She walked past the frame of her shower cubicle into her room. The room was still hot from the shower she had just taken and the mirrors still masked with settled steam. With her palm she wiped of part of the steam so she could see herself. She stood there for a while staring into her reflection as thoughts traced her mind. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d actually looked at herself in a mirror. All she had done is take the quick ‘does my butt look big? and do I have something in my teeth? glance every morning before leaving the house. But not today. On this night there was something different.
She felt a sensation rise under her skin and with that she dropped her towel letting it meet the ground in a scandalous rest. Slowly she walked out of the bathroom and into her adjoining room. She could feel goosebumps rise on her skin as she moved to the cooler environment. Her mind was somewhere else…Distracted…Unbothered by the cold… Disconnected.
Finally,there she was standing in front of a full length mirror fully naked… Vulnerable and exposed. She looked into the mirror and what she saw surprised her. Her fingers weakly traced her silhouette and she found herself unable to contain the build up of intensity. She broke down into tears. She hated her reflection.
The girl in the mirror was lost. She was simply a body with no sence of identity. All she saw was an afro,a crusifix necklace,a beautiful face and tiger stripes on thick thighs. She hated that she didn’t know the girl in the mirror. She didn’t know herself. The description she’d give about herself was from external influence. Some stuff she wasn’t even sure she stood for. Her soul was crushed by the blank reflection in the mirror…
She leaned in towards the mirror meeting her palm with that of the stranger in the other side and with a strained whisper asked ‘who are you?’
What happened to her seems to be happening more often to people today.It is ,in my opinion, the reason why so many millenials are considered rebellious. We simply wake up one day realising we don’t know who we are. We look into a mirror and the reflection is that if a stranger or in worse cases nothingness.So we go out of convention while trying to find answers.
We are brought into this world with a given identity. From gender to race and even religion. Constantly fed with information about who we are from external influences. In the end we grow up strangers to our own selves. Ignorant of our true identity.
Since we can’t change some things like race or even ethnicity we have to embrace such things but realise that although we are identified by them doesn’t mean they are what define us. We can’t be locked up in stereotypes of identities we’ve been given by the world. It’s time to know who you are for yourself. Follow a religion not because you were born into it but because you believe it. Wear your afro cause you want to not because it’s a trend for african women, don’t be a good wife cause you’re a woman but be one out of passion for family and if you don’t feel like family then don’t have one and be cool with that.
In my opinion the rising number of people with tattoos and piercings is a result of people trying to define their own identity.(ofcourse there’s the lot that gets tattoos on a drunken spree or as a dare that’s still okay). I think millenials are trying to create their own identity and when they find any form of answer they want to hold on to it. To brand themselves with it as a reminder of who they really are.This shows in their dressing, lifestyle,habits and actions quite radically.
I guess it’s about time we look in the mirror and ask ourselves ‘who am I?’ and make sure we can answer that question in truth. So go on do what you must but in all you do find yourself. Don’t let a stranger be your reflection.