Once I got out of the shower, I looked at the mirror and realized no one was looking back to me. I hadn’t become a vampire or anything, it was just the steam that had rendered the mirror blurry and nothing could be seen. For a few seconds, however, I tried to look at myself on there. I pierced the glass, the fog and the humidity, but there was no one on the other side. It was better that way, I thought. I had never really liked mirrors but now I felt almost compelled to look at my face whenever I crossed paths with one.
You see, I had accident a few months back and I got a very bad injury on my face. A piece of glass flew from the broken car window and slashed part of my right cheek. It was a deep cut and I lost a lot of blood because of it. Luckily, that was the most serious injury anyone received that day. No one died but I felt I was dying while they took me to the hospital and tried to save my face. And they did, they were really skillful at making my face look as if nothing had happened. A couple of days later, I was going home.
However, I had seen myself in a mirror as they pushed my stretcher through the hospital. For a moment, they left me by an office and inside; I was able to look at my face and how bad the injury was. At first, I was too distraught to even make a sound. But then, not even a minute later, I started screaming and crying. I tried to get off the stretcher but a male nurse grabbed me and held me against the moving bed while a female nurse came in with a syringe and injected me with something that made me fall asleep.
Hours later, I woke up in a dark bedroom. Everything had being done and I had no idea how many hours they had spent trying to save my face. I also had no idea they had been successful, so when I got off the bed and went into the bathroom to check on my face and so the bandages, the blood and the swelling, I never thought I would be the same ever again. I cried a little bit and then went back to bed. This time, I had no strength to scream or yell or do anything besides curl beneath the covers and let time pass.
The day they released me, the doctor took off the bandages and let me see myself on a small mirror. There was a lot of swelling still and some dried up blood but my face actually looked normal. I mean, it didn’t seem anything had happened, although I told him that I still felt the sting of the glass slashing my face. He told me it was a normal feeling to have and that I could go to the hospital’s psychologist if I needed any help with coping. I told my mother right there to take me home, as I had a greater urge to get to my bedroom than talking to some stranger about my feelings.
When I got there, I told my family I was going to sleep and asked them to not bother me for the rest of the day. I wasn’t hungry at all and just wanted to lie in bed for a long while. They had nothing to say against it, because who would? No one would ever go against the wishes of a person that has just been released from a hospital. So I went into my room, locked the door and just sat on my bed for a long time. I stared at different things, thinking about what had happened and what effect it had in me.
Once in a while, I remembered I was supposed to take off my clothes and put on pajamas or something. So I would take off one shoe and then stare at something for a while. And then take off the other shoe and stare for a while at something else. It took me hours to wake up from my daydreaming and get naked. When I realized I could see my feet, my penis, my chest and my hands, I realized what had been bothering me about all that had happened. Again, I stood up and walked to the closet.
On the door, on the inside part of the closet, I had a full-length mirror. I stood up in front of it, my bedroom a bit dark. I was tempted to turn on the lights or open up the curtains, by I didn’t. I pierced through that glass until I saw myself. I saw what I had seen for so long: a body I had always been at odds with. The body I had been born with and had tried to mold to no avail. I moved a little but my opinion of it didn’t change. It brought tears to my eyes, because I realized I was still that young boy from many years ago.
I had tried exercising in all sorts of ways. I had tried poses in pictures, different kinds of outlets. I had tried all sorts of things and now I was almost thirty years old and I had realized that all my fears and insecurities were still there. I could hear people talk and laugh and then the scar on my face would get larger and more visible, like a red crater on my face. My stretch marks looked brighter and my penis looked smaller. And then I grabbed a shoe from the floor and threw at the mirror, shattering in several pieces.
They found me on the floor, crying in silence with a piece of glass in my hand. My fingers were all bloody and my eyes were lost, far from that bedroom. They rushed me to the hospital naked, as they had found me, trying to prevent more blood to leave my body. I had used that piece of glass on myself.
I spent years in therapy, months in a special facility and countless hours trying to get over all of it. I’ve never been able to completely but at least I get to breath now, as never before. However, I now always stop at mirrors and pierce them with my eyes.
I do it in defiance of what they had done to so many others and to me. Of what I had done to myself because of the world, because of all the pressures coming from places I cannot even explain. I still feel it but I can now fight it. And I will keep on fighting as long as I can.