There are two specific ways to look at oneself:
1).Visually. Physically. Through one’s eyes.
2).Mentally. Emotionally. Through one’s reflection.
She herself preferred the later, though she seemed to get the two mixed up too often to explain why.
You see, reflections, whether mental or physical, come in several different shapes and sizes. You can reflect by a pond, or in a pond. You can reflect on your past, or look at it in the mirror, the stress fractures and worry wrinkles physically visible. There are so many different mediums of reflection today, that you can basically do it however and whenever you want to.
We, as a society, deal with several different mediums for physical and mental reflection today. Instead of thriving through a swirling world of face to face interaction, we are graduating from institutions of screens, mirrors reflecting our true selves, social media reflecting our lives and choices in regards to how we look at the time.
We put into our profiles and pages our whole life, our experiences, and our events. We use these screens as electronic journals, typing away our thoughts and plans, hoping that other people care about them just as much as we do. Our free time is now spent checking up on other people’s reflections in their free time, which is most likely something similar to what we’re doing on our own screens.
If you aren’t reflecting on a handheld screen then there is a good chance you are reflecting in a mirror, her least favorite place to deal with reflections of any sort.
She first noticed her problem when she was eleven. She was just getting into that stage where she was worried about boys looking at her, and worried about girls whose bodies had blossomed long before hers. Eleven was a vicious age, if you can remember it, full of bursting social mishaps, awkward body changes, and path deciding friendship choices.
You couldn’t not reflect on yourself at that time.
So she spent a lot of time in her father’s tiny 2 bedroom rental house bathroom, a large full-length mirror placed on the back of the door so you could see yourself when it was shut. She used to march into the bathroom, shake her hair out, pinch her cheeks, and suck in her baby fat, just to see if her reflection showed any signs of change from reality.
Oddly enough, one day, it did.
Going through her normal cheek pinching routine, trying on different shades of natural rouge and willing her chipmunk cheeks away, she noticed out of the corner of her eye something moving in the window behind her.
Only, she noticed it out of the corner of her other eye, the one reflecting in the mirror. She herself had not moved her eye away from her reflecting face, but her reflection darted one eye to the side to the window.
At first, it wasn’t a big deal to her, she was eleven and she was convinced she had stared at herself for too long, willing her mind to see something that wasn’t really there.
It was a big deal to her, however, the second time, when in a desperate attempt to stuff her bra with as much toilet paper she could in hopes of grabbing some lucky 6th grader’s attention she saw her reflection laughing, hard.
She stared. She let go of her sports bra. She froze and watched herself clutch her side she was laughing so much. She didn’t quite know what to do, who to get, what to say.
She watched for a moment, as the reflection took out the toilet paper and started pinching her cheeks again, her true form standing stark-still, wearing no rouge as she should have been, only a few fearful dried up tears.
She stood in the bathroom that day for 43 minutes, willing herself to stand still and watch.
Across the mirror, across the screen of reflection, she also stood and watched, the only difference being the occasional crooked smile she was certain she didn’t know how to make, and the lack of tears or deep breathing from the mirror she herself had to deal with.
When she finally worked up enough courage to move her left foot (right foot reflected), slowly enough to trace its path in the mirror, her reflection stopped all movement entirely and looked enraged.
‘Don’t leave me here’ was all she growled, both in the mirror and in real life.