The big picture

My latest senior moment means that I can not remember where I read the information I am just about to share with you.  I don’t think I imagined it; it makes perfect sense to me, so I am going to share this scientific research with you anyway – well, I think it was scientific, but I also think I read this nugget in a ‘news in brief’ section of  a newspaper as I scanned quickly through (or maybe it was on social media), and, as I now can not helicopter in on the newspaper/Facebook page, I can not substantiate the authenticity of this data. I may have even dreamt up this story myself for I do have a tendency to overthink.  Anyway, as we know, I have never been one to let the truth get in the way of a good story, so let us just press ahead.

So, the gist of the story (I think) is that men and women view their reflection in a full length mirror very differently. Apparently, new fangled technology now allows our eye gaze to be tracked.  In my fight to sound scientific,  I at least researched that this tracking is possible and discovered that the process is called Pupil Center Corneal Reflection (PCCR) – get me.

Let me just give you the big picture here and cut to the chase, even though – as you are about to discover – this will go against the grain for my gender stereotype.   PCCR logged the results from men and women viewing their full length reflections and the big reveal shows that men scan their full image and generally cut themselves some slack by taking in the whole ‘look’ and generally liking what they see,  whereas women pixilate their image down into small pieces and their critical inner voice then starts gnawing away at these jigsaw pieces.

Now, being that woman who wasted her teenage, twenty, thirty ad nauseam (#Istilldothis) years standing in front of that full length mirror saying, ‘does my bum look big in this?’ no wonder I zoned in on this ‘news’ story.  By similarly zoning in on my porridgey gluteus maximus or my zit-prone forehead, I have managed to talk myself out of leaving the house on many occasions.  In contrast, I have often envied the confidence of men with their arse hanging out of their trousers – beige socks in sandals that have seen better days – merrily hogging the karaoke and making the party happen.  This research explains it all; they clearly looked in the mirror before they left home, congratulated themselves on a good trip to the barber’s and cut themselves some metaphorical slack on their other sartorial crimes.

Naturally I can not speak out on behalf of the Sisterhood, but I can personally relate to this research.  So strong can be the urge for my own waspish pupils to reflect their corneas in a fashion that sees my body mass as a piece of squared graph paper, that it becomes a superhuman challenge for me to ever helicopter up to see myself in a more forgiving – say, venn diagram – representation. I need to work on this.

I think my brain also generally works in this manner, for I can have my eyes closed and  give my own PCCR the night off, but my frontal lobe (notice I have even boxed down the cerebrum here) will start pixilating my day into tiny little boxes and nagging me to replay my internal CCTV.  ‘Zoom in on that conversation you had with a colleague at 14.32; what were you thinking of?’ or ‘you wore those shoes with that blouse to work today? Really?’  Seldom does my head hit the pillow and allow me to say, ‘ good job well done today Mama J’.

Perhaps I need to start joining up these boxes to build the big picture.  I could attempt a metaphorical Etch a Sketch approach to each day.  By concentrating really hard I could ambidextrously attempt to draw a curved line in the first box, keep my eye on the big picture and optimistically aim to have the apex of a rainbow shaped arch achieved by lunch time.

I am going to see if I can improve on PCCR.  Rather than allowing my pupils to flicker about self critically, I am going to embrace more of a dragonfly large compound eye approach which will allow me to look both in front and behind me and really see the big picture – as well as picking up on all of the nuances of colour that life affords.

So, using this context I looked in the mirror today with good intentions but  found myself distracted from my reflection because the glass was so flipping dusty.  It seems that my overthinking has been distracting me from domesticity recently as well as disrupting my sleep pattern.  I was about to rush out of the door when I noticed this layer of grime and I then lost even more time by faffing and deciding to polish the mirror.  This detour had me running so late that I then only had time to don a black bin-liner and a lick of red lipstick before deciding again to venture forth.  Looking back into the looking glass (don’t you find old habits are hard to break?), I found – surprisingly – that I liked what I saw.  My big picture analysis decided that a bin liner hides a multitude of sins (in particular my lardy arse) and my cheeky red smile predicts a fun night ahead.  Now where can I find Mr Socks and Sandals?


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