When my best friend told me that she thinks I have "hair like Jennifer Aniston's" (thank you Sunita - the words were music to my ears) I'm not going to lie, I danced a little triumphant jig on the spot. I went home, checked myself out in the mirror, swished my hair this way and that, jigged a little bit more, and generally sat feeling rather chuffed with myself. I'd probably have felt the same way if she were talking about the little toe of my left foot (such is my love for Aniston) but in truth, it was an honest compliment from a girl who's known me almost 15 years; and as well as music, the words were magic too. With my appearance being the least of my priorities in recent times, it's sometimes hard not to look in the mirror and feel a little unhappy about the slight weight I've gained. About the dark circles under my eyes and the thighs that never seem to slim. Those few words though, that were spoken so spontaneously, undid and unravelled, as if by magic, months if not years of pent-up insecurity I'd harboured about my appearance. The same as any other girl. Day in day out, I watch women buy de-frizzing serums or volumising shampoos, grease-free moisturisers for the oily t-zone or extra hydrating lotion for flakey skin patches. And with probably 80% of the Boots sales floor dedicated to women's beauty, airbrushed model upon airbrushed model posing on the front of every fashion magazine and celebs losing post pregnancy weight in less that one month, it's not hard to see why the pressure's always on.
Somehow, mirrors (and now fashion magazines, celebrities and the media alike) have a tendency to remind us of our "flaws" - what we lack, rather than what we have. And it's compliments like Sunita's that have me wondering why we're so hell bent on pin pointing our weaknesses rather than concentrating on everything that's downright fabulously, absolutely and utterly gob-smackingly brilliant about each of us. In truth, mirrors provide nothing more than a half truth; a fleeting snapshot of how we look at a particular moment in time. They're ruthlessly judgmental and will tell you that you're having a bad hair day, not that you have super-smooth flawless skin. They'll tell you that you have two inches too many around your hips, but not that you have the tiniest, sexiest little waist possibly imaginable to mankind. Most importantly though, a mirror will tell you how nice you look (or don't), but not how nice you are (or aren't). And as cliched as it sounds, I'm here to tell you all that you shouldn't listen to your mirror; you should listen to your friends.
When I reach one of my contemplative moods and reflect on all my life has and hasn't been, I have to confess I've lived a life of more luxury than a lot of people will ever see. Though I've faced some hard times in the past year, I've never had to face them alone. Like a fool I forgot the lifelong love of friends and family when my boyfriend of just one year left me. But with my slow, but sure, return to reality, I realised that moaning, mourning for what you lack is the coward's way out. It takes so much more courage to appreciate what you have. Then be it Jennifer Aniston hair, a wonderful loving family, or the best friend in the entire world. Sunita has seen me through thick and thin. We've shared all our teen years - the ups and the downs. When I first felt a flutter in my tummy at the sight of a boy, she's the one I told. When I kissed him in the school field for the first time, she's the one who knew. When I got my GCSE results, she's the one I hugged with joy. And when the man in my life walked away, she's the once that told me perhaps I deserved better. And if she can, 15 years later, after seeing me at my best and very worst, still tell me she thinks I'm pretty, frankly, I don't care for what the mirror says. She's the best mirror of all.
(P.S. Incase your wondering how on EARTH my hair might ressemble JA's. Well spotted, I'm not strawberry blonde. But apparently my hair frames my face - it goes "swish".)