I avoided mirrors for a year: The bride who cured her crippling insecurities by refusing to look at her own reflection – even on her wedding day
14:55 GMT, 15 August 2012
A woman trying to overcome an eating disorder and body image difficulties spent a whole year, including her wedding day, avoiding her reflection in mirrors to boost her self esteem.
For months, Kjerstin Gruys, 29, from San Fransisco, brushed her teeth with a covered bathroom mirror, inserted her contact lenses and applied her makeup purely by touch.
Hoping she could inspire others to stop
focusing on their appearance, she documented her mirror-less
life, make-up mishaps, and lessons learned on her blog, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall.
Mirror mirror: Kjerstin Gruys spent a whole year, including her wedding day, avoiding her reflection in mirrors to boost her self esteem
Ms Gruys, a PhD student in sociology, admits to ABC News that she has long struggled with insecurities about her appearance, and suffered from anorexia in the past.
After years of therapy, overcoming her eating disorder, it wasn't until she started wedding dress shopping that her insecurities took centre stage once again.
She explained: 'I saw myself in the mirror and was being critical.
'I thought, Well, maybe I should lose
a little weight before the wedding, always a bad thing to focus on when
you have a history of an eating disorder…
'I wasn't afraid of relapsing into my eating disorder, but I felt like a hypocrite because of how far I'd come.'
Look straight: Despite not being able to see herself on her wedding day, the 29-year-old said she was able to focus on the real meaning of the day, marrying the love of her life
It was while planning the wedding her fianc Michael Ackermann that Ms Gruys launched her ban on mirrors.
She said: 'I just kind of kept coming
back to this pattern of perfectionism, and obsessing about my
appearance, and I thought, if I can't think myself out of it, then maybe
I need to change something about my environment to force me to change.
'The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life.'
While there were a few mishaps at the beginning of her mirror-free lifestyle, Ms Gruys said it wasn't long before she adapted.
KJERSTIN'S MIRROR-FREE RULES A one-month transitional period, to 'figure out how to navigate/avoid mirrors' was allowedReflective surfaces, including windows, do 'count'She was allowed to use her rear- and side-view mirrors when driving, but she couldn't 'check herself out'Seeing her own shadow was okayWhen using Skype or other video-chat programs, she disabled features allowing her to see her own imageShe pledged to wait the whole year before seeing pictures taken of herself, including on digital cameras
'The first month of the project …when I was walking out the door…it was maybe a 50-50 shot that I had mascara on my nose.'
Ms Gruys said she trained herself to avoid eye contact with her own image in windows and other reflective surfaces, and trusted friends on shopping expeditions instead of relying on dressing room mirrors.
The bride-to-be even pledged not to look at her wedding photos until her mirror-free project had ended.
And although she was unable to see what she looked like on her wedding day, she said it was actually one of the easiest days to go mirror-free.
'I'm getting my focus back to thinking about the real meaning of the day, which isn't how I look but marrying the love of my life', she said.