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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley

Mirror Mirror

Updated: Dec 4, 2020


Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say 'I love you.'

As I stood in front of the mirror I couldn't help but wonder who the hell was that there staring back at me?

My hair hung limply around my shoulders and the dark circles under my eyes were darker than ever. My skin was clammy and pale and spots had broken out on my chin. My shoulders were hunched forward as if I wished myself so small I was invisible.

Ok, now to say I love you.

As soon as I thought these words, my face crumpled and tears began to flow down my cheeks. I felt my knees buckle as I slid down the wall to the floor. I lay there crying for many long minutes feeling every ounce of pain within me.

At this very moment loving myself felt impossible. Shame, guilt, despair and hatred of the mess I had become overwhelmed me.

You're not lovable, you're a bloody mess! Look at you, you weak, pathetic excuse for a human being. You can't even feed yourself let alone be a mother and provider. How can you even begin to place any worth on your existence. I despise you. You're a weak, whimpering woman. No ordinary person would let themselves get this bad and look so damned awful. You're worthless, completely worthless!

By the time I finished crying I was exhausted and battling with far more disturbing thoughts than before. Perhaps if I lay there and didn't move maybe my world would stop? Maybe I could just stop existing and the suicidal thoughts would go away?

I must have fallen asleep because when I came back to reality I thought I had heard someone talking to me.

Hello, Mum? Dad?

No one answered so I hauled myself off the floor and checked all the rooms in the house. Nope, no one here. Strange.

I love you

Hellooooo is someone here?

I love you

Oh bloody hell that's it! I really have lost it now. I'm hearing things! Who was speaking to me?

Claire you are looking in the wrong place. I'm here.

Where's here?

In your head! In your heart!

For f*cks sake someone help me I've gone mad...I've arrived at looney town!!!

Shhhhh go to the mirror


Go to the mirror


Just go to the mirror

I fidgeted on the spot, shifting my weight from foot to foot.

Go to the mirror

Who are you?

Go to the mirror

I don't want to! I'll look even worse now, big red nose, eyes the size of pinheads, all blotchy..

Just go

I walked back to the mirror keeping my eyes firmly on the ground

Look up

No, I can't

Look up

No please don't make me. I don't want to look. It will confirm what I already think about being horrible to look at and a disgrace.

Claire look up. I want you to see someone

What? If Iook in the mirror I will see me, nobody else! OK OK

I slowly raised my eyes to the mirror.

I love you

Are you God? Are you an angel? Oh! Or are you something bad like a demon or a mental illness that now has full control of my mind?

I love you

I'm not sure exactly when it happened but I found myself looking myself in the eyes for the first time in months.

love you

I quickly looked down again. What the hell is going on? I glanced up and this time held my own gaze.

I love you.

I spoke the words without realising it was me now saying them.

I was now looking deeply into my own eyes. I was surprised at the beautiful variation of colour they had. I had always called them brown but they had a mixture of hazel and amber tones. I could sense a warmth from them.

I can't tell you how long I stood looking at my eyes but my legs had started to shake warning me that they were about to give way.

I didn't get to the point of being comfortable in saying 'I love you' to myself that day but I did re-discover myself.

I had become lost to the anxiety and fears that had shrouded me for so long. I had found a way back to myself and not necessarily the person I was before being ill.


Now here we are in the present day and my love of singing has lead me to another challenge.

Monday to Friday I love being a part of Gareth Malone's Great British Home Chorus. We have learned several songs now and, should we feel confident enough, we can record ourselves on video and send it in to be included in a mass amalgamation of videos sent in by other chorus members.

Flippin eck! An audio recording would've been challenging enough but a visual one......😬

The thought of having to see my visage on screen was scary to say the least. In my first recording I looked ill and perhaps a little petrified. The sound was bearable but I was not happy with how I looked.

After seeing myself on tape I began to list all the bits of me I would have 'fixed' if I had the money or the inclination: teeth, skin, eyes and so on.

By listing my faults or flaws I was giving time and energy to what does not serve me or recognise my worth and as I became aware of this I was drawn back to my eyes.

My eyes are little and I still have dark circles but something deep within them has grown. Self-love, self-respect, self worth have all taken root and begun to blossom, causing my eyes to shine. Instinctively old habits of putting myself down still surface but with awareness I am able to release them and put in their place something loving and kind.

I am grateful that I have come so far and overcome so much and I intend to use that gratitude as fuel to keep moving forward;to keep pushing myself to take a step outside of my comfort zone, to learn and trust that I am good enough with no need to prove myself.

So, I have turned my craft room into a filming studio, added a wee bit of colour to my cheeks and completed two recordings, which have now been sent off.

I loved seeing my own face so happy, so full of emotion and I felt beautiful. Beautiful because I was happy from the inside out!

What more could anyone ask for?

Stay well, stay safe.

Much Love



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