This is the reality of my existence: I can decide to ride my bike across the country — no problem! how do we get this done? — but picking out a tank top to wear to the grocery store takes 45 minutes on a good day. It’s that mirror. Oh, the mirror! My arch-enemy. Fixed and wriggling, I am helpless to look away from this cruel truth: No matter how carefully I cultivate my inner self, it will always be housed in a vessel I didn’t choose and that everyone can see but me.
So anyway, that’s my thought process on a normal day. Now imagine me trying to pick out the only outfit I will wear for the next five months. I am catatonic.
 When I was 17, I went 40 days without looking at my reflection. Around day 20, I forgot what I looked like, and in that void, I just assumed I was beautiful. Like Nicole Kidman.
Completely by coincidence, the last day of this experiment was my senior prom. The lady who did my hair was like, “Honey, don’t you wanna see how beautiful you look?” and I just said, “Noooope!”
(Just to paint a complete picture, I also wore a red dress with matching Converse. The fringe of my hair was the color of lime Jell-O, because, of course, that’s what I used to dye it. I made jewelry out of my leftover ID stickers from my AP tests and stuck a couple of pipettes I stole from the chemistry lab in my hair.)
At midnight, after 40 days, on my way home from senior prom, I looked in the rearview mirror. Damn if it wasn’t just like seeing an old friend.