the girl who lives inside the mirror

When she stands naked in the bathroom, she closes her eyes. Focus. The floor buzzes under her feet and insider her ears. Focus. When she closes her eyes, she cannot see herself.

When she looks in the mirror, splintered cherries sprout on her skin like needlepoints. Her eyebrows grow unevenly because she pulls them out by fingertip when she’s anxious. Focus.

When she looks down, she sees her stomach like a Thanksgiving dinner plate. Her thighs are two thick white triangles, her calves packets of hotel jelly. And she keeps forgetting to put a Band-Aid over the sores on her left ankle. They are a green and cellophane telescope into her flesh.

“If you’re fat, then what am I?” I don’t know.

When she stands in the shower, she revolves like a door to the subway station. But she is immobile; a hay in the needlestack. She wonders why she feels this way tonight. (Luckily, she never remembers to look at herself in the showerhead until it’s too late.)

When she wakes up, so does the girl living inside the mirror. “Focus.”

She leans over the sink and wonders if anyone can tell.

When she was at work, the computer turned black and someone was standing on the other side of the monitor. Who is that? It took her too long.

When she goes to sleep, she cannot see her string cheese fingers or cranberry crater face.

When she steps on the scale, she knows exactly what she will see.

Ninety-nine. Focus.

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the city that exposed me: d.c.

This past spring I visited Washington D.C. I was presented a variety of experiences that were very new to me (do not go to China Town on a Saturday night) and gave me insight to how strangers operate their lives on a daily basis (the monotonous subway system, the dazzling mosaic of flickering lights across the nighttime streets).

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In my family, I am usually pinned with the nickname “city girl,” which, while appropriate, seems slightly unwarranted. I do crave visits to the city (a splendid break from the predictable, small-town life I live), but this is usually on day- or weekend-trips. In D.C., I spent almost a week. Yes, some of this time was dedicated to touristy attractions and museum days, but it was the closest I’ve gotten to sampling city life with the tip of my tongue, at it was, initially, at least, not exactly what I expected.

Without really warning myself beforehand, I was secretly hoping to discover something about myself in the city. I approached it with a blithe fantasy that the streets would unravel before me like an exquisite velvet carpet. I wanted the city to grab my hand and force me into a long, ferocious affair. It’s no plot twist that this is not necessarily what happened.

“I always felt like once I got to the city, I would fall in love at once. I thought I would feel fearless and bold and independent, and learn to accept even the bad parts. So when I ascended the escalator from the underground streets, I kind of thought it would be an affirmation of what I’d hoped for so long. And my first sight was of fast food wrappers littering the concrete.”

(reflections made on my first night, from my journal)

After another day I recovered from this mild shock, most likely because it was spent in the (freezing) museums rather than on the unfortunate and sketchy streets of China Town. All the same, I couldn’t help but feel a bit left out, which was kind of ridiculous, because no one was actually excluding me from anything.

“Despite this, I feel slightly like a woman who has not found God, sitting in on mass.”

(reflections made on my second night, from my journal)

This melancholy mood did not prevent me from having a wonderful trip. These waves of consternation usually hit at night when I returned to my hotel, but during the days I was generally occupied by and fascinated with the city.

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This city that exposed me will undoubtedly be the source of future posts, but for now I will part with a particularly forlorn poem that I wrote on my second night.

Why do I feel

out of place –

pennies in a fountain –

wishes made in vain,

glimmering dully in an artificial  current.

Why does nothing

call my name

but a moment

when I don’t have a camera.

Will something come

and make me whole?

Beside the point,

I think I could

fall in love

with someone like you.

(all photos belong to and were taken by me)

an introduction

I could list out hobbies and preferences and include a picture of myself, but I would probably give you a better idea of who I am with my writing. Recently I was instructed to write a five-sentence essay describing myself, my dreams, and my experiences. Below is the final product.

Sunday morning: wake up early, play the keyboard, study, go for a run. Meanwhile, wish you were a little more adventurous. A flock of ideas stream through the back of your mind as the hours flick by, but save them for later; you consider who blinks back at you on the wall. Take a shower – thoughts seems to align under the faucet. Night falls and the stars speak, and you lie in bed, and resolve to run a little farther tomorrow.