Shattering the Hall of Mirrors: Your Liberation Ritual.
In the absence of all other options, I enter the Hall of Mirrors.
I bid my truest self be made visible, framed neatly by gilded gold and ornate iron, and I am not leaving until I can say for sure who I have become since my tormented youth. The place stinks of roses and narcissism, yet I still believe I will find absolution here in the glass. Mirrors cannot tell lies, after all.
My bare feet make no sound as I approach the first looking glass, a pitiful rusty thing stained with the blood of the innocent. Reflected back to me is the woman remembered by long-gone lovers and fair-weather friends. Her porcelain face is flawless, but her body is without muscle or skin; I can see straight through to her bones, to a hollowed-out rib cage and cob-webbed heart.
Her jaw is frozen, her hair hard and immobile, and the curves of her pelvis are covered with the thinnest layer of ice. I am a cruel demoness with no love to give, I mutter. I am gutless with dead limbs and no insides. I am rock-filled, barren soil in a land of ravenous creatures, and I am without purpose or any great, fated destiny.
I move on to the next mirror clutching my chest to ensure my heart still beats. This one is small and clean, framed by red wood and tilted back to show a giantess. This is how my children see me, as a full-breasted, saggy-chinned Creatrix with a soft belly and bottomless heart-well. From her sternum rushes a green river of limitless love, but I can see her eyes are laden with worry and want.
There is no pink in her cheeks, not anymore, and she is starved of self-care and soul-food. I am a vessel full only of warm mother’s milk and unconditional love, and neither are meant for me. I am sexless, and cemented on a pedestal I did not choose. I am a bleeding Madonna. I am Demeter mourning Persephone, and I am locked and keyless manacles around the collective mother wound.
My body sinks to the ground in defeat, and I crawl to the next mirror. This one is grand, bejeweled and shining with an effortlessness I have never had in all my years. I can feel my heavy body crumpled and shaking on the floor, but it is a hard-nippled and confident seductress who is reflected back to me here. This is how the vampires see me, I know.
I am a juicy treat swollen with sweet blood. I am without discernment or boundaries. I am an open door, and warm, wet walls. I am slick feathers and dove wings spread wide to welcome the long-toothed predator. I am vulnerability embodied, the devil’s plaything, and I am a beacon to the crazed manipulators and lustful self-esteem-killers.
I crush my eyes closed, refusing to see any more, wondering why I had been born at all if these reflections show even a shred of truth. Surely, I should remain here in this Hall of Mirrors until I die thirsty and heartbroken. Surely, I have broken my soul-contract and will never gift the world with any legacy. My words will die with me.
My flesh will rot along with my name, and no one will remember the bitter Witch who wrote verses about wolves and wildness.
I do not know how much time passes before I am able to press on, standing on aching limbs and licking my hand to wipe away the crust of dried tears. If I am to die here amongst the worst versions of myself, I may as well know them all.
The next mirror is framed with sculpted, pink-glittered tin. It reflects back a fatless woman with muscles cut from tireless work and never-ending ambition. This is how my challengers see me, as a wicked aggressor who walks the world surefooted with a list of unmet goals spurring her on. She is tattooed with future dates and color-coded schedules, and she sees opportunities with laser-like tunnel vision.
I know nothing but my work, and I am an inexhaustible fountain of self-interest and compassionless dream-hoarding. My children go to bed hungry, and my lover goes to bed lonely, while the oil lamp burns dim until dawn. I am a graceless ego and a mind ballooned by foresight, and I am crouching in the dark corner, cradling my books like babies.
My face twists into a grimace, and I punch the cold glass until my knuckles are bloody and my reflection spider-webs out in all directions. I spit on the thing, cursing all those who think they know me, and I see nothing but bright red. When my eyes focus again, I have shattered and tossed every mirror to the ground. My hands are bruised, blood-wet and shaking, and my feet are pierced with jagged-edged shards.
Only one mirror still stands, and I leap in front of it like a jungle cat willing some soft, helpless creature to do its worst.
I see myself just as I am in this one, in unremarkable, dusty glass framed by inexpensive wood. I see my quivering lips, wild hair, and wrecked body. I see a woman who has made it halfway through a life full of tribulations and titillations, disastrous missteps and curious happenstances, anguished in-the-gut blows and majestic, swollen-hearted joys.
My reflection holds its shape, but my features dissolve into a series of simultaneous supernovas, galactic swirls, orbiting binary bodies, depthless blackholes, and climactic collisions of metal and dust. This is how the Mystery sees me.
I am star-stuff. I am the cosmic infinite. I am ethereal majesty and a single celestial cell dancing in time with the pulse-beat of the Feminine Divine. I am dark and holy matter. I am a living constellation shaped by a design grander than any I will know in this life. I am the God particle. I am coming into and out of existence with every breath I take, and I am the omniscient source of all things.
My shortcomings are forgotten as I watch the spiral dance of the most ancient parallel universes twisting and turning where my eyes once were.
I care little for my enemies’ judgments while my heart is drumming in the language of the star-babies and my fingers spin moons into orbit, and past lovers’ disdain for my lack of self-sacrifice matters so infinitesimally while I watch the faces of the She-Gods smile in my own belly.
I leave the only mirror that has any significance standing in the hall, and I sign my name with my bloody finger on the glass-strewn floor before I leave.
I am the luminous truth of all things, and, without illusions, I will leave my mark on this world. I am an intergalactic benediction fueled by fate and an individualized purpose. I am she who is. I am a soul spun into being by divine will. See me as you like.