“Interview today at 15:00,” Mira boasted excitedly.

After many months of tons of unsuccessful job applications, she had finally found success. Overcome with joy, she immediately headed off to her closet to decide on the perfect outfit. Maybe blue and black? Pink and black? Her mind drifted away, as she evaluated her reflection in the mirror.

“Pink and black?!!” replied her mother in a critical tone. “That’s a horrible combination!”

Doubtful, Mira dropped the clothing to the ground, opting for another choice.

“Don’t tell me you are going to leave your hair in THAT bun?!” scoffed Mother.

“I thought the bun looked…professional?” replied Mira, uncertain.

“Professional? Do you even know the meaning of that word?!” insulted Mother. “Let it down. It covers your humongous ears!” she commanded.

“Yes, Mother,” replied Mira, as she removed her hairband.

“Wait a minute! Is that a pimple on your wide nose?!”

Like every other human being, Mira got the occasional zit, especially when she welcomed her period. Keeping her skin clear was a mission. She longed for the perfect skin like the unrealistic models on the Photoshopped magazine covers.

“You didn’t drink enough water today!” accused Mother.

“No, I…”

“Don’t lie to me! I know when you’re lying,” said Mother, as she gaslighted Mira.

Mira dropped her head and eyes to the ground. She began to rub her fingers across her face, hair and ears, ashamed of her overall appearance. There she stood, unsure of her choices and herself; she gave in to Mother’s commands.

However, no matter Mira’s choice, Mother would hate and critique it.

“See, Mira, this is why you can’t get a proper job! You can’t even pick a proper outfit. How pitiful!” said Mother, in a condescending tone topped with a slight giggle of amusement.

Mira broke eye contact with her own unforgiving reflection and grounded herself in reality.

The clock read 15:30. Her ship of opportunity, without warning, had swiftly passed her by. The self-deprecating thoughts in her mind overtook her body. Stunted in her growth, she gave in to the continuous insults and fell to the ground, her confidence swallowed up by the harsh words, like quicksand.

Frozen in time, unsure of her herself, she hid from the reflection in the mirror. It was beastly. Her ears were as big as an elephant’s. Zits sitting on her face like daises. Hair too straight for a bun and too curly to be let down.

She succumbed to the negativity in her own mind. The inward visual was highly exaggerated, but the critical voice of her Mother confirmed it. She couldn’t see past her distorted truth, so it became her gospel. The abuse became a coping mechanism for failure.

“I told you, Mira. You wouldn’t make it without me. I told you,” said the commanding voice.

The voice of thunder that selfishly resided in Mira’s brain. It wouldn’t go away, no matter how many times she would bang her head. The reflection in the mirror was all Mira but the voice of critique was remnants of her deceased narcissistic mother. She may be buried in the ground but in Mira’s mind, her words of abuse lived for all eternity.

Tell us: Why are society’s standards of beauty unrealistic for normal people?