You peer into the mirror, and you don’t recognize the person looking back at you. You want to ask, “Who the hell are you?” In your mind, you are still that gal with the long beautiful brown hair, nice olive skin and big brown eyes that will pop with just the right make-up. This could be the reason that you’ve held on to your clothes from that other time: the beautiful and flowy brown skirt with intricately embroidered blue flowers tastefully placed on one side of the skirt, and the matching blue keyhole blouse that hugged your figure perfectly. And let’s not forget the long black formal with strategic cut-outs that garnered the attention of all the queens at the LGBT holiday gala. You were so proud to be loved by the queens!
But, that’s not what you see in the mirror before you. Instead, you see a greasy head of brown hair that is in bad need of a hair cut. Your face is far chubbier than your imagination will allow. It stuns you to even look in the mirror. You have this strange impulse to dive into the mirror, in search of the girl you used to know. Surely, if you dig hard enough, you will find her.
In that other time, you could feel the effortless way that your clothes flowed around you as you walked. You knew that every part of your physical being was perfectly intact, and you knew when you walked into a room you could command attention. But, the perfect physical being on the outside was a shell for the internal deceit taking place inside.
You can only run from yourself for so long, eventually it all catches up with you. In essence, that’s how one can go from belle of the ball to looking like a woman on the edge of falling into the abyss of inpatient psychiatric care. You run into people you knew when you were belle of the ball. They pass you by because they do not recognize you. You know when someone passes you by because they want to pretend they don’t know you, when that happens there’s that nanosecond flicker of recognition in their eyes before they look away. But, these people just look past you as if they’ve never met you. Part of you is glad to forgo the humiliation in front of them, though the humiliation is still there inside of you. You know they don’t recognize you because you look incredibly different from that other time, the faraway other time that feels like a fairy tale that happened to someone else.
Somehow, some part of you knows that your current life is a purer one from the previous belle of the ball sham of a life. But, purity does not mean it is easier, or painless. In fact, it seems the more truth you find the more pain there is to sort through. In those moments when the dissociation and PTSD make you feel heavy enough that you can hardly sit up in your chair, you can’t help but wish that you were still in that blissfully ignorant sham of an existence. At least you looked great.