Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Or What Happens When You Blink?
Did it ever happen to you?
You look in the mirror and there is that person, unrecognisable to you, looking back. You wonder: who the heck is that woman starring at me from the other side (subconsciously wishing: whoever that is, I hope it’s not me!).
This kind of thing happens to me all the time.
And it all started twenty years ago.
Twenty years ago I blinked.
It happened when I was wearing pink bunny slippers, curl papers in my hair and was downing a gallon of red wine straight from the bottle. At that time I was sharing an apartment with two of my girlfriends and just started the totally bewildering chapter of student life.
Without any doubt this was the best time ever. Away from home, parental supervision (while still relying on their financial contribution), free from the leash of the perfect daughter, the good girl, the straight-A student and out in the wild of big city autonomy. Not that I was a wild party girl or anything like that, but the sudden burst of freedom I experienced back then would transform even the most shy wallflower into a untamed beast.
Suddenly, without any warning (I mean nobody can prepare you for the life experiences awaiting you on your journey into adulthood, not even the best of parents), you entered a world of loose commitments, elephantine hangovers and more or less legal experimentations. A total latitude, carte blanche to do the most outrageous things. Liberty of the young, bold and stupid (or as they say – beautiful).
But then, damn it, it happened – I had to blink.
And well, let me tell you Bruce (or Caitlyn Jenner for that matter), it seems like you’re not the only out there one being stuck in an unwanted body. Me too.
That ill-fated moment when I had to close my eyes for a split second, I woke up and all of the sudden I was in somebody else’s body. I expected to be a little familiar with ageing. But this woman looking at me back has wrinkles all over her face, eye-lids folding over her eyes, skin sagging in the most unappreciated places and bosom descending down to her knees for heaven’s sake!
And all this while inside I’m a 19-year-old innocent little flower, free like a bird and mad as a March hare.
I’ve heard about people suffering from amnesia, and since I’m on the quest to figure out what happened, I suppose that that’s what occurred. I blinked, experienced a total blackout, twenty years passed by (meanwhile I got married, had kids, suffered from a nervous breakdown, discovered female midlife crisis), woke up and I was almost 41.
Or maybe it’s this condition called depersonalisation (anomaly of self-awareness)? That would explain my sudden suppression of memory and a sensation of disembodiment. Apparently, individuals who experience this traumatic shift of perception, divorce from their own personal physicality by sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions and behaviors as not belonging to the same person or identity. You look in the mirror and feel as though a stranger is looking back at you.
Or perhaps I’m playing a part in one of those movies like 13 going on 30, where you change identity and switch from being a teenager to being an adult, in an instant. And all of the sudden you’re Jennifer Garner being trapped in a 13-yearold girl’s body, expect reversed. That must be it! Since my life has been a constant tragicomedy from the moment I was born, it perfectly fits the part of being padlocked in an older woman’s body.
After I blinked
The craziest part is when the 19-year-old in me has to play serious and take care of the house and kids. I mean, for Pet’s sake I’m still just a kid myself! It hasn’t been long and it was me drinking milk straight from the bottle (or was it wine, don’t remember?), peeing in my pyjamas (after a heavy liquored night out), being carried home when unable to walk (self-explanatory), or dancing around naked in public (yeah, like only kids are allowed to do that?).
All of the sudden I have to act like a responsible adult: prepare dinners, do laundry, pay bills, supervise homework, read bedtime stories. When all I want to do is throw my cloths in the middle of the room, open a can of soda and bag of chips and watch TV all day (given that I’m already finished with my math revision for Monday’s test).
I mean the whole thing of being old, mature and grown-up sucks!
Yes, Bruce, Caitlyn, whoever, I’m not happy with the way my body looks neither. I want my old body back: with rosy cheeks, gleaming eyes, thick hair and flawless complexion. With working thyroid so I can eat cake all day without gaining weight. With intact liver, so that I can down a bottle of Champagne without feeling sick after. With working ovaries so I can make love all night without irritating discomfort. I don’t want to be that old lady that my birth certificate says I am.
And then I check in the mirror and there she is again!