Mirror Image

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Written by Alaina Garcia

I stared at myself, hoping that just once, I’d see something different, that I could be someone different. Nothing changed. I took in a deep breath, and I thought to myself thoughts I would not wish on my worst enemy. I wished that I was thinner, prettier, funnier, but that wish felt like it had sunken down beneath the floorboards and I began to feel something in the pit of my stomach. I started feeling nauseous like I couldn’t look at myself any longer or I’d disappear.
I glanced at photos of myself that had been resting on the countertop, and no matter how hard I tried to filter it out, it pushed through my barriers, saying in a young tone, this isn’t you. Do you have no idea who you are? Do you have no idea who you are? The voice kept repeating itself until it abruptly halted. I was compelled to look in the mirror, and what I saw was someone quite different. She resembled me in every aspect, but she wasn’t me; it seemed like a hallucination that Icouldn’t wake up from.
I shook my head and attempted to splash water on my face, but nothing helped. The mirror did not say anything, but instead gave me a glance that spoke more than words could. She appeared to be blissful as if she were a dream, but I soon realized that she was indeed me. She resembled me in every aspect, from her jet black hair to her semi-ripped slacks. I talked but received no reaction, and that was reassuring in some ways; I guess you could say it gave me a reason tosmile because that was me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to wake up if this was a dream.
Was this what they saw when they looked at me? Is this what I was missing when others said I was gorgeous or beautiful? I began to notice a difference…as if the wish I’d made had slid not only into the floorboards, but also into the Earth, and the Earth had bloomed the desire into a flower. I felt like I was someone and not just anyone. I felt like myself and recognized that this was what I needed, that she was what I needed to see in order to become the person I wanted to be. I heard my mother’s quiet voice, and even though it was muted, I understood everything she said. I took another look at myself as I walked out the door, took another big breath, and held it, and then I knew. I had a new feeling, and it felt like confidence. But, it was much stronger, and it had a power that I thought no feeling or emotion could give. I finally put it into words and it slipped off my tongue like I had been saying it for years: the word was “motivation”.