Meet the Mirror ~ Tip the Time-line

Meet the mirror, tip the time-line

I don’t like mirrors; they show me a stranger who I don’t like or sometimes don’t even recognise. I don’t look the way I think I do, inside, and often the  fact that there is no correspondence between my inner image and what I see in the mirror means I seldom linger at a mirror. I wash my face, put on make up, do my hair and my teeth and hardly look,  because it leaves me so despondent. I’ve never been pretty, but like Maude Gonne (who was a famed beauty in her time and inspired poet WB Yeats to write some very great poetry) I do have my “moments of glad grace” that might pass for beauty for someone like me.

Today I have felt a touch on my left hand a number of times, like a feather brushing my skin, but there is nothing there. At first I thought a hair was tickling me or a fly, but there was nothing. I got a dim impression of someone trying to attract my attention.

Then this evening, I passed the mirror in the bathroom and I saw something else looking back at me, rather than the usual rather tired blonde with a face like an earnest horse that is desperate to show everyone how clever it actually is and I stopped dead for a moment.

Gazing back at me, somehow, was the little girl I used to be and the old woman I will become. They were not phantoms but they were there in my own familiar half-hated workaday face, as definite as my own bones. I saw in my wiry hair the softness of childhood and the spider-silk of old age, all in the same silver gilt my hair is now, poised in its turning to grey. In my eyes, which are the colour of the north sea in winter, changeable and deep, I saw the pure blue innocence of the child I once was and the deep grey green wisdom of an old woman I may yet become.

I paused, struck by something odder yet that the appearance of these two. It was that as I saw them, I could see they were beautiful and yet, seeing my own face, I could not see it in me. And yet, they are me. How can this be, that I cannot see my beauty in this time but in other times, I can?

I’m probably halfway through my life, and yet, what have I done, and what have I yet to do? Both these questions are what my other selves might ask of me and they did not. If anything they just showed me their loveliness that I am unable to accept in myself.

I am not sure what this encounter means but I’d like to share with you a song by someone who expresses it better than I can, this sense of time tipping and the need to mark the passing of time. Carolyn Hillyer writes very beautiful music that sadly I cannot find on
You-Tube but if you visit
you can find samples to listen to and perhaps to buy.  

Meet the mirror, melt and merge there

Tilt the mirror, tip the time-line

Mind the mirror, mind you mark time

Mid-line, it’s your turn to turn time

(Meet the Mirror, from Old Silverhead, songs and initiations of Woman-hood
by Carolyn Hillyer)

I’m feeling very unsettled by this experience and the sense that I am
perhaps running out of time. It seems only a few years ago that I was that child with bright blue eyes, that have long since turned to that sea colour; can it be that it is an even shorter time before I become that old woman?

9 thoughts on “Meet the Mirror ~ Tip the Time-line

  1. When I reached your words, ‘the sense that I am perhaps running out of time’, somehow this surprised and jarred me, though on reflection it all makes sense. I was feeling the specialness and the beauty of time coexisting in your glimpse of yourself past and future in the present. A deeper sense of time than chronos, by which we measure our daily achievement, as the clock ticks the minutes by. Maybe those questions, yet what have I done? and what have I yet to do? are important questions to satisfy the persona but also relentless meaningless questions that don’t satisfy the deeper self. It feels like you had a glimpse of your deeper Self, a very special moment. xx


  2. Reading this reminds me of two of my own favourite mirror musings, which my kids consider evidence of my insanity. The first is that while obviously while I am older and look older now, I never noticed noticed myself growing old in the mirror as it was happening. I always just look like ‘me’, it’s only when I look at photos I see I have changed. The other is that it floored me the day after I gave birth to my first child that I still looked the same in the mirror, despite all I’d been through! Now if you’re like my kids, you’ll be rolling your eyes and going ‘duh’, but both things astonish me!

    Love the new pic at the top Viv xxx


  3. Alas I could not get to the song. May I say something Viv – I love you. By that I mean I love your mind, your thoughts, your way with words, the essence of who you are. I recognise things in myself that I read of in you. And reading these things stretches my heart out until sometimes I feel it will break. You feel so much, you see so much more, and that makes you shine with a light that few have in this world. And I know that makes the world a very stale, dull place to live in most of the time. You want the world to see beyond the shell you wear, as do I. We are kin in so many ways. To share these things with us is an intimate thing, letting us see inside that shell. You shine Viv, you shine so very brightly. I know it can be a curse, but it is also a gift, a very rare gift. we must meet one day, and when we do I will hug you and just be happy to be in your company. ‘Time devours all things’ but some people can see through it – through that mirror of time. You are one of those rare few. I am honoured to know you.


  4. And then…people speak of beauty and I am saddened further because of their dishonesty. Then I see a photo that is 10 years old and see some beauty. I promise myself I will not be harsh about any current images. That lasts until I see one.


  5. same ole fat bald guy in my mirror every day and ,as bahb mentions, the occasional black dog .

    I just came from helping a very old woman cut up some land for her kids.
    She was telling me about her children hopping over the oak tree in her front
    yard- it was huge.

    peace to the little girl
    peace to the now you
    peace to the later you


  6. Pingback: The Undercover Soundtrack – Vivienne Tuffnell | My Memories of a Future Life

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