A Startling Reflection

by Rie

I

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror the other day.

It is not that I don’t look in the mirror. It is that my face is practiced when it is studying itself. Something in itself shifts to form an image I prefer. Which explains why I was surprised by this glimpse. I froze, in fact, to allow myself a better study of myself.

“Is this how people see me?” I wondered.

Then, I walked away. Forgetting what I had looked like but remembering how it felt.

II

I am in a new house for the next four months. I’m saying goodbye to the nomadic life, for the moment. My new housemates are foreign to me as housemates. I do not yet know how to interact comfortably with them.

It strikes me as strange that the self I see is their perceived self, not their actual self, not even (necessarily) their projected self. It is because I am outside of them that the self on display can only be what is perceived.

This should be obvious. But the fact sits on my consciousness because I feel it is important in understanding their humanity.

III

I consider my own self.

Not to be philosophical.

I considered my self because I aim to be as transparent as possible. I used to pride myself on communication. I no longer do. In trying to be transparent, I kick dust in the air, trying to explain every corner and crevice of an ambiguous sentence.

Nonetheless, I try to be transparent. Such that if I told you “black”, I would have told the next person “black”, not merely “the darkest shade of grey”.

This is true for all except one thing.

I am most vulnerable with regard to relationships. Friends have told me that, when I am in love, it is plainly stated on my face. Which is strange because it isn’t plainly stated in my heart.

(Is this the first time since the breakup I have contemplated love in writing? Strange.)

Anyway, now that the prospect is plainly stated in my heart, and has been for a while, I’m willing every thread of my being to be pulled into alignment.

Because, here, I am dreadfully inconsistent.

To one person, I say, “Pink.” To another, “Blue.” Yet, to another, “79.”

When I think of these moments, I wish I could have watched my own face. Someone must know I’m lying.

Surely, someone must know.

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