I spent the better part of seven years dissatisfied with the person I saw in the mirror staring back.
My entire existence seemed fueled by never staring at the mirror too long.
For looking too long would reveal depressing images of pain and sickness.
Sometimes I would stare at the mirror in the dark.
Seemed more fitting to be surrounded by darkness when indeed I was well versed in darkness.
There were certain times where the little voice in my head would subside and I would look at the mirror for a little while.
When somehow my eyes did linger long enough to find the pair staring back at me, I was scared for the man staring back at me.
The thing that alarmed me the most was that the eyes told a different story than everything else surrounding them.
The eyes looked very deep and deprived of something.
But the half crooked smirk, burnt spoon, and blood spots in the bathroom sink somehow screamed confidence, satisfaction, and total control.
The empty needle, half empty bag, and skin so thin and transparent that bones stuck out awkwardly roared that everything is okay, that this is okay.
Now I don’t mean to over-glorify what addiction looked like in the form of barely living flesh.
I’ll let a relapse or the past explain what glory looks like to a sick mind.
Remember the eyes.
They looked so helpless lost in a sea of green surrounded by bloodshot white from lack of sleep, lack of peace.
They seemed to be begging me for help, but what could I do.
This image I saw is just a picture painted on glass and it wasn’t me.
It couldn’t be, because my eyes were fine, right?
I wasn’t that skinny, I was sleeping a little, right?
I mean the voice couldn’t be lying, right?
I couldn’t have caused that much damage.
I couldn’t have done this to myself, couldn’t have hurt that much…
Sucked into another black hole of realizing what I was, sick.
As reality would have it, I learned that the man in the mirror was indeed me.
Those eyes were mine and I needed help, and at long last, I could admit that.
I learned that where I am today isn’t built on luck, but on strength, perseverance, and love.
And a thousand apologies can’t undo the heartache I caused myself and those around me.
Those mistakes can never be whisked away with a simple ‘sorry’ but wise people, those who came before me, have told me that you can make amends.
I hope that the image I’m living now is more than just an image.
I hope the life I lead now speaks of that amends more than these words could ever mean.
And to certain individuals who might not ever see these words:
It’s been years since we last spoke.
I know time doesn’t heal all wounds,
But I hope that you have found the time to forgive me.
In time, I will learn how to forgive and love myself.
And when that time comes, I won’t use my mistakes as a way to keep me in a cycle of painful self-obsession.
I will let them be lessons learned, using them to build the foundation of a better man for the days to come.