Journal: Unfamiliar Reality in my own Skin
18 September 2017
Staring at me, staring back at—through—me. In the mirror an exact, opposite image of me looked back. Gray-green bags were starting to form under the eyes and that chin appeared more angular than usual. The topography of those cheeks seemed softer than typical. The shallow shadows on their face branched every which way, birthed by the combination of white, flickering fluorescent light from the bathroom and the stark, yellow incandescent light pouring in from the lobby. I felt like I was finally seeing myself for the first time in the harsh, overbearingly lit restroom. I peered deep into myself, so real, yet unfamiliar—so unfamiliar that my true to life image almost seemed like a different person.
Every day, I at least see a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and every day that image has morphed: sometimes more androgynous, sometimes more feminine, and sometimes so unfamiliar that the reflection shocks me, like finding a stranger in your skin. I have never become accustomed to the one in the mirror.
I had been driving for what felt like days on end even though it had only been four hours from Raleigh, NC to Roanoke Island on the east coast. It was nighttime, around 11 pm when I crossed the Croatan Sound. Becoming sick of the North Carolina capital city after a few days, I elected to waking up on the ocean waters, so I sped east on Highway 64. At the end of the bridge, my goal destination of the night, was a police cruiser parked, watching for tickets to give out, and a rest stop filled with no overnight parking signs. This wasn’t a place I could sleep, but I needed a stretch and a restroom use. It was there that I had my moment.
I slept in my car in a small, public parking lot across a tiny bridge to Roanoke Island Festival Park. Inches in front of my bumper was the fence to a local’s house. I wasn’t too nervous though. Plenty of brush blocked the visual of my car.
Before the sun fully rose, I drove across the bridge, made coffee, and walked towards the water. Luckily, I found a wooden deck built on the Roanoke Sound, facing east. Not a sound present, not a speed boat, not a person, just the sound of the short waves slapping the coastline. I sat there for an hour, my eyes following the sun as it reached higher into the clouds. Just in front of the sun, directly in my line of sight, were bourgeois beach apartments, and behind me were million dollar beach houses. They could watch this sunrise every morning; yet, I felt like I was the only one there. It didn’t feel like reality, but I knew it was. It will forever be burned into my memory.
I’ve found serenity in the sunrise.
#writing #journal #morningbliss #surreal #reality
Photo: Sunrise on the Roanoke Sound viewed from Manteo, NC