Isabel Espinoza - Essay

Reflection: The Girl in the Mirror

The year has just begun, yet here I am. Here I am in the same place as last year. Here I am with the same numbing and dull emotions. The difference is that there is no hope for me anymore. The will to do anything is long gone. I am simply here, there, anywhere. No matter what I do, I cannot find the old version of myself. Is she lost? If so, where did she go? I need to find her. I know she is somewhere within me, but I still can’t find her. When I look in the mirror, I do not recognize the person looking back at me, and I’m disgusted with what I see. I lost the motivation to care for myself. 

The appearance that I once took great pride in is gone. The beautiful voluminous curls that once gave me great confidence have been slicked back into a tight, neatly done bun. Then, as I look into the mirror, those cold, tired eyes stare back at me. Each time I look into that mirror, those eyes pierce through my soul and remind me of my insignificance.

Sometimes, it just feels like too much to handle. Every day is a never-ending process. Each day, the process becomes more challenging to manage. Every day, I put on this façade to mask my struggles. Every day, I smile and lie to everyone, saying I’m okay. As the days pass by, it becomes more challenging to maintain this lie. I can’t keep pretending to be someone I’m not.

But a simple comment reminds me that I haven’t masked my struggles enough: “Jeez, you’ve changed,” my sister said. Is it that noticeable? Do you think I haven’t noticed? But it begs the question: “Do you really need to remind me?” I know I’ve changed, and I don’t like this version of myself. Myself…? It doesn’t even feel like I’m a different version of myself. It feels like someone took the old version of me and replaced her with what I am now. I miss the old version of me where I was happy and didn’t need to fake every human emotion to feel normal.

I do not recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me. She is cold. She is distant. She is emotionless. But she is also tired. She’s alone, scared, and unsure of what else she can do to get better. Part of me cannot help thinking: “Who is this person I share my life with? Why is she here? Why can’t I get rid of her and bring the old me back?” Maybe I’m not asking the right questions. 

Although I don’t know who this person is in the mirror, I see the pain behind her cold, tired eyes. I feel the weight of the world’s pressure, almost too heavy to hold alone. I admit I’ve changed and don't like the person in the mirror. Still, I don't have to be at odds with her. I do not have to be torn between the old me and the person in the mirror. And “getting better” should not be returning to the old version of myself. The goal, instead, should be to regain happiness and maintain a balance between me and the girl in the mirror. 

About the Writer

Isabel Espinoza is a second-year student at Mission. She is an English major and is passionate about writing, activism, and nature photography. Isabel plans to transfer to Santa Clara University, where she can earn her bachelor's degree in English and minor in creative writing. She dreams of being an author and bringing more Latina' representation to inspire other Latinas to follow their dreams. "My primary purpose behind my writing is to inspire, motivate, and better my readers' lives. I want to bring strength and hope to others struggling with mental illness, and I also wish to bring more representation into this world. If I can inspire, better, or change someone's life through my writing, my mission as a writer will be complete."