Just recently, one of the hangers on our bathroom mirror broke off. Hoping to buy the same hangers so that I could replace just the one broken hanger and not all six of them, I decided to take a picture of it rather than rely on memory. I got my phone and held it up to one of the hangers that was still intact. But just as I held the phone up it turned off. I double-clicked on it again to open the camera and it turned off again. I began to get frustrated. I double-clicked a third time, only to see myself. I quickly swished my hand over the screen to remove it from selfie mode, but to no avail. Swishing my hand across the screen again, I scolded the darn phone and threatened to get a new one. Then I began to laugh. There was nothing wrong with my phone. Repeatedly it showed me a selfie and then my reflection in the mirror just like I had actually asked of it.
Do you remember the old riddle, “You can touch me, but I can’t touch you back. You can see me, but I only reflect you and can never reject you. Who am I?” The answer is a mirror. Well, now we not only have mirrors we also have our phones with cameras to show us what we look like and to capture each moment.
Be it through words or pictures, I think we are all storytellers. And, if a picture is worth a thousand words, does that mean everyone is creating their memoir? And why would anyone spend painstaking hours every day plunking out words on a keyboard?
Maybe it’s because sometimes those reflections from a mirror or selfie snapshot can be deceptive and even detrimental. Now, I’ve never fallen off a cliff trying to get a great selfie, but I have been deceived by a mirror or selfie more than once.
Instead of relying on mirrors or pictures I’ve come to rely on close friends to help me see who I am. They are friends that accept all of my angles and imperfections, not just the good parts. They are willing to collect all the “snapshots” of me and with the gentlest of words help me see what I cannot. I do the same for them. We are figuring out how to navigate our unpredictable lives together. We know each other’s history and have perspective; You don’t get that from a phone or picture. Those photos are vignettes, not memoirs that give you perspective. The perspective comes through the plunking on a keyboard of each carefully crafted word and sentence.
I’m no longer upset with my phone (read between the lines, my aptitude with technology). However, I’m ready to ditch it, along with all the zoom meetings, social media apps, and my mirror. I’m ready for some real facetime and hugs! I’d love to hear your comments and stories about your reflections. Also, if you have enjoyed and found value here, please follow me and share it with others. www.leannembenson.com