My Magic Mirror

Susan

I often wonder who the girl is whose face I examine every morning in the large mirror hanging above my desk. In some ways I do feel as if I know her, but only on a superficial level: the same way we think we know the actors in our favourite soap operas. We may know every explicit detail of the lives of the characters, but the true personality of the actor themselves is a huge mystery which we have little or no hope of ever solving.

A mirror?s sole purpose is to reflect. In my case, though, mirrors seem to reflect my persona rather than my personality. This, thankfully, indicates that the mirror sees only what the rest of the world does; exactly what I want to be seen.

The mirror in question in large, clear, and attractively decorated, signifying its importance in my life. This is not to say that most of my spare time is spent gazing lovingly into it, rather that it is with the help of my mirror that I adopt my outward persona every morning. While standing in front of it I transform myself from the plain, boring nobody who I fear more than anyone else in the world to the outgoing, bubbly, mature creature I wish I really was. For me, putting on my make-up is not the simple task my friends seem to regard it as; it is the carefully perfected art or creating my disguise.

It is only when I am wearing this disguise that I feel I am a ?normal? person, that I fit in with the rest of our critical society. On the rare occasions when I have not adopted my disguise (only when I am in no danger of meeting any acquaintances) I become like a ?Magic Eye? picture; you have to look really hard in order to see the complete image.

The reason I am so unwilling to remove my mask in public is that, to be quite honest, I am terrified of what is underneath. As a result of my creating this mask, I have never acquainted myself with my thoughtful, emotional, sensitive character traits which I try so desperately to conceal. I am not sure whether I like that girl very much, and I am too busy trying to hide her to have the time to find out.

I have not always been divided like this. When I was younger I somehow managed to let all the aspects of my character show, resulting in a fairly even mix of the side of me which I hate and the side I promote. I would look in the mirror every morning and see a happy, balanced individual who looked forward to the future and was certain of her course in life. It has only been in the last few years that the change has taken place. Whether it is due to getting older, making new friends, and trying to organise my life, I don?t know. Perhaps it is my dream of academic success that drives me to try to be as socially successful as possible.

At the moment everything seems to be hectic; the stress of exams, deciding which university to go to and which course to take, the gradual transition from sheltered childhood to personal independence, and on top of all that, the inner struggle between persona and personality which almost drives me crazy sometimes. In a way I wish I could go back to the time when I didn?t have to worry about such things, yet in other ways I am happier now than I ever was then. I have considerably broadened my circle of friends, I get on better with my parents now that I have grown out of my childhood selfishness, and I am able to make things happen for myself, like choosing which subjects to study and thinking about where I will live when I go to university.

It may seem strange to say that I have no idea who I am, but I must admit that it is true. Although I want to experience as much as possible in my life, I am also terrified of the future because I don?t know what it holds for me. Maybe all this contradiction is the reason people are often so surprised by the things that I say and do.