One of these days you will wake up and look in the mirror and you will think, “Who is that girl? Who’s that woman? Why is she looking at me like that from inside my mirror?” She’ll be tired and she’ll have bags under her eyes, her hair will be limp and she will frown out at you, even when you try to smile at her.
She will get dressed in front of you and she will forget to put on all the dresses that make her feel good about herself, and silently you’ll scream at her because you know she’s doing it wrong. She’ll put the wrong leg in first and she’ll miss the last hole when she buttons up her shirt. She’ll forget to brush her teeth, or will remember and not care. You can’t stop her though, all you can do is watch. Watch her destroy you.
As she eats breakfast you’ll be sickened by each bite, nauseated by the lukewarm coffee you can feel percolating in her belly. You’ll be tired just like her, and wish you could both lay down in bed and hold each other, even though you’ve only been up for an hour. She’ll read your desire and beg you, beg you, for a moment’s more rest. To lay your head back down on the pillow and close your eyes. Sometimes, you’ll forget to fight her, and you’ll crawl back into bed for the day.
You will sit in front of your computer screen with a blank Word Document and refresh Twitter until you think your eyes will bleed. You’ll see this other woman’s reflection, ghostly in the monitor, and her image will startle you, scare all the words you know right out of you. You will forget sentences, you will forget spelling. You will forget desire and you will forget why you sat down here and opened up your computer in the first place.
Staring out the window at the children running along the wall outside your apartment, you’ll wonder if they can see you, or if they’re looking at the same woman that’s been following you around. They’ll laugh and you’ll forget why that isn’t annoying. Hatefully, you’ll wish for them to fall, to be injured, to just go away. Hatefully, you wish the woman shadowing you would fall, be injured, just go away.
As it becomes night you’ll see her change into her stained sweats, ignoring the buzz of text messages, your friends asking her to come out for a drink. You bury the phone under a pillow, not wanting to take her out in public, for everyone to see your horrible little secret. That you forgot yourself, you forgot how to be you, how to not give a fuck, how to dust shoulders off. You forgot how to arch your sassy eyebrow, how to laugh loudly, how to put your shoulders back, how to feel like the dopest person in a room.
Sometimes, you’ll forget how to fight the troll that sleeps just under your bed. You roused her accidentally, because you were flippant or lazy or scared or just plain stupid, and you forgot how to make this demon masquerading as you go away. Under her toxic spell, you’ll start thinking maybe she’s the real you, even though you hardly recognize her. Terrified you can’t vanquish her, you’ll go to bed at night with all the lights on and the blanket pulled up to your chin, praying you’ll fall asleep even as you lay bug eyed and pumped with adrenaline until the dawn.
If you’re lucky though, one day you will look in the mirror and you’ll be so fed up you’ll squint your eyes so hard, and blur an image of yourself, as you used to be, as you really are, into existence. If you concentrate hard enough, want it bad enough, scream out loud and kick and writhe, that blur will coalesce into the whole person you were before. And once again, you will sleep soundly to the rhythm of the monster snoring under your bed.