Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

Our reflections are everywhere. We wake up and walk into bathrooms with mirrors, bedrooms and hallways with mirrors - we pass by blurred copies of our faces all over the place. It seems that our forms mimic their originals everywhere light bounces off a surface (windows, water, TV and computer screens), constantly reminding us of what we look like.

Really, what is the power of reflection? We all admit that the majority of the time we go out of our way to check ourselves out in front of a mirror, its because our vanity wants us to ensure that we "look okay"; but, are there other reasons why we desire those moments where we are allowed the opportunity to literally stare at ourselves? Gloria Anzaldua talks about the mirror as an "ambivalent symbol" - reproducing images as well as containing and absorbing them. What this argues is that reflections don't automatically correspond with vanity. As a matter of fact, the mirror has been culturally connected to rituals where ancient indigenous seers would stare at mirrors made from volcanic glass (obsidian) and once in a trance state, would spiritually connect with the gods in order to obtain messages.

Why does this matter?  See, mirrors&reflections do not serve as devices to see but also as methods in which to be seen. Where the surface of our reflection serves as an area of genuine display. So when we take a minute to stand in front of our reflections, we are seeing and being seen by ourselves - existing in a rare dual state of observation. We are both the "I" & "she". 

So the next time you look at your reflection consider how, at that instance, you possess an opportunity of awareness and knowledge that can only be achieved through visual reflective contemplation. Consider what conclusions about your "self" can be made without the influence of vanity in relation to phenotype. If you were a seer staring into your mirror, what mysteries would be solved or secrets about yourself revealed? Rather than point out all your pimples or try to figure out when your moms "slight" mustache is going to show up on your face, look at yourself - see what your eyes want to tell you. Is your skin saying something about all those experiences and emotions brewing underneath it? Make looking at the mirror a contemplative act rather than a vain one & most importantly, use those moments to get to know & fall in love with who you are.  

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