i know what to be, what to reflect, for everyone—to become what they want or expect or hope. patterns, so simple to sketch and refine, are easy to perfect based on my audience. it ensures cataracted acceptance.

now i have to force my mirror to reject their faces. they don’t ask for this, for my colors subsumed in theirs, but it’s what i give them. only one person realized; they did it too. what can a mirror show another? they went clear in six months. we fully drained each other. the light left his eyes as they left mine. stop lying, please, stop lying. i'm not--why can't you tell? it's harder to keep it up when you're always together. i was always under her gaze and judgement. it's impossible to perform feelings consistently if you're derealized. i was never real.

i am a transcriber waiting for something coherent to emerge out of static from deep space. have i ever exuded anything?

everyone is used to a different reflection from me. they have custom pictures i've hand designed, adjusted to their taste. it is my task to find the real image, whether it is a combination of these or something totally new. instead of appreciating the change they ask why it changes. i endure. it’s painting without a reference colorblind not knowing the outcome or goal—a dissonance that will avert every gaze. maybe i will like it. the ouroboros consumes itself. is that what’s supposed to matter? do i?

i refer to myself in the third person. she plans, she worries. she is fractured. i was wrong. how did it take me so long to realize? my mother hugged me crying from fear when i told her. please—don’t be so open about it. i have to. my oldest friend told me that she can see the reflection, and that it’s a reflection climbing out of an uncanny valley, and that she hates it. she told me to hurt me. all i have is what i do. then feel something, that’s an action too. my wisest asks why i am so shattered. he worries. he chose me. i am too tired to hide now. okay. i hope he could sense who he chose. i don't think they can.

they ask when these changes will evaporate, when they will normalize and stabilize. maybe it's a process of expansion and contraction. maybe they can’t. the web of fragments is falling, giving way to a canvas, glinting back every surrounding color as it falls. after the fall i can colorize myself, but i fear the shards will cut my friends as they grasp for who i used to be. i don’t want them to leave.

i will run out of energy to complete this transformation. the process is easier now, months after it started, as there are more people i trust around me, as there is less to adjust for. the constant storm of life keeps me in stasis. i wait to settle into some semblance of purpose; it never comes.