What Do You Really See In The Mirror?
A piece written by Afrologik’s editor, Dav Peters
What Can You See?
The man across the hall, a paraplegic, cries out to get out of bed.
At the same time, I want little more than to never leave my covers and never be seen again.
Would, that I could, grant my mobility to him.
A young woman sits outside her college course, terrified to enter. Today’s test will determine if it’s worth the time to continue on or drop the course. Dropping it affects funding for subsequent semesters, and she wonders why she can’t have a mind that is better — more active.
Another student misses class altogether. His grade won’t take a hit from the test. His work has been impeccable to this point in class. Instead, he’s not even on campus, weeping in a dark corner of his room — too many thoughts to focus on any three, let alone one. He can’t shut off his mind and longs for a moment of respite.
Given the chance, they’d gladly grant exchange some of his “mental Godspeed” for her “cerebral serenity.”
Simultaneously, a thin teen and overweight teen wake in separate houses, sit at the edge of the bed, hang their heads in dread, head to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and hate who they see. A combination of society’s standards of beauty and their metabolisms — fast for one, slow for the other — have caused them to try and fail, time and time again, to be who they’re told they should be, robbing them of life’s precious moments.
Both think the other’s plight is an easy fix, and they can’t possibly understand how it feels. Both would happily carry some of the weight (or lack thereof) of the other, but they can’t.
Business Before Pleasure
A business woman hurries down a busy avenue to get to work after grabbing coffee. She’s impeccably dressed and carries a briefcase — no purse. Her mind races back to her husband and children — one boy and one girl, both adopted — recalling their lunches being packed and them preparing for their day. Out the door, she hugged them all, told them she loved them, and kissed her husband on the cheek. He leaned in, but she’s already gone. Arriving at work, she opens her briefcase to prepare for the morning meeting. And, she lets out a tiny sigh as her heart sinks, and she sees a small portrait of her truly beloved family at the dog park across town — herself, their corgi, their chihuahua, their great dane, and her old college roommate and lover of twenty years. Everyone involved knows about everyone else and their roles, but they also know she’d go nowhere in the business world without the facade, so they endure the double life for her sake. And, that tears her apart inside.
When No One Can See You
A few blocks from that very dog park, a church stands in stoic silence from without, but inside the pews are filled with a lively congregation — singing and swaying in time with the music conjured by the organist’s nimble keystrokes. His performance — so moving that the adherents feel the Holy Spirit enter them and return to Heaven above — is a conduit of pure love. After the service, the members of the church mill about in small pockets, discussing families and plans for later, but no one sees him. So, he leaves to his apartment, with no power, no water, no food, and no one to receive him, not even a pet.
She lives in plain sight, yet unseen, feeling love, yet hiding it away. He lives unseen, yet in plain sight, flowing with love, yet feeling none. And, they’d do anything to live the other’s life for just one day.
What Do You See In Your Mirror?
When we look into mirrors, we never see ourselves. We see reflections of ourselves. And, when we look at others, we’re just seeing reflections of them — from various angles. What we see is never the truth of their reality. To want what they have or are, is to want a two dimensional representation of what we desire.
In truth, we’re all broken. And, while one might see our situation as ideal, we know its struggles, just as they know the struggles of their situation. There is no perfect state, but to do our best to be at peace with it all. Fleeing from pain results in arrival at pain.
“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.”
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