March 10th, 2020
When you’re gripped by a dark thing, common wisdom dictates that you should take a look in the mirror.
Stare into the eyes of who you are and what you’ve become to reach an mutual understanding.
For me, the recognition and clarity never came through a mirror. It comes through photographs. Pictures of myself as taken through my shadows.
God, they are awful. I hate looking at any photo of myself from before a few years ago. I’ve mostly stopped looking at memories on social media for that insecure reason.
But something neat happened today.
I was in our bathroom, and there’s a photo of our family hanging on the wall. I accidently made eye contact with myself and my skeleton asked permission to leave my body. I quickly turned away, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, the way I am now.
It was like discovering a time machine. Like experiencing a microsecond miracle.
My reflection was looking at me who was also looking at a me, but a very different me.
Past me had no idea that one day I was going to be me now, and I was going to be looking at him in this moment in his life. And that it would make me now feel a whole spectrum of emotions when I did.
I agree with common wisdom. I think we all need to look at ourselves in the mirror with regularity and acute attention.
But if you’re like myself and just can’t do it most days, start with a photograph.
And let time do its thing: to either heal you, or warn you.