The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror

Following me into the bathroom he grabbed my face and pushed it up against the mirror.

“Juss look at yorself, you f-ing tart,” he spat his words in my ear.

“I – I… can’t see, too close,” I mumbled.

He pulled me back and loosened his grip on my arm.

“That crap on yer eyes.”

Staring at my reflection I saw the face I had spent time perfecting five hours earlier. The neat eyeliner and subtle foundation. The lipstick that matched my nails and the eye-shadow that complimented the hazel of my iris.  The girl glaring back could have been my doppelganger. She looked like me but I felt removed from her – verbal abuse hardens your soul until you find it difficult to recognise what you have become.

As he walked out the door he turned and scathingly muttered quietly, “Ge’ yorself a real man not that little squirt from down the road.”

A tear cleared a path through the rouge as it tricked down my cheek.

It wasn’t easy being young. Finding your way and searching for yourself at the same time.

I took a tissue from my pocket, ran it under the tap and smeared the make-up across my face. Now the mirror depicted reality, I looked and felt like shit.

Once in bed I curled up into a ball, hugging my knees. I had to leave home. I couldn’t bear to live in the same house as my step father any longer.

This tale has it’s roots in fact but is fictionalised in an attempt to put across a moment in time picture.

I wrote it about 2 weeks ago but left it in draft as I couldn’t get it quite how I wanted. Cara’s draft folder challenge inspired me to work on it again.

Let me explain – My Mum remarried when I was thirteen and my stepfather did verbally abuse me for a few years when I was growing up. He would shout many horrid names at me including tart. Complaining I wore too much make-up and wouldn’t let my boyfriend Vic into the house. It was painful, so I would try and remove my heart from the situation.

When I commented on a post of Kayla’s recently I was reminded of his dreadful behaviour and then shortly after seeing the KOTW prompt I remembered the young me running off to the bathroom and hardly recognising my reflection – tears, make-up smeared.

So I wrote this tale, better out than in. I also find that when I write from a non-fiction point of view I tend to distance myself from the post. It is odd how I can put more emotion and feeling into a fictional account of a life event.

So much fiction has a foot in reality

Header image from Pixabay.

#359 Doppelganger
Verbal Abuse


26 thoughts on “The Girl in the Mirror

  1. I don’t want to re-open old wounds but … how did your mother react when he spoke to you like that? I imagine his words would have felt even worse if she wasn’t defending you?

    1. She didn’t always know – she understood me and him didn’t get on but I didn’t tell her what he said as not wanting to hurt her feelings

  2. Oh, May. That was hard. I could feel all the pain. I hope some of the pain dissipates. Even when we think we’re over it, some things will always crop up to remind us of the pain. You’re brave to write about it

    1. My writing really does seem to help me get over my shit past – it is cathartic putting it down in print, thanks for reading Cara x

  3. Goodness, this brings back a memory of hearing my stepdad refer to me and my best friend as ‘looking like whores’ as we’d just discovered heels and lipstick at 14. I’m glad that fictionalising helps compartmentalise it somewhat, and as others have said sometimes more can be put in when one is a little removed from the facts. Very powerful and moving all the same, and my younger self hugs your younger self for the men who should’ve known better xx

  4. This is interesting and I am sorry it happened to you. Sometimes I think to make our stories fiction help us to remove ourselves from the feelings just enough to look at it from safety instead of any pain that might still be in the memory.

    1. Totally agree EL – I can sometimes analyse the motivations etc of an incident if I use it in my fiction. So writin can help me learn as well as deal.

  5. This is powerful May, and I’m glad it had the power to reduce the bitter tang of the memory by writing it down & fictionalising it. Just that tiny snippet spoke volumes – I can remember that out of body experience happening to me as a teen when I was upset or overwrought.

    I hate to think of you as a vulnerable child/young adult having to cope and make sense of this treatment, especially when at home with ‘family’ the expectation is that a person is in a safe zone, but we all know that is sadly not true in all cases.

    Your determination not to be defined by such things, to minimise their negative impact and move on always fills me with admiration each time I read a truth based post. Your survivor instinct is epic and by sharing this I’m sure you will have helped people as surely as if you had taken them by their hand and led them to a safe space.

    1. Thanks Posy – you gotta turn the shit round – use it to make you stronger – that is all ever try to do with people who are so inadequate they have to take it out on others. I have been to a few clairvoyants in my time and each one said I do not have any karmic debt – that is when you owe something to humanity in general x

  6. Sometimes it’s easier writing something as fiction than as the truth, and sometimes it even brings the point across much clearer. I am sorry you had to go through the verbal abuse. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Rebel xox

  7. I’m so glad you aren’t that girl in that situation any longer. And that you can put the memories into words and put them out into the world where they can help heal you and advise others. Thank you for that.

    1. thank you Annie – I am far from that girl – but of course memories have a way of coming back and slapping u in the face – this one I slapped it right back into a story – felt good x

  8. I wouldn’t have guessed at first that this was an adult-on-teen assault, though your ending makes that clear.

    Given the ‘based on fact’ aspect, and based on some other things you’ve written, it would seem your mom had crap taste in men. My mom did too. I cannot wrap my head around some of the choices she made, but I can choose not to repeat her mistakes.

    1. Yep – you got that right Feve.
      As to making the same mistakes – at the start I did get it right – then a blip in the middle but think, hope, pray, I am back on track now – appreciate your comment as always …

  9. Fiction has a weird way of allowing more truth to come through sometimes. Maybe because we can remove ourselves from the situation a bit and get to perspective. And it feels safer in a way…at least for me.

    It’s sad that some adults feel the need to imprint such horrible lies on kids, since those words stick with them forever. It is weakness and insecurity at its most lethal.

    1. Yeah i am sure that’s why – interesting – maybe in your erotic journal challenge you could do that as a theme – Get us to write the real life event – then write a fictional account?

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