I’m standing in a room alone. It’s dark, foggy, shadowy and gray. Before me, a mirror stands singularly. It’s the centerpiece of the room. It’s as if my presence there is more triviality than importance. Everything revolves around this monument of reflective glass. It haunts me.
Though it has no voice, I can almost hear it calling me into its solitary world. The room begins to spin. I hear jeers and laughter. Whispers from the past combine into dissonant noise that surrounds me, spinning, spiraling with noxious intent. They wrap me up and I find myself face to face with this fragile monster and I allow myself to look deeply.
The image before me is clear at first, just plain ol’ me with my pale, freckled skin, sharp features, ordinary hair, small, uneventful eyes, thin lips. As I stare, the image begins to change before me. From my perspective, it’s as if it’s zooming in and becoming clearer. It feels as though I’m really seeing myself for the first time. Every line, dimple and extra pound expands. I never realized how much weight I’d really accumulated with my last pregnancy. I’d never realized how pallid and sallow looking my skin had become. My long, natural hair used to be beautiful and flowing. I always thought it was lovely. Now it looks stringy, unkempt and dull. I feel as if there should be a law about letting oneself look like this. What have I allowed myself to become?
From the other side, I see this whole scene unfold. Suddenly, I’m an outside observer watching the event as if it were a movie playing in 3D. I still feel everything but reality is with me and I am aware.
As she stands before the mirror the glass shifts and shakes, contorting slowly, imperceptibly to her. Cracks and jagged, broken edges jut out in various places causing her reflection to look more like something she might see in a fun house mirror than true form.
I’m standing behind the broken glass watching her weary face, hearing her thoughts as she contemplates her new diet and exercise program (which will start TOMORROW). I feel her shame. She wants to hide, to blend in with the crowd just outside this room and pray they don’t see her at all. If she can avoid being seen until she fixes everything wrong with her, maybe she’ll be okay. Maybe the monster will release her from this prison. But some things she can’t change. What then?
From behind the broken glass, I see her. I see who she really is. She is beautiful. I see her dignity, her faith, her strength, the sparkle in her eye, the grace in her smile. She is so much more than the lies the mirror keeps telling her.
Suddenly, the room is clear. The fog and gray are now light and clarity. I open my eyes, whole. I am home. I can still feel the glass like a distant presence. I know it’s there. I know it will fight to pull me in again but I am no longer afraid. I know now it’s broken. It has no hold on me.
Now I will look for it. When I see it appear, maybe I can have the opportunity to reach through and help another captured soul through to the other side. Behind the broken glass there is a world of freedom.