In the Mirror

July 20, 2011
As I drag myself out of bed, it’s a great effort. It always is, because I wake up to disappointment; disappointment that I find myself to still be breathing. My movements are against my will, almost robotic. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there is a ‘man behind the curtain’ supplied with a control panel, commanding my every word and movement.

Trudging steps lead me to my small bathroom. In the mirror, I stare at a girl whose dirty-blonde hair is a mess and whose makeup is smudged all around her eyes, emphasizing the hate in them as the bore into me. I stare even harder. So does she. Who is this girl who looks just like me? Her old t-shirt is baggy and sagging to one side of her body. Her eyes are a deep brown, like milk chocolate, and her dark lashes are thick and look as if they could touch her perfectly plucked eyebrows. Her lips are full and plump, but the right side is higher than the left. Yet despite her imperfections, she is beautiful.

I find myself envying this girl’s beauty, wishing I could feel as lovely as she must every single day. I envy the compliments she probably gets, the boys that must be chasing after her. She has to have a perfect world. If only I could be like her…yet, there is more behind her beauty and near perfection. Her expression tells a story.

The corners of her mouth are turned down in an almost permanent-looking frown, and her eyes are screaming “I don’t like this, never have, and never will. I never agreed to this.” The expression seems strong and stubborn, but is hiding her insecurities and lack of self-assurance. Her emotions are scattered; confusion in the crease between her eyebrows; self consciousness in the tight crossing of her arms and the hunching of her shoulders; anxiety and nervousness in the way her fingernails are chewed down to a nub; irritation in the frown plastered on her mouth and tiredness in her eyes; depression in the way her mouth sags and the messy look about her that says “I don’t care”; and criticism in the slight upward curve of her left eyebrow. She seems so gathered together, yet so confused and scared at the same time. I pity this sad sight. Self pity. I laugh sourly, and so does she, understanding my dry wit.

This unknown girl and I share a story. One that only we shall know, and one that no one else could possibly understand. I pick up my right hand, and she picks up her left, mirroring my movements. I rest my hand against the smooth glass, meeting hers. It feels smooth and cold. Opposite of mine.

“Who are you?” I ask her. I feel so confused. She looks confused, too. Why is she mirroring my movements? Why does she look like me?

Although she looks like me and copies my movements, she is not me. I do not have the perfect world she does. She knows she is beautiful. She hears the compliments and knows about the boys chasing after her. She probably realizes and embraces her talents.

Somewhere inside of me, I know that that girl is me, but I have yet to get to that point. I realize the girl on the other side of the mirror is trying to tell me, “This is you. This is what you could be. You have it in you.” But who am I kidding? She’s just a reflection, MY reflection; and in my reflection there is no beauty nor confidence.
“Why am I such an idiot?” I ask myself, searching my own face for answers that will never be given.
I stand there stupidly for a couple more minutes before I come back to reality; it’s morning, it’s a school day, and I have to get ready. Going through my morning routine, I wash off any signs of hope that there could’ve been; this is just another useless day that will bring no happiness nor knowledge. There’s no reason to get my hopes up for a good day again.
As I look up from my sink, the girl in the mirror looks back at me. Instead of the beauty she seemed to have had earlier, all I see now is pitifulness. Her face, her hair, her everything. Everything about her just screams, “PLEASE LOVE ME!” But you can tell just by the desperation on her face that nobody has heard that cry, nor will they ever hear it.
I take some water and throw it onto her face. Her image blurs with the tiny little water droplets, then becomes unrecognizable as they run down the mirror, leaving little trails of what I imagine to be tears. I slowly back up to leave the bathroom, the image of the girl gets smaller and smaller. I turn slowly, my eyes still on her face, then walk away, and her image disappears. I can already tell that today will be a struggle.

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