The power of self-reflection can be a double-edged sword. While it can provide us with insights into our deepest selves, it can also lead us down a dark and disturbing path.
I want you to read this story first that I wrote a long time ago for the app ‘DailyPrompt’, I remember writing this in the space of thirty minutes and it was a hellacious speedy ride to the feelings of self-awareness.
I’ll leave it here for you to read and then will add my thoughts on the story afterwards. Enjoy!
By Me, Andy Ohm
I gazed deeply into the dark depths beyond the door and saw a warped version of myself. Its surface used the blue sky behind me as its canvas and painted me. A wavy shimmer of myself. I stroked the freckled skin blanketing my skull, hoping to check the validity of what I was seeing. Its two white spheres sat and peered out with its decorations of prosthetic splashes of blue. A poor attempt at mimicking my appearance, yet, I had a feeling that something disturbingly accurate was hidden within it. The smell of mint leaves and washing powder reminded me of my past. The woman I’d loved had made an appearance in my mind just for a second and then vanished. Misery followed. My gut began twisting and rumbling. I wrapped my arms around my stomach in an attempt to comfort myself. The reflection copied me.
I stood upon the precipice of a steep mountain, the wind cold and curious. Travelling on the surface of my body in all different directions as though searching for an entry.
The reflection before me puckered its plump lips before opening its small mouth wide. My jaw began to pain. As though my bottom jaw was being torn from my face.
I squeezed out an ‘ouch’ and my eyes began to water from the pain.
My stomach churned, a bubbling heat rising into my throat. I grip my belly tighter in an attempt to soothe the pain. The rocky floor became cold, my head began to spin.
The words squeezed out from the bubbling pain that rose into my chest.
It was difficult to think, yet, it was all I was able to do. It was all I had the power to do. There was no way I could descend back down the rope ladder assembled to reach this perch. A lonely door upon the peak of this mountain. Rumoured to show the deepest part of you. To reflect yourself in its purest aesthetic form. I couldn’t understand mine. It was just a rippled form that showed no authenticity whatsoever.
“What a bunch of rubbish!”
The words spat towards the depths of the door frame. In doing so I realised that the wavy form of myself had disappeared and something much clearer had shown itself to me.
This warped version of myself made my body tremble into perfect stillness. I couldn’t move my arms from my abdomen or even utter a word.
Maggots drooled out from each hole in the reflection’s face and I felt my face begin to bulge. Touching my face, I felt them wriggling around poking themselves between warm flesh and cold blood-stained bone.
“What th… hell is happeninhghere?”
My words stumbled quietly over themselves. The maggots made their way into the reflection’s mouth and I could taste the sour slime as they slid around the inside of my mouth. A sudden rush of unease flooded my gut and rushed upwards into my mouth spewing out carcasses of dead insects, discharge and mud-coloured gunge.
Unable to stand straight, my body follows and stumbled forward into the open door. Closing my eyes, I feel the rush of my body falling stop. So, I open my eyes. The door frame stood still, its rocky hinges broken and no door stood. The reflection disappeared and all I could see was the blue cloudless sky through it.
I took a deep breath, regaining the sensation in my body. I touched my face, the inside of my wet and fleshy mouth. Nothing.
I wept. Cried at the vision shown to me. All while looking at the beautiful blue sky.
So there you have it!
A little bit messed up… I know. Although that’s my style, I write about self awareness with honesty. I feel like this story supports that notion, whilst in a strange way leaves a glimmer of hope at the end. I tend to try and write a lot of my stories like this.
Here’s some of the thinking behind the story and how I approached writing this piece:
I wrote “The Reflection” with the intention of exploring the concept of self-reflection and the fear that often accompanies it. As someone who has struggled with their identity and understanding of self, I wanted to create a story that spoke to the difficult journey of facing one’s innermost thoughts and fears.
The distorted reflection that the protagonist sees in the door is a representation of my own inner turmoil and confusion. As I wrote, I could feel myself becoming emotionally overwhelmed and physically tense, just like the character in the story. The maggots and dead insects that appear in the reflection were a symbol of the negative emotions, trauma and past mistakes that I had yet to confront. Writing about the protagonist vomiting them out was a way for me to process the idea of a cathartic release and the hope for healing and moving forward.
In writing “The Reflection,” I hoped to create a story that would resonate with others who have experienced similar struggles with self-doubt and uncertainty.
I wanted to convey the message that it’s okay to face our fears and that, while it may be a difficult journey, it is a necessary one for personal growth and self-discovery.
So if you have gone through this before, I understand and thought I may not have had the exact same experiences. I can feel and understand the pain that comes with becoming self-aware.
Thank you for reading and don’t be afraid to leave any thoughts on my socials or in the comments below!
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