It’s strange, to look at yourself in a mirror, and not know what you look like.
I’d like to think that I understand. Of all days, of all times, now when I know better, when I’m better. But I wonder, if there’s some things you never know about yourself. Ever. If you spend your life burning through your time, trying to get where you’ll be ready, for understanding or realization. And it never happens- does it ever happen? Do we ever simply open our eyes one day, and just know?
I go days without looking at myself closely in the mirror. These are the same days that I sit in front of my old fashioned dresser and comb my hair for minutes together. It’s hip length, and tangles easy, so I used a fine toothed comb. Always over the left shoulder, and then half that time over the right, to get that one fluffy spot I can’t reach otherwise. It shines when I comb it. I take care of it.
I use three different lotions, for my face, body, and hands. I moisturize every morning and night, and always put lotion on my skin while watching a movie on Sundays. I try not to think of Silence of the Lambs when I do that. I always end up doing exactly that. The same, repetitive, calming motions every night. I stand in front of the mirror and moisturize my face, before I leave my ponytail loose, strip in front of the mirror, and get into bed.
I have three mirrors in my room.
And I have no fucking idea, what I look like.
I want to know. I fucking want, to fucking know, what I fucking look like. I’ve spent the first half of my life convinced that I was ugly, because that’s what I was taught, so earnestly, so utterly without a lack of certainty that I was ugly, ugly, ugly, that I’d never be loved. My version of rebellion was shouting at myself inside my head that I wasn’t. I wasn’t ugly, even if I wasn’t beautiful, and I was good enough. I wasn’t, I wasn’t, I wasn’t ugly. I told myself enough times to make up for every time that I was told the other.
And then I outgrew both. Those sets of understandings, of different halves of my lives. Because people came into my life who convinced me that I was both. That I was one, because I was the other. I was beautiful, because I was ugly. I was a good girl, I’m a good girl, because I can’t afford not to be. _She’s not pretty but she’s so nice!_ _I fell for you because you were sweeter than the other girls I knew. I thought that’d be enough. I’m sorry, I thought it’d be._ _My friend thinks I can do better. So I told him how intelligent you are_. _I Love you. I just can’t be with you. It’s just how things are._
And I don’t fucking blame you, any of you. Who didn’t see me any more clearly than I ever did. I don’t blame you because I don’t care anymore. You didn’t. You cared about your conveniences and your images and not about what it’d leave me with, when you trampled through my self image with your big muddy feet and out the same way. I didn’t know where I was going before, but I’m still more lost now.
I have no reason to be, now more than ever. I’m the closest to my ideal size I’ve ever been, have a good job, and a life ahead of me, with the chance to finally close a chapter of horrors I’d given up on leaving behind. But I’ve been so engrossed with eyeing what I want to escape, and that that walked away from me, that I never stopped to realize I had no idea who I was walking with. The face in the mirror that I wash with water, cleanse with Neutrogena, and pat dry, not rub, is a stranger, a stranger I can’t objectively decide is beautiful or ugly or completely nondescript, nothing at all. You’re too familiar for me to judge you one way or the other. You’re too alien to me for me to accept you, one way or the other. Who even are you? And when people call you beautiful, or ugly, or simply let their glances slide off your face… which one of them is lying? Do you even know?
Can you even know?
Why did you spend so much time working on your scars? You spent so much time on your arms to make up for cutting them open, hugging the scars close to compensate for making them, and then learning to love them, and all the time, you forgot to pay attention to your eyes, or your nose, or your lips, or anything people look at you, when they look at you. If they look at you.
Who the fuck are you?
Who are you?