Locked away in the bathroom mirror

Perspective piece on divided identities

Illustration by Micky Flores-Nieves

It starts small.

The natural rhythms that you both have just seem to contradict each other. You are ready to take on the world, she needs a second to make sure that the world isn’t going to break if you challenge it. So, you take the lead and sideline her. “She’s just a scaredy-cat, she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” you tell yourself every time she questions your choices. Before long, on the few occasions she has taken the spotlight, she’s been laughed off the stage by you and your friends.

You cut all ties and association with her after someone mistook her for you one too many times. To be fair, you guys are carbon copies, you look the same, you sound the same, you even have the same parents, brothers, sisters, friends, you share the same room, you share the same house, and you share the same body. But you made sure that you two couldn’t be more different. So she reluctantly resigns to be the face you have to reckon with every morning.

She is the part of you that you push all your insecurities, delusions, and self-hatred on, that way the you that everyone else sees can be light, bubbly, and absolutely delightful. You can be cool while she is stuck in the bathroom, waiting for you to return and look her in the eyes.

She is the crazy side of you that accidentally slips out every once in a while when she’s finally grown tired of being ignored. She is the weak part of you that cries herself to sleep at night. She is the sensitive part of you that feels everything ten times stronger than everyone else seems to.

She’s the reason your partner walked out on you. She’s the reason your mom doesn’t talk to you any more than an acquaintance would. And she’s the reason your dad keeps himself busy with work instead of spending time with you.

Or at least that’s what you tell yourself. It’s easier to blame her for everything that ever goes wrong because she can take it.

She’s been beaten, bruised, abandoned, and ignored for as long as she can remember, but she still looks for the bright side and she still wants to show herself. No matter how hurt she has gotten, she is the first person to step back into the limelight. And she never ever gives up on anyone. Ever.

And that’s why she’s really your best version of yourself. She’s your best friend, and she is cheering you on from the reflective prison cell that you have confined her to.

Finally, you’ve decided to break down the wall between you and her, to embrace her in an unending hug, and you welcome her home. With a swift punch, splintering, shattering pieces of glass fall to the floor.