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My mom combs my hair and my back arches against the wooden chair. I hug my knees up to my chest and blow some air through my teeth. I wiggle my toes. They’re so weird. Toes, I mean. My toe nails are chipped and blue from the last time I painted them. I wiggle them again. They don’t feel like they’re mine.
When I think of myself, I don’t really like what I picture, but it’s a jumble of thoughts and emotions. It’s everything but toes.
My mom reaches a tangle in my hair. “Ouch,” I say, inching forward in the chair.
“Sorry,” she whispers.
Normally my dad combs my hair, but he’s away. He’s on a business trip today.
When my mom is done, her nimble fingers weave the brown mess that is my hair into a tiny braid, and the hair tickles when she puts it on my shoulder. She hands me a mirror and I look at my reflection.
The reflection’s not me either. It’s a picture of someone else. Brown eyes, pretty hair, full lips. Not me, not me.
Aren’t I the girl who ran through the sprinklers in her robe?
Aren’t I the girl who refuses to have cookies without tea?
Aren’t I the girl who once listened to “Panic! At the Disco” for five consecutive hours?
Who is this girl staring back at me? She doesn’t feel like me at all. I hand my mom the mirror and stare at my toes again.
As time passes by, I am feeling more and more convinced that my toes aren’t mine. That my face is someone else’s.
“Mom,” I say.
“Hmm?” She says.
If that is my face, then I am now a firm believer in internal beauty/internal ugly. It doesn’t matter what you look like outside because that isn’t you. Surely, that face isn’t me. Not at all. How can someone know you by your toes? Your face? Your skin?
“I think the mirror is broken,” I say. “Because that is NOT me.”