluate mirrors at future meetings.  The experience made me bolder at the meeting: more willing to ask hard questions and risk embarrassment.  The troll mirror had a different kind of magic then my office mirror.

In the end, it made me really brave.  Brave enough to take a troll picture of myself and post it on my blog.  In my hipster troll outfit of jeans and my winter coat the effect is diminished, but not entirely.  I am not this squat.

Oh, and the sunglasses I have on?  Those are my rose colored glasses.  So while I might look hideous, the colors were bright and beautiful to my eyes.  Tomorrow I’ve got to get a picture of myself in the work magic mirror in the magic sunglasses to heal my self image.