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October 31, 2014

21-year-old college student gives up mirror for 40 days

A 21-year-old University of St. Thomas student is giving up mirrors for 40 days as part social experiment and part Lenten sacrifice.

Angela Deeney calls her endeavor “Paint the Mirrors,” and is urging others to take up the “challenge to repaint your image of beauty by covering your mirrors and letting your life and actions reflect your true beauty.”

“I’m excited to see what I will discover about myself and what beauty means,” the college senior told KARE 11. “The temporary sacrifice can’t compare to what will be the result.”

Deeney says she has sworn off all reflective surfaces, even rear-view mirrors. She said she is relying on trusted friends to make sure she looks presentable for upcoming interviews.

One of Deeney’s mirrors now looks like this:

painted mirror

deeney

Deeney said the inspiration for the project came earlier this year when she studied in Venezuela and practiced simplicity, a three-week adventure during which she didn’t wear makeup.

“I really saw that I was avoiding mirrors more because I was afraid of what I’d see inside of it,” the Catholic studies and communications major told Catholic Spirit, an archdiocese publication, of her trip. “Instead, I put my focus on the people in front of me and what I was doing and what I thought was beautiful in them.”

She is writing about this experiment on her blog and on a Facebook page for the project.

It’s not a new experiment.

“It gave me a lot of serenity,” Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, a 30-something freelance writer in New York told the New York Times in 2012, of two monthlong “mirror fasts.”

Kjerstin Gruys, of San Francisco, gave up looking in the mirror for a year, a project she launched just months before her wedding. She later wrote a book called “Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body Without Looking at it for a Year.”

Why a year? She told USA Today, “I thought it would give me a fighting chance to put those body image insecurities in a smaller place. I wanted to think less about my body. I wanted to spend more time viewing myself as a whole person who has talents and relationships.”

Taking a break from mirrors can be a good reminder that life offers more important things to focus on, Vivian Diller, a New York psychologist and author said in Prevention magazine, “but the adjustments we make have to be on our own view of ourselves — not on the reflections created by mirrors.”