The Girl in the Mirror

By , Portland, OR
I see her staring back at me. The stranger I have become.
It’s strange; when I move my hand, her hand moves also. When I lean in closer to examine her grimy face, she does too, as if we’re sharing a secret.
So what have I done, to be trapped in this place with only this nameless girl, she who is me but not me?
I lost myself long before I came here. I lost my perspective, my personality, my place in the book that is life.

Lots of girls say they decide to stop eating because of the superficial models in magazines or the peer pressure they felt to be skinny.
It wasn’t that way for me.
It was autumn of last year; I had just made the cut for the drill team. It was the first sport I had ever been accepted for, and needless to say, I was excited.
Or so I thought.
Soon, I was told by the coach that I was too heavy and needed to shave several pounds off if I were to remain on the team. Soon, the team captain told me the same thing, only not as politely.
I lost her. I lost the girl who was excited to have something to do after school, the girl who looked in the mirror and saw someone who was perfectly fine, if not a little overweight.
Soon, I had dropped five pounds. My teammates congratulated me on my new figure. The coach told me he was proud of my drive and dedication.
I still wasn’t happy.
120, 119, 118, 117. It was all about the number on the scale. I didn’t count time by the number of sunrises anymore; I counted it by the number of pounds I dropped.
There came a point where the drill team coach told me that I was too thin. I found this ironic, and silently chortled as he asked me if I was all right. How could I not be all right? I was better off than I had ever been.
109, 108, 107. I was kicked off drill team. Not that I noticed much--I didn’t need it anymore to feel confident.

And then one day I accidentally glanced at the shiny surface hanging on the girls’ bathroom.
A ghostly sliver of a girl stared back at me, her dull blue eyes seemingly lifeless. She was papery white, and her cheekbones jutted out from her face.
I blinked and the mirror fogged up. I reached out to wipe off the steam, revealing a morbid scene.
A wooden casket laid in the middle, with a sea of people, all clad in black, surrounding it. I thought I spotted my parents standing in front--but that was impossible.
I rubbed my eyes, and the scene changed again. A young woman laughed with a handsome man at her side. The pair strolled through a gorgeous park. I squinted, trying to make out the man’s features, but they weren’t clear.
The mirror clouded, and then gradually cleared up. I found the same girl staring back at me. She had once been pretty, but depression and confusion had twisted her features.
I turned away. I knew what the mirror had been telling me. I had two choices--but which one would I take?
I didn’t know.





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