Several minutes before New Years Eve 2015, I sat at a table sipping one of the best cocktails I've ever had, doing something I had done frequently that year, looking something up on my cell phone.
As I scrolled, skimming through google results for who knows what, I came across an article creepy enough to catch my attention.
In 2010, a scientist in Italy conducted an experiment. Fifty participants studied themselves in a mirror for ten minutes in dim lighting conditions. Most participants began seeing things that weren't there, including deformed, monstrous faces. They experienced powerful emotions and feelings of "otherness" when focusing on their faces.
It's called the Strange Face In The Mirror Illusion. Here's what the scientist heading the study had to say:
"It seems to occur when gazing at one's own reflection in the mirror for a longer amount of time under dim light. The illusion contains perceived deformations of one's own face, or seeing unknown, animal or archetypal like faces" (Caputo, 2010).
In The Mirror
Each morning, I drew a steady line of slick, oily liquid at the bottom of both my lash lines. I applied my lipstick. I patted concealer over the blemishes. I buffed. I shaded.
Narcissus so fell in love with his reflection in the water that he stayed there, staring until he died.
Have you ever been bewitched by your own reflection? Have you ever stayed there longer than you should have, studying the curve of your mouth, the fullness of your cheeks, or those dark, endless pits; the voids of your pupils?
When you lean in close and try to look into the other side, what do you see? Follow the tendrils of color weaving through your irises, the pink flesh of your tear duct, the curve of the hair on your individual eyelashes.
Sometimes, the person in the mirror is me.
Sometimes, someone else looks back...
Someone just on the other side, waiting to break through and...
I don't look long enough to find out what they want.