My medicine cabinet has three doors that split the mirror into three pieces. If I angle one of the doors and place my reflection square in the middle of the crack, my torso looks smaller. My ribcage doesn’t jut out as far. It’s a beautiful sight.
If I dress a certain way, I can make my hips feel wide. I wear long tops that go past my hips to my thighs. My thighs are huge, no doubt about it. They’re disproportionate to the rest of my body, and they stick out as far as my hips *should*. So when I wear long tops, the break in silhouette between hip and thigh is broken. That gorgeous width is connected to my hips. The effect is further enhanced if I wear a brightly colored long top and then layer a shorter black cardigan over it. The black cardigan narrows my waist and contrasts with the bright color of the shirt under it to expand my hips even more. Top it all off with the perfect pair of jeans, and in that moment I am ecstatic. I have literally jumped for joy while wearing these outfits. I become giddy like a little kid. It’s Christmas, and Santa brought me hips!
Sometimes it happens by accident. My spine will bend in just the right way when I lie down so that if you don’t examine it too closely, I appear to have a pelvis of the child-bearing variety. I pass by a light and my shadow tapers off along the ground to create a silhouetted alternate-dimension Amy who walks alongside me with a confident sway. As I walk down the street I catch a glimpse of my distorted reflection in a slightly bent shop window. Not only does she have a narrower waist, but the skin on her face is smooth, without the deep acne scars that cover my upper body.
I savor these moments. Even though they are fleeting, accidental, and illusory, I make them last. They’re like a lollipop I want to bite into and annihilate, but I hold back knowing it will be worth the inevitable frustration. There are precious few moments I feel at home in my body, so I take advantage of every chance I get, no matter how “real”. I burn those images into my brain, and when I feel gross I pull them back out again.
I avoid moments that highlight my dysphoria. I often shower with my eyes squinted or closed. I pee with the lights off. When getting ready, I only look in the mirror when I absolutely have to. When lying down I usually cover myself up with a blanket. I cover my whole body, avoid revealing clothing, and wear hoodies constantly. By hiding what upsets me and soaking in the moments that make me feel good, I make life in this damaged body a little more tolerable. The mirror’s inescapably cracked, literally and metaphorically, so why not turn it into a force for good?