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Perfection

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I see myself everywhere.

In the mirrors of the ballet studio I see myself dance. I am graceful. I am beautiful. I am the dancer and the dance both.

In the bathroom mirror I see myself with flushed cheeks, my lips parted. It is a healthy look, perhaps even a passionate one, but it is a lie. I’m flushed because I threw up in the toilet and I wonder if I will ever eat a meal without this stomach-wrenching feeling of guilt.

I see myself in the dark window of the train as I ride the subway home. I see a frightened girl trying to disappear into her seat, a girl so terrified of failing she has to lie to get a role. I see a girl who stole totems from a broken star in some misguided attempt to become her.

Reflected in my mother’s eyes, I see a child who cannot ever grow up. I see the child who at eight years old had to be watched every moment or she would scratch until she bled. It was the only way to distract herself from the pain of strained muscles and aching bones.

In Thomas’ eyes, I see a girl who has failed already. She is a frigid little thing, a weakling, a virgin in a world where virtue is distained.

I see myself in Lily’s eyes. I see myself through Lily’s eyes and I see myself as she wants me to be: free, sensual, seductive. The self I see reflected in Lily is a me I long to embrace. She is beautiful. She is wild. She is Lily, not Nina.

She is the Black Swan, not the White.

The fragment of mirror I hold in shaking fingers is coated with blood. Through the crimson sheen I see myself reflected in the glass.

I see perfection.