What 9 People See When They Look In The Mirror

Illustration by Sarah Lutkenhaus

Why is it so hard to see ourselves as we really are?

Looking in a mirror is often a transformative experience, but whether that transformation is positive or negative depends on so many factors, both external and internal. I can look in the mirror six times in a day and see something different each time. And while I have grown to embrace and even love my reflection, that took a lot of work and a lot of practice.

I asked nine different people what it is they see when they look in the mirror; their answers may surprise you, as they surprised me, for focusing not just on the readily apparent, but also what is internal. See their answers, below.

Photo courtesy of Ragini Nag Rao

Ragini Nag Rao
As someone who’s been fat and has had bad skin for most of her life, I don’t exactly have the easiest of relationship with mirrors. Whenever I’m looking into a mirror, I’m unconsciously angling my face and in ways that flatter me the most. It’s such a deeply ingrained reflex that I wouldn’t even know how to stop. Then again, deliberately forcing myself to see my face and body from all possible angles in the mirror was a huge part of my journey into fat acceptance. I still have the occasional twinge of body dysmorphia when I catch myself in fitting room mirrors from angles I’m not used to. There’s this brief flash of not being able to fully recognize myself before the image matches the one in my head. This used to be a lot more difficult before I consciously started looking at myself the way others see mestudying my unflattering bits in three-way mirrors and photos taken from odd angles, and accepting all of it as me. It’s a difficult process but incredibly therapeutic in healing your relationship with your body in the long run.

Photo via @joannedion_ Instagram

Joannè Dion
It’s hard, because, at times, I find it hard to depict what I see when I look in the mirror. People look in the mirror to see how they look, but most times I see past this. I see the feelings and opinions that I associate with myself at the current point in time. My makeup would look amazing and my fro will be fluffed out precisely, but all I would see is a girl who needs to look better than what she sees. Other times I feel the empowerment and growth within me and I feel myself. The truth is we are always conflicted with the “versions” of ourselves. There are millions of versions of us. The way you see yourself in the morning may not be that of how you see yourself at night and how we see ourselves are not how others see us... In short, I try not to look In the mirror too much. Why? Because my values are heavily based on my morals, who I am as a person, and how I treat people.

Photo courtesy of Ari Fitz

Ari Fitz
Historically, when I looked in the mirror, I saw problems that I wanted to fix. Too much muscle. Too strong features. Not enough femininity, and so on. Today, I just see me. And, I really like me. I feel we live in a time when something that's too perfect feels unoriginal and contrived. No one really trusts or believes a blogger in a perfect outfit with their perfect latte and perfect skin anymore. Me in my mirror is me. Me in my mirror is raw. Me in my mirror is honest, and honest me has never looked or felt better.

Photo by Lynell Smith, courtesy of Alopeachia

Dani, aka Alopeachia
I have mixed feelings when I look in the mirror; both positive and negative. Sometimes I point out every "imperfection" I have and give myself a hard time. I've even avoided looking in the mirror altogether at times. Other times, I see someone who has come a long way and is strong. I see someone who is working on themselves and is learning not to be so hard on herself and learning to forgive herself as well.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Tobia

Jacob Tobia
Mirrors have played a huge role in my journey to self-love and self-acceptance. A few years ago, I was talking about my insecurities with my body and a friend gave me advice that I'll never forget. She told me that the only way I was ever going to learn to love my body was through talking to it. She taught me an exercise that I still use to this day: You stand or sit naked in front of the mirror, look yourself straight in the eye, and tell yourself everything that's beautiful about your body. You can even go body part by body part, telling each inch of your skin how gorgeous it is. There is something fundamental, something transformational, about telling yourself, out loud, just how beautiful you are. The first few times, it will seem stupid, but over time, it will start to just feel true. Sure, I still have my insecurities, and navigating a world where gender-nonconforming people are constantly told that we're ugly or less-than is still a challenge, but I'm at a place in my life where I adore what I see in the mirror. I'm proud of my reflection, of the resilient, beautiful, trans-as-fuck body looking back at me.

Claudia Sulewski
When I look in the mirror, I see a girl that is always changing. Changing styles, shapes, moods, phases. Life never pauses, and we never stop growing. It’s so detrimental getting stuck on the little things you don’t have rather than what you do have. I have a body that wants to move, learn, love others, breathe, give my soul a chance to experience life on this planet! It’s easier said than done, but what I do know for sure—counting your blessings in that mirror will take you so much further.

Photo via @itsmekellieb Instagram

Kellie Brown
When I look In the mirror, I don't really have a singular thought. I’m usually looking in the mirror to check myself out and make sure I like my hair, outfit, or makeup. But I’ve never been one to stand in the mirror to pick myself apart. I love how much I look like my mom so seeing her reflection in the mirror generally makes me happy. We all have critical moments, but being a glass-half-full kinda gal, I try not let myself go down that slippery slope of self-deprecation... because those magnifying mirrors and these pores, whoa.

Photo via @bonjourclem Instagram

Clémentine Dessaux
Growing up, I thought my life would be hell because I didn’t fit in. I was convinced that I needed to be thin, to have the best job, husband, life. And that because I was unable to lose all the weight, I would fail at life. Now, I am grateful and so blessed to have that body and to look the way I do, because I found a way to make what was perceived as “weaknesses,” my strength! And that’s the best part of life. Turning things around and making the most of what you have instead of crying about what you wish you had. I am not insecure about my body or physique anymore, but about other stuff like achievements, life goals.

Photo via @calliethorpe Instagram

Callie Thorpe
When I was a kid, I had severe asthma and I was put on pretty strong steroids. Within a short space of time, I gained a lot of weight (a medical side effect of the drug) and went from an average size little girl to a chubby one. As young as I was, it was then I saw a change in how I was treated for being fat. I often would hear adults discuss my weight and I would get teased for being bigger. Because of this, I grew up on diets always trying the newest fad to lose weight, which often was praised by people around me. To the outside, I was doing the healthy thing but little did they know I was suffering terribly with anxiety, depression, and disordered eating. It continued right through till my adult life. It became clear that in the eyes of society big does not equal beautiful. In fact, I remember people would always say, "You have such a pretty face, if you lost some weight you would be stunning."

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.