Bruce Jenner Mirrors

I don’t need a 360 degree mirror to guess how I look like to others. I have two very vocal fashion police who eagerly check me out from head to toe, gleefully point out my fashion faux pas, and freely dispense advice, solicited or otherwise. There is always a spirited discussion regarding my hairstyle, my wardrobe and beauty regimen, or lack thereof. Although my fashion gurus throw me a compliment here and there, they can also be quite unsparing with their thumbs-down. I usually let every negative comment go in one ear and out the other. I just cover my ears and go “La la la.” Sticks and stones…

One time, I insisted on buying this outfit despite my kids’ pleas otherwise. They were ready to give up on me but they made a last-ditch effort at the counter. They whispered, “Fine, Mom, if you insist on getting this outfit, go ahead. Just want you to know (then their voice dropped dramatically), if you wear that ( a theatrical pause), you’re on your way to Granny status!”

Wahhh!!! Those words struck terror into the very core of my being. To a fortysomething clinging on to whatever vestige of youth she can hold on to, the threat of Granny status is a very grim one. It is but a level away from senior citizen membership. I mean I know membership has its privileges (15% discount!), but I do not want to take the fast track to get there. As they say in my dialect, “Tawaga lang ko ug kawatan, ayaw lang tiguwang.” Loosely translated, it means “Call me a thief, but do not call me ancient.” I don’t think I need to tell you the fate of the offending outfit. As you may have guessed, I dropped it like a scalding hot potato.

Despite the brutality of their fashion police instincts, my kids have a sweet side. When I’m in the doldrums lamenting my expanding waistline or agonizing over a perceived wrinkle, my harshest critics become my most loyal of supporters. They rally up behind me and bolster my ego. They make comparisons to make me feel good by cleverly picking lesser opponents. They remind me of my blessings, extol my virtues and downplay my shortcomings. Because of them, my priorities get straightened and my vision, cleared. Because of their perspective, my insecurities seem trivial and my issues, petty. After that, everything seems all right with the world again. And all because I have two girls who care enough to show me that despite my flaws, I am a person of worth, and love me in spite of and because of it. In this sorority of three, ideas bounce around, laughter flows freely and an ordinary conversation takes twists and turns like a runaway Amtrak train.

One morning, Chessa and I were watching E Entertainment News when they featured 14 y.o. Kendall of the reality TV show family The Kardashians.

Me: Wow! I thought Kim was the only beauty in that family but that Kendall proved me wrong. She is a stunner.

Chessa: Well, there’s Brody Jenner. He’s s a hottie.

Me: Yeah, but he is not related to them by blood… But on second thought, Kendall and Brody do have the same father, Bruce Jenner, so I guess you are right.

Chessa: Who’s Bruce Jenner again?

Me: He was an Olympic winner. He was handsome in his younger days, you know, until he messed up his looks with that face lift he had done. Now his face looks so tight and unnatural, like a mask. The media has made him a laughingstock and he always makes it to the list of worst plastic surgeries. (Sigh.) It must be awful for him to look in the mirror and see that face staring back at him. If I were him, I would expose his plastic surgeon as a warning to everyone else.

Chessa: How do you know that he doesn’t like the way he looks? Maybe every time he looks at the mirror, he sees one handsome guy staring back at him!

The thought of Bruce Jenner looking at the mirror, trying to crack a smile with that frozen face of his, and saying “Hey, good-looking!” made the two of us burst into a giggling fit.

Then I remembered we were planning to go somewhere early that day. I had practically just rolled out of bed and I looked every inch the part. My hair was a mess (kalkag buhok), my face unwashed (way hilam-os) and my clothes dreadful (nagkagidlay) but I did not want to admit it. I patted my tangled hair into place, tried to bite my lips to bring out some color and I straightened my top. Chessa crept up behind me and I asked, “I don’t look that bad, do I? I mean, I do look okay enough to go out looking like this, right?”

Chessa took one look at my reflection, patted my shoulder in sympathy, and said simply, “Bruce Jenner mirror.”

When I heard that, I shrieked with outrage and tried to grab her, but she had skillfully dodged my grasp and was running down the hallway chanting “Bruce Jenner mirror! Bruce Jenner mirror!” Kids these days!

Bruce Jenner mirrors come in handy when the going gets rough or when the truth gets tough. The problem is when that’s all you’re willing to look at. When you can only see what you want to see on the outside and refuse to look on the inside, then truth gets skewered every which way. That’s when you need a trusted somebody to set you right. Lucky for me, I have my two who are more than willing to give me a reality check each time.

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