House of Mirrors: A Personal Journey of Self

© Nicole Mason All Rights Reserved

I’ve always had a specific need for my home to be clean and neat. I’ve always searched for a sense of order amongst my things.

I’ve come to realize I find order only through the mess of things. Calm and certainty come to me during great periods of strife and self-doubt. Pain and self–realization are found in the midst of required transformation, through the gruesome finite tragedy that is the loss of someone loved deeply. Through the death of self, I search for the will and desire to live life better and fuller. I long for calm to sweep over me and wash away sadness. It made sense not to want to let go; instead I released the old me and did the next best thing. I brought the memories along. I discovered a different way to celebrate life and envelop the spirit with peace and love. Every sunset that moved me, I would offer up, every belly laugh and heartfelt tear too. Highs and lows would become the gauge, a precursor of things to come. They would be the counter balance and conviction to live life with meaning. Take nothing for granted from here on out, make a difference. I could hear the old me whisper in my new ear. “No sadness, no fear, I love you and see you every day. Just go forward, you’ll be alright.” There are no coincidences. There are only mirrors.

I looked up from my thoughts and noticed a blond, wooden house perched on a hill from a passing train. It was a nothing-special house, yet it spoke to me. It had two stories and a wraparound porch and ivy growing over its balconies and Gerber daisies. I dreamt I lived a whole heart happy life atop that hill.

I would adore all that was golden light existence and hang antique mirrors from the walls. I would have family all around me, not this solitude in a broken city that no longer fits. I burst into tears on the dirty, smelly train. My shoulders shook, my stomach ill, my head spinning and my heart filled with a heaviness I had not felt before. This lovely house on a hill and my fantasy of a life inside her walls was not strong enough to win. Harsh reality was forcing her way back in. Who is this person I no longer recognize?

All any of us wants is to be seen, really looked in the eye and acknowledged. Today, I’m hanging all the right mirrors in my house. Whether beveled, glass, wood, antique or modern, I’ll make sure they are a correct representation of who I am and where I come from and where I’d like to go. I’ll make sure that each time I look into them, I recognize my face looking back.

She was crazed and crazy and the closest thing to God I’ve ever met.

The train whistle blows incessantly, and I’m pulled back. Oh no, please no? No, no, not really. Really? Oh my God, this is my new new reality. Do you even see me? Do you get that? I’m out of my mind with fear and hate and blood and piss. There is no blond wooden house. There are only worms under my bed in my room at 5:00 AM. I can’t figure out where they’re from. I’m alone. I can’t relate. I don’t care. It’s personal. I make up houses in my head. I cover my mirrors with black sheets. I know they do that in some cultures in mourning and death. I cover them until I can stand the sight of my new and not so new improved face again. In my life today, there are more demons than death.

This new new me is scared, tired, disillusioned and doesn’t want to get out of bed. Good thing she has a grand imagination, her chaotic mind left her with that. There is rent to be paid and toilets to be scrubbed and shit and piss to clean up.

“The meaning of the word beauty has changed many times over the course of my lifetime. Physical beauty means less now that my face has brown spots, wrinkles and reflective, inquisitive eyes. And that is just fine.”

Jacqueline Cioffa

Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in “Brainstorms, the Anthology” and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She's a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who's traveled the world. Her poignant, literary fiction debut THE VAST LANDSCAPE gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt. Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put GEORGIA PINE the exciting sequel down. “The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa

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