Sunday, August 22, 2010

The dangers of magnification

I was tweezing my eyebrows.

More information than you wanted to know I'm sure, but without telling you that important detail the rest doesn't really make sense. So... I was tweezing my eyebrows and that's where this story begins.

Thanks to my renters leaving a lot of personal items in my renthouse that needed to be disposed of, I am now in possession of a handy little mirror. It's small, perfectly round, and intensely magnified. You have to get it really close to your face for anything to make sense, but magnify things it certainly does.

It was incredibly helpful with finding the small hairs that would have been hard to see. And after awhile, I had the job done....


I was still looking at my eyebrows through super magnification.

They looked at least a feet long, with huge logs of hair at least 6 inches with roots the size of tulip bulbs danging off the end. It was grotesque. I wondered how people stood looking at me without pointing at laughing at the logs above my eyes. I very seriously considered pulling out every last hair.

Then I went grumpily to another mirror to see my eyebrows through a regular mirror only to discover they looked like they always have, except now they were tweezed to betterment. My forehead wasn't a disaster of uni-brow. And people won't be pointing and laughing anytime soon - at least not over my eyebrows.

I would have thought magnification was a wonderful thing. It helps you see flaws and imperfections so you can fix them. Close study, and observation helps magnify so many other problems - it can't be a bad thing can it?

Yes, yes it can.

In our lives, too often we get absorbed in the problems. We get deep into the thick of them with our ideas and notions to fix things and too often fail to remember that the general structure wasn't a bad thing, it just needed a little bit of tweezing around the edges. But, as I learned, once you get into a magnified problem, everything about it can often look like a problem when it isn't.

Perspective is very important.

In my life, I've noticed that it's hard to me to get past issues once I've decided they're a problem. I dwell on them, sulk in them, let them dictate my life choices and burdens that I'm willing to carry. Sometimes it takes something difficult happening in a totally different area of my life for me to be able to step back from one problem and deal with the other. Once I've stepped back, when I turn around I realize that the first problem wasn't so awful after all.

You need magnification to do corrections, but once those corrections are done it's important to take a step away from the situation before you go changing other things. I nearly lost my eyebrows in this case, but in others... I very well may have lost valuable relationships that mean the world to me. I may have plucked out beautiful directions that my life could have detoured into. Or I maybe am just living with obvious issues that are simply consequences of magnification overload.

I was genuinely surprised when I looked in the mirror and found out I didn't look like my little magnifier showed me. And as I put the little mirror away I couldn't help but sternly inform it that it was a dangerous tool that I would need to use wisely.

Because sometimes a mirror isn't just a mirror.

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