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Dear mirror, please tell me why should I trust you?

Open letter to the mirrors in my life

By Bérengère BalteauPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
I do not own this image. I found it on Canva.

"For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increase. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist." - Vladimir Nabokov

There are days when I wonder what happened between us. I used to long for you when you projected a reflection of myself, and the only thing that mattered was the bright smile I could see. It used to define my idea of self. I used to look for you when in dance class; you would be the one to comfort my need for greatness, my need to better myself at something I loved and cherished so much. I would see in you the need to alter movement and my legs' placement, just to match my teacher's instructions. I would look at you and see: a dancer. I would look at you and see: a girl loving what her body could do.

Yet, today, I keep wondering what happened between us.

I know you are not responsible for me leaving dance classes behind; life was the reason. However, if I hold you in my hands and let you fall, you will break because it is inscribed in your essence: you are a breakable material. You do not think, you do not talk and yet… when I look at you, you no longer reflect what you used to. So why should I trust you if when I ask:

Mirror, mirror, show me what I look like? You never answer the same.

"It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being." – John Joseph Powell

I have been thinking a lot lately about the shapes and forms you have transformed yourself into. When I was younger, you were only a breakable, simple mirror. You were present in my bathroom, in the car, in the shops, in my dance class… But today, it feels like you have twisted yourself in ways I don't fully understand. Do not get me wrong, I am no fool. I know you are in the pocket of my jeans (when there is enough space for you) or in my bag, notifying me every time you want me to look at you and think: why do I look like this and not like that? But, you see, this is where resides my problem with you. I don't even know all shapes you can take today.

As I previously said, I am aware of your non-thinking state, that you are just an object. So naturally, therefore, your only design is to project. But why has that projection changed so much? It has to the point that I do not trust you anymore (while still unconsciously relying so much on you).

You see, I think perhaps the shapes you have taken along the years have changed, as much as what my brain has come to search for in you. In other words, the projection you give me today may be the result of what my brain has been unconsciously shaped into searching for in you. Today, when I look at you, I pick up every detail I do not like about what I see in you. I see but don't acknowledge what used to make me say: this is unique, making me a special person. No, today, I see what society has taught me to dislike. It's a shame, isn't it?

"What does a mirror look at?" – Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

I do not trust you. Should I be sorry for it? No, I am mad. How come I had to realise that what I see in you is the projection of years of self-hatred? All of that nourished by society's beauty standards I have never matched, secretly hidden in my unconsciously wired brain.

Sophia Nam wrote: "The mirror is the worst judge of true beauty". So, I do not trust you, as I do not entirely trust the unconscious part of my brain who will hate what you make me see.

But do I rely on you? Yes. I can't help it.

Realising that you are not the key to the truth is far from accepting it and embracing it. And do I know what to do about it? Absolutely not. But every day is a chance for us to try to rewire what I see and, most specifically, what I want to see. Every day is different, just as every reflection of myself, warped by external voices that will shape my vision. And yet, every day, the knowledge of this grows inside of me. It has not yet reached my eyes and the unconscious part of my brain, but I trust it will one day.

So, there are days when I wonder what happened between us. There are days when I see you and know that I shouldn't trust you. And days, when I see you, and I feel gorgeous when I don't even look at you in others. I used to long for you when entering dance classes, longing to see if my arabesque looked better than the previous session. And now, I crave for you to tell me: you are pretty.

With all my love,


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About the Creator

Bérengère Balteau

And I have spent hours wondering what to write here but, just like the sailor, I too, have found myself lost but always on my way. So I write, hoping that one day, my words will reach the red light above the cliff, and perhaps I'll know.

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  • Stacey Vellaabout a year ago

    Really interesting & insightful read, thanks for sharing!

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