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  • Looking at my own face in the mirror I sometimes feel that someone else is staring back at me, I don’t recognize myself in the mirrored image. The face I see is allegedly mine, the woman in the mirror is supposed to be me, but she isn’t.

    When I’m not wearing my contact lenses I can see that there’s a resemblance, her face looks more familiar when it’s partly blurred. But there doesn’t seem to be any ambiguity in her. She looks plain and unremarkable, her most striking feature being her evasive eyes. Now, if she would only allow us to maintain eye contact long enough for me to recognize some sort of weakness in her, or pain, or doubt, or longing, or broken dreams, or even giddy joy, some sort of truth. Her sole task is to capture what’s inside me, but she fails miserably.

    This reticent creature makes me very angry. She is wearing her face as some sort of attire, rigorously buttoned up. I want to undress her, strip off her self-imposed affectation, disrobe her of her feigned, disarming expression. I want to see what’s underneath; I want her face to reflect the scars, the fear, and the ugliness that would shine through if we were really the same person.

    I can’t help but think that if hers is the face people relate to when they meet me, it’s no wonder I often feel misinterpreted. She appears confident, almost challenging, and at times even irreconcilable. I suspect it’s just a cover, not her true colours, I think she may be better than me at hiding our shortcomings and our fear of being unworthy.

    She is inaccessible; it may be my fault. For years I avoided mirrors, denying her existence, concealing her, condemning her to peek at the world through a curtain of wild hair. Then, in a desperate attempt to reconcile with her, I cut my hair off and released her. But we had grown apart, unable to even out our differences.

    The truth of the matter is that my face doesn’t seem to suit me very well, and unlike an unbecoming dress or an unflattering pair of pants, it can’t come off. I can’t alter it, I can’t hand it in and say it doesn’t fit, nor can I hide it in the back of my closet. I have to keep wearing it; I have to find a way to relate to it, to her, the stranger that lives inside my mirror.
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