There was once a time (in the beginning) when material wealth was my king and donuts had no power over me. Cakes and cookies could whisper my name and flirt with me through decorated store windows, but I paid no attention. They could release constant sprays of their wonderful aroma, and yet I cared not. I was happy to slide in and out of attractive outfits without the worry of feeling bloated or self-conscious because of junk food or weight-gain. Yes indeed, there was a time when I started every day long before the birds could decide on a morning song. In fact, my jogging miles were done and strength-training was complete before the sun above could stretch its rays upon the land. For I was known as the most gorgeous one for miles around. I had perfect hair, irresistible legs, a golden smile and hypnotizing eyes. From head to toe, I was just as perfect as my extravagant wardrobe. This truth was so eloquently spoken by the mirror on my wall. In fact, even strangers glanced at me and praised me constantly. Above all, I believe my biggest fan was an owl named Mr. Who. Who always sat perched on the tree branch outside of my kitchen window. He stared at me as if a lost relative was reincarnated inside of him. This bird watched over my home, smiled at my glowing face and brought so much joy to my days. Those were the good old day.
One year, trials of doom soaked my life like a pool of blood over a sponge. It all started with a terrible car accident. Hobbling with crutches and arms in a cast, I passed by the mirror just as I did every morning. Suddenly a giant, filthy manatee appeared in that unforgiving glass! It was a huge, bumpy, bloody blob. It spoke to me as if it was there from when I was born. When I raised my right hand, it raised its left hand. If I opened my mouth, it open its mouth. As it repeated my disapproving words, countless worms, bugs and spiders would drizzle out of its mouth from behind a forked tongue. This is what happened every time I uttered how truly repulsive my reflection was. It offered me donuts and other treats to make me feel better. This time the chocolate glaze, sprinkles and cream-filled centers were completely irresistible. The soothing relaxation comforted me like a warm blanket as I swallowed one sugar source and one salty source after another. It was like an addiction. The mirror kept giving me more. I kept accepting it. I felt better for only a few moments before fervent hatred for that blob scorched my soul. A month later, the blob had doubled in mass. It was horrendous and terrifying. Even Mr. Who began to look at me and with tearful eyes. Earth completed several laps around the sun while I remained submissive to this torture.

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One dark and gloomy night, the stench of death was in the air. I decided to shatter my mirror’s reflection with a silver bullet. Before I could run towards it with my weapon of choice, Mr. Who tapped feverishly on my window. It was as if he knew my self-defeating plans all along. He yelled passionately, “Come my darling, away with me! I have something big for you to see!” I grabbed his outstretched wing and we escaped to the clouds, only to look down at people on the ground. He showed me three rooms where events were in play. The first room was full of people clad in black clothing whose lives I had touched. They were terribly sad and reminiscing about all the ways I use to make them laugh. The second room revealed three young toddlers playing in a colorful nursery. They were singing a song while building blocks with their wonderful parents. They all looked like me in some way. The third room was full of doctors, nurses and surgical utensils. They were hunched over a limp body on a cold, stainless-steel table. The body was slowly pumping its final heartbeats. That person was me. I was present in all three rooms! My past, future and present conditions were all there for me to review. I became overwhelmed by the ambiguity of feeling both happy and mortified!

When I returned to my home, Mr. Who told me that I can control which rooms remain active and which ones disappear. He cradled me at the top of the tree as I fell into a deep sleep. When the wind blew across the yard, the branch gave out beneath me and I landed painfully on the ground. Yet upon opening my eyes, I stood up quickly to find myself back in my room, on the floor beside my bed. Frightened yet determined, I hobbled over to the mirror. The blob was gone! My amazing figure was gone as well! However, what I saw was more satisfying than ever before. I saw a loving parent and a community volunteer. I saw a devoted spouse to a wonderful and wise person who is my biggest fan in the world. This morning was different, the mirror gave me a guilt-free, culinary menu and jazzy music with every optimistic note of a sultry voice. Most of all it gave me life. It was a new life. It was a life that I never would have known if I had stayed in the shackles of vanity and shallow thinking. Just as I did…in the beginning.