The other day I looked into the mirror, and for a minute of strange disassociation, I could not recognise myself. It was a feeling unlike any other. Like, how you meet someone after a long time and when you look at them, you realise time has changed their face a little. There are specks where there weren’t any, and they look familiar but new and strange. Or perhaps, when you open an old box of pictures or an album and look at pictures of your father and mother, of how different yet similar they were and how young they had been, too. And then you look at them, and for a second, it occurs to you they may not be the same people. And you feel this odd sense of being tricked by time. That is how, I believe, I felt when I looked at my face in the mirror, like I had met myself after a long time.
Time had changed a lot of things over the years. I had only just noticed them.
For someone like me, this is a contradiction. If there is one thing I know more than anyone else, it is myself. I know my own self like muscle memory. I know myself like my favourite passage from a book and favourite bit in a song. I know myself like the cocktail I always order and how I like my coffee. I know myself like the bench you prefer when you go to the park, the one you are inexplicably drawn to and the one you feel most comfortable in, even when the other benches look the same, even if all are equally enticing and empty. So, for me to be shocked, and if not shocked, then surprised at how I had grown up was strange, to say the least, but we seldom say the least; it was absolutely baffling in that regard.
But what am I if not my contradictions? At least, that is what I told myself after returning from this trip of disillusionment and when I could feel like I still knew myself. I believe, now and then, we see ourselves in light so new and different that what we look at changes on its own. To be a person is to be a million people, all different in their little, peculiar ways. To be a person is to be made aware of this fact without warning.