In The Mirror

When talking about appearances for whatever reason, I always manage to sneak in this question: When looking in the mirror, what do you think?

Do you instantly criticize something on your face? Do you feel the need to adjust or fix your appearance? Do you look with a glance and then immediately look away for no reason?

Do you compare yourself to the person you are crushing on to evaluate whether or not you’re a good match? Do you wish that the face you had belonged to someone else? Do you lean in to look at your pores and try to imagine yourself without them?

Those were the concerns that I usually got when I asked my conversation partners this, and I, Cheshir, as a self-centered person, could not understand where they were coming from, so I kept asking different people the same question. No, more than that, it stemmed from my own behavior when I stood in front of a mirror, a behavior that I’ve had ever since I was a child.

Usually, when faced with a mirror as a child, I was in a hurry. I wanted to get in, clean my hands, and get out. In the brief moment where I’d look up and catch the eye of my own reflection, I’d think — as though we were in conversation — “that was fun, huh? Do you look like you are having fun?”

It was this inexplicable question that I always asked in front of the mirror. “Do you look like you are happy?” “Do you look angry?” “Is this what sadness looks like?” “Was that game actually fun?”

Maybe I’ve always felt alienated by my own body, who knows.

But this question would be asked and I would answer it, then forget the whole interaction until I fell asleep.

As I grew older, the interactions with my mirror-image changed from questions to comments.

“You look like you’re happy now.”

“I think you’re happy.”

“You’re handsome anyway.”

“You have good eyes and a good mouth.”

Somehow, the questions turned into instructions, and it was when I was a teenager that I began to always smile at my reflection, like confirming that the person reflected there was myself with a signature of sorts.

I wonder why, I wonder why, I really wonder why.

I’ll say, I do have a sense of disassociation when it comes to myself. I am Cheshir and Cheshir is I, but sometimes Cheshir is Cheshir and I am null. Am I the driver of this body, or does this body drive me? When people see me smile, do they think I am happy? If they think I am happy, am I happy? Do they see these things that I cannot feel, and if they see it, can I be it? Can Cheshir be in charge full-time, and can I be null forever?

What can I do to disappear from my reflection completely? What is there to do if I don’t want to be seen? How do I tear off this motionless stone behind my eyes so that everyone else can also see the nothingness that I see?

Presently, when I look in the mirror, there is a sense of satisfaction and cooing as I look at myself. My facial expressions become more frivolous, more flirtatious. I feel the need to feel the skin on my face with my hands. My hair should be brushed back to show off my forehead and brows. There’s a glow on this skin that is irresistible to myself — I wonder if it is a new self-preservation tactic, but it is working. I am no longer itching to leave this body.

I call myself narcissistic and self-centered, and I am, but is this narcissism? Why does it feel like I’m trapping myself?

Yes, that may be it. I might just be trapped. This so-called narcissism is just a cover-up. I should be much worse, I don’t know what’s going on.

I talk to myself in the mirror, but ‘myself’ responds, what do you think of that? When you speak to your reflection, does it reply? I’m able to control both speakers, but I am also capable of comprehending that these two speakers are separate entities, neither me nor them. An us, perhaps I can call it an us.

I’ve said all this with sincerity, do you plan on ignoring me? Us?

I’m the one writing now, you should be listening.

Are we the same person? Are we different? Are our reflections the same?

Who are you? Who am I? Who are we?

I think they will only appear in front of a mirror; the camera is no good.

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