So John just bought a mirror for our shower so he can see himself when he shaves (if he doesn’t use a mirror he ends up with weird stubbly patches on his chin). It’s a small fog-free mirror that hangs nicely in a hook on the over-the-showerhead caddy where I store my shampoo.
The first time I took a shower with the mirror, I thought it was cool–I was looking forward to amusing myself with shampoo mohawk hairdos.
But now I think it’s not-so-cool. I’d forgotten that I’m scared of mirrors. So there’s something about looking in the mirror as I’m standing in the closed shower stall that completely freaks me out. It has nothing to do with my naked body in the mirror–it’s the space behind me that’s frightening. I don’t quite now how to articulate this fear, but it’s that I am totally scared that I will look in the mirror someday and see that I’m not alone–that there is some strange scary person standing behind me. Does that make sense? It’s that same irrational fear that makes me not want to look in the backseat when I’m driving alone at night, or that doesn’t want to get up and lock the doors before bed because, somehow, if I’m standing near the unlocked door–and even touching said unlocked door–that makes me totally more scared that standing three feet away from it.
I am, overall, a huge scaredy-cat. A few times, when John and I were first married, he hid somewhere and leapt out to surprise me. Okay, sure it was a surprise, but inevitably I ended up crying. Heavy hot tears of total fear and terror. Even though I knew it was John who had jumped out at me, and even though I knew the scare was over, for about 10 minutes afterwards I cry just out of the sheer emotional release. To be scared like that is so jarring, makes me feel so vulnerable, that life just can’t go right back to normal afterwards.
I _don’t_ like horror or suspense movies. When, a few years ago, my Mom convinced me Sixth Sense was a must-see movie, I realized about half-way thru that I’d made a huge mistake. For weeks after that I couldn’t even use the bathroom by myself–John had to accompany me so I would feel ‘safe.’ The scenes with the arms coming out from under the bed and with Bruce Willis trying to get into the basement are so chilling to me that I still shiver just thinking about them.
I don’t know why I scare so easily, but I suspect the moment-of-no-return happened one day when I I was a teenager and I was using a public restroom. I was sitting on the toilet and for whatever reason looked up. When I did…to my horror I saw a creepy man in the next stall looking down at me. He must’ve been standing on the toilet so he could get a view of the various women using the bathroom. What’s crazy to me about this memory is that I don’t remember exiting the stall, I just remember feeling paralyzed. I couldn’t think rationally, I couldn’t tell anyone about the strange man. After I hurriedly left the bathroom I found a chair in the corner and put my head to my knees for about 20 minutes.
I guess what I’m most afraid of is that it’ll happen to me again. I’ll look up and see that man’s face, with his scraggly grey beard and greasy headwrap. I’ll see him again and I just won’t know what to do.
[Note: I’ve taken to turning the mirror around whenever I shower. For some reason the back of the mirror isn’t scary at all]