I remember my first middle school dance and looking at my reflection in the giant mirror in the girl’s locker room, standing next to the girl I had carpooled. Her name isn’t important, but it was Megan. We’d recently became close and she would often invite me to her house to revel in the pubescence of the internet so it only made sense we would ride together to our first school dance. This is also the first time I realized that I mimic gestural or auditory traits with people I am nervous around and want to impress (desperately wanting to be liked). A habit I still fall into sometimes when I feel unsure of myself. I was always fearful of disapproval, whether I was conscious of that or not, it made for often anxious or awkward behavior on my part. I have forever sought approval from my peers. Sometimes loosing ownership of myself in their presence to be like them. Maybe, I am simply, an absorber. It’s something I cannot help, even on my best days. My opinion of where I exist on this spectrum changes daily; hourly.
But I get ahead of myself because what has socked me about this memory is its tangible part: the sight of my reflection, and I get ahead of myself again because it wasn’t the sight of my reflection, first. It was the sight of hers. She looked to me as if she was drawn and outlined with a fine tip pen. She was so defined and clear; complete. I looked at my own reflection trying to mimic how she was adjusting her hair and looking at her face, I looked blurry. I couldn’t make out the lines of my own face; my mouth, my lips, my eyes – they saw a great fog.
That image has stuck with me as a cardinal in the circus of my reflections.
I am now 34 years old. I took this image when I was 32 and it knocks my socks off today to be brought back in time over the sight of my, literally, blurred out face. How much do I still feel like 12 year old Ashleigh? I am happy to say hardly at all. At least not today. At least not right now. It’s been a recent Ecdysis that looks more like a lizard’s than a snake: pieces remain.