There was an awkward moment between her thoughts and emotions, almost as though she was about to drown in despair. For quite sometime now she had struggled to find herself. For days, she had felt as though the image in the mirror was only but a reflection of who she was. She had fumbled and startled to discover who she was again. She had tossed and turned trying to remember what it felt like to be herself again, but even the pitch darkness and silence of the night betrayed her. If anything, it mocked her for the woman she had become.
She tried to remember what it felt like to be happy. She desired to see herself smile from the heart once more, but that was all it was, a desire. Her smile had grown eerie and unrecognisable, but so was her body. For many nights, she lay awake dreaming about what could have been and the future she could have had, but then there is no future without a past and a present. Her memories were fading. Slowly by slowly, she began to lose herself. Parts of her that were dear and treasured, began to disappear. Soon they had become non-existent.
The present seemed like a nightmare, her dreams and goals had been turned into thoughts she once had. For minutes she would clench her fist so hard as though trying to break free from something; her reality, but life isn’t a dream that fades away by the twinkle of an eye.
She had grown dark circles beneath her eyes. Her fair skin that used to glow once upon a time, was now wrinkled and dry, that not even the rays of the sun kissing her cheeks would make it glitter one more time. All this, not because of old age or some chronic disease whose scientific name is beyond the pronunciation levels of a ten-year-old, but because of the experiences the valley of life had put her through. Her caller bones had sunk in so deep and her body had grown so thin, pale, and freckled that she looked like someone who had been starved for a period not less than a year.
Not that she had been eating anyway, both her appetite and sleep had deserted her that she sought comfort in being a night owl, drowning herself in the pile of work before her, trying to forget she existed for a purpose. Her life had become nothing but a silhouette of what it used to be.
For years, she had surrounded herself with people she considered friends, some she even valued as family. For years, her life experience had brought some of them together and pushed others far apart. Many admired her for her spiritual nature and her undying ambitious spirit. Some thought her flawless skin was her best quality. While others thought her beautiful smile and vibrant nature carried the day. Every day, she sought to find herself, collecting tiny little pieces and putting them together to identify who she was. Blindly, she followed people’s opinions of who she was and who she was supposed to be. For a period of time, she lost herself, so focused on trying to be who others thought she should be. Her ideas of who she should be got overpowered and overshadowed.
There was never room to accommodate her personality and desires or rather she never made room.
As she stared in the mirror, she questioned just how important she was to the people she considered so dear to her. If truly she mattered to them, how comes no one ever noticed to what extent she was drowning in her own darkness? On the days when she cried her heart out at night and showed up to work the next day with red swollen eyes, no one questioned her petty excuses. On days when they saw her self-harm marks on her arms, no one bothered to ask. It’s interesting how mysterious life can be but It’s more unbelievable that it took a stranger to set her free from her own prison.
As she looked at her own mirrored reflection for the last time, the stranger’s words lingered at the back of her head.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, exercise some kindness,” she’d said, “learn to take it a day at a time.”
Perhaps it was time to pick up the pieces.