There isn’t much I remember about being thirteen, except a body that was bouncing off my clothes marked with breaking skin disease and a bald head. With nothing to etch my name upon, I studied hard and hesitated to see the mirror in between for my reflection was anything but a sign of boilerplate accommodation in the universe. It was as intimidating as a wrong preposition glued to a sentence, with nowhere else to go. I kept topping the table and avoiding the mirror in the eyes of others. I continued walking and stumbling in the fog of life hoping for things to get better.
At the age of twenty-two, I learned how to apply mascara. It changed the way my eyes flashed, with a playful soul in the center sending out vibrations of love and longing. It was around the same time when I started my first job and spent most of my morning in front of the mirror. Boys were interested in me. I was happy. I was blending in, earning a living and thinking that I can read people. I spent time on myself. I read, I traveled. I became sophisticated – covering my mouth every time I wanted to laugh forcing it to giggles and smiles. Life appeared free and magical yet I had no idea where I was going or even moving.
I was a mother of two at thirty-three, settled in life with car keys in one hand and spatula in another. Mornings, afternoons, evenings got sucked into domesticity and nights became non-existent. I dropped on the couch while watching movies and stayed alert in my dreams. I learned to like myself in sweat pants, overgrown clothes and a constant absence of style. Sweat became my eternal perfume. I was exhausted beyond words, I could not read people anymore, I could not blend in for there was no time and I stayed at home taking care of everything but me. Yet I was satisfied – I laughed aloud and cried hard. The mirror collected dust and the reflection became hazy. I didn’t care if I was moving or not. When I saw myself everyday in the eyes of ones who loved me; I knew I was at the right place at the right time.