I stared in the mirror, eyebrows furrowed. I squinted my eyes, then opened them real wide. I looked my body up and down, turning at all different angles. Too chunky here, too thin there. Eyes too far apart; nose too big. I criticized every inch of my body. I glanced around my full body mirror; I had plastered pictures of beautiful women all around it that I had ripped out of magazines. I studied the pictures every time I looked in the mirror, which was often. No matter what I bought, changed, or fixed, I could never seem to be satisfied with myself.
I sighed deeply and placed my head on the mirror, palm to palm with my reflection. Maybe if my stingy parents would give me more money for clothing or makeup resources...
"Why do you torture yourself like this?" I jerked my hand off the mirror and turned around. No one was in my room but me. Maybe I was hearing things. I turned back around and looked into the mirror. "Your eyes are blind to what matters."
I gasped, cupping my mouth with my hand. My reflection in the mirror did not copy my movements. It was she who spoke.
"Who are you?" I asked, thinking I surely was going crazy.
"I'm you, obviously. I'm your reflection." My reflection placed her palm on the mirror. "Put your hand on mine." I didn't feel much fear- we were the same person, after all. I was overcome with curiosity.
As I placed my hand on the mirror, I felt warmth surge through my arm. As soon as our palms touched, the warmth I felt turned to heat, making my hand feel on fire. My reflection intertwined her fingers with mine, holding my hand in a death grip. She gave a quick pull and I was sucked into the mirror. The glass became like jello, and my body pushed through it with ease. It felt like a thick layer, but I was through it almost instantly.
As I landed on my own two feet on the other side of the mirror, I felt out of breath. My reflection let go of my hand. I looked around me; I was surrounded by stone walls, with only one path before me. Behind me was the inside of my mirror, and I could see my room. I could hear nothing; I wondered if my reflection and I were the only ones in here. I stood there staring at myself that stood before me, not knowing what to say.
"This is where I live, with the other reflections. Each of us has a cell where we sleep when our human part sleeps. We have many other rooms that stores important information about each of our human parts. This is part of my cell that you're in now." I gave a dissatisfied look because the place was so bland. My reflection began walking down the stone hall, so I followed.
We came to the end of the hall and it opened up into a large room. There were many other hallways that appeared to branch off of the circular shaped room. "Why am I here?" I asked, more than confused.
"You need to open your eyes. Just follow me." Each hallway opening was numbered. I began following myself to #3. We walked for a ways down the hallway and finally it opened up into another room. There were words chiseled all over the walls.
I moved closer to the wall and began reading. "Hair is too stringy...eyes are too small...eyes aren't spread out enough...thighs too unproportioned...too many freckles." I stopped reading for a moment, "What on earth is this?"
My reflection walked to another part of the wall and read out loud, "Too chunky here, too thin there. Eyes too far apart; nose too big. Sound familiar?" My jaw dropped. That's what I had said earlier that day, right before I had gone into my mirror. "Everything on these walls has been said by you. Every time you say something negative about yourself it automatically becomes etched into the wall of Sector Three. Come on, let's walk to Sector Nine." Speechless, I followed my reflection once again.
Sector Nine was identical to Sector Three, minus the writing on the wall. There were digitalized pictures hung on the walls identical to those I'd taped around my mirror. I looked them over, my eyes resting on one of my favorite pictures. It was of a blonde in a light pink sundress, sitting in a field of poppies. Her skin was so fair, unlike my freckled mess. Her nose was placed perfectly on her face, so elegant. "You think she's beautiful?" I nodded. "Just watch," my reflection ordered.
She placed her hand on the picture and I watched it come to life. The beautiful blonde was sitting on a couch in what looked like a living room. She was wearing sweats and a t-shirt, hair pulled up into a ponytail, but she still looked beautiful. I continued watching as a toddler came running through the room. "Mommy! Play truck?" He proudly held up a plastic toy truck. The blonde ignored him and turned on the TV. "Mommy! Play! Play!" the child was persistent. The blonde continued ignoring the pleas to play until she clearly looked annoyed. "Stan!" she yelled, "Come play with Joey. I'm busy. And bring me some sweet tea." The blonde was anything but polite. A man- Stan- walked in and handed the blonde a glass of sweet tea. He scooped Joey up into his arms. "Daddy will play truck with you!" he said enthusiastically. The blonde heard this and rolled her eyes. Then the images turned off and the original picture was back in its place.
"Outer beauty isn't everything," my reflection said, as if she was a shrink. "Your pink sundress beauty is ugly on the inside, off cameras."
"So why are you showing me this? Why do you care?" I asked, slightly defensive, but slightly guilty after seeing how the blonde acted.
"Because I'm the part of you that listens to your negative remarks in front of the mirror every day. I could show you real life clips about all the other girls from the pictures, and you would see that many of them act just like her." She paused, as if for effect. "We reflections are more than replicas of your physical appearance; we are also connected to your soul. I am part of your soul. That gives me the ability to see and feel the deepest parts of you." I stood there with a million things running through my head, but nothing coming out of my lips. "You would never treat a child the way that mother did." My reflection had a point; I loved kids. "You aren't like those models, not at all. You have a heart, and that is worth more than a pretty smile will ever be."
I sighed. "So maybe you have a point..." I said, feeling my cheeks redden a bit. "I just want people to look at me and think I'm pretty. If other people think I'm pretty, then I feel pretty."
My reflection shook her head. "You are pretty. And other people see that, because they know you're pretty on the inside. It is impossible to be pretty on the outside if you're ugly on the inside. After seeing the girl from your picture in real life, do you still think she's as beautiful as you deemed her before?" I thought about it and shook my head. She did seem rather fake now. "Good, then you have seen my point."
I felt pressure behind my eyes. Don't cry, don't cry, I coached myself mentally. A single tear slipped and rolled down my face. I had been so consumed with my body and trying to be beautiful that I really had some important things slip away. My parents and I were constantly fighting because I wanted more money, more "stuff." My friends said I was changing, and they were ignoring me. Maybe they had all been right, the entire time.
My reflection wiped the tear off my cheek, sending instant heat to my face as our skin made contact. "Don't cry," she smiled, "You aren't too late. You are far from the ugly creatures those picture girls are. It's time for you to go back now; you'll know what to do." My reflection gave my chest a push with both hands before I could respond, and I found myself racing backwards out of the room, down the hallways, and back to the other side of the mirror. In seconds my body was moving through the jello-like mirror and then I was standing on the other side- my side- of the mirror, in my own room again.
I felt a little shaky. I nervously put my hand on the mirror; my reflection did exactly as I. I sighed with relief, wondering if everything that happened was all in my head. "You know what to do," my reflection smiled at me. No, it definitely wasn't in my head. I looked at all the pictures around my mirror.
I smiled back at my reflection and one by one I began to tear the pictures down.