Maybe (Probably)

Have you ever had a moment in your life, or even a longer time, where you felt like you just weren’t acting like yourself? Maybe you said something you didn’t think you meant, like making a joke about your friend being ugly, or telling another friend you hated their boyfriend even though, really, you didn’t. Maybe you did something you’ve never done before, like getting so drunk that you were escorted of the bar.

Maybe it was something even more mundane. You left the house only to realize that, even though you tend to be exceedingly particular about your appearance, your clothes don’t match; or you forgot to pluck your eyebrows; or you find that your hair is still swept up and crumpled on one side from sleeping on it.

Or maybe you’ve found yourself arguing with someone about something you don’t even care about — something you’ve never cared about, or even really had an opinion over, until this random person who you might not even know decided to have a strong opinion on it and you find yourself disagreeing with them vehemently and vocally.

I’ve got this theory that, for all those times you slipped up and said something you didn’t mean, for those times you did something and looked back and thought, “That just wasn’t me,” well, maybe it really wasn’t you.

My theory comes about from another theory, which is common enough that you’re probably heard at least one person mention it, if not in depth, then in passing. People say that there might be more than one world. No, I’m not talking about other planets out there in the universe. That might be true, too, though. I’m talking about the idea that there might be other dimensions other then our own, with other worlds that are similar-but-different pressed up right against ours, nearby yet undetectable.

If that’s true, and there’s another version of our world right on the other side of the veil, then it makes sense that there might be another version of each of us on the other side, too, right? They’re not the same as us. Not exactly. Maybe they look the same, or at least really close; maybe they act the same, but different in certain ways.

I have this theory that, when you feel like you aren’t acting like yourself, you’re actually acting like them. The people on the other side of the veil. One of the versions of you that exists in the next dimension over, who’s separated from being you by an opinion or two, or a behavior, or a personality quirk.

Let’s call them our reflections. A reflection shows us what we look like, but changed. It’s backward, after all. The version of yourself that you see in the mirror isn’t the same as what other people see. It’s not the same as a picture of you. It’s even worse if the mirror is bent or warped in any way.

Our reflections in the other dimensions are like images of ourselves seen in variously twisted mirrors. Some might be more similar to us, while some or vastly different. Any one of them might draw close enough at any time for us to find that, briefly, we behaved like them — like how we might have been — instead of how we are.

I don’t think this is malicious. There’s not some alternate, evil-universe version of you (probably), and even if there is, they (probably) don’t know you exist and they’re (probably) not trying to ruin your relationship with Karen by stepping in for a moment and calling her a fat loser. In fact, maybe they’ve accidentally mirrored you a few times, and their enemy Karen was confused by the fact that they so genuinely complimented her hair.

I came up with this concept because of my own personal experiences. No matter how many times I tried to explain to my wife that I didn’t know why I had sex with our neighbor, that I loved her — my wife, Lessie — and not her — our neighbor, Callista — she wouldn’t forgive me.

It didn’t matter that I in fact hate Callista and don’t even find her attractive. It didn’t matter that even while I was walking over to her house, I couldn’t stop thinking, “I don’t want to be doing this. Why am I doing this?” Or that afterward, I felt such incredible guilt that I couldn’t talk to my wife for a week, nor could I ever meet Callista’s eyes again.

Lessie didn’t even want to hear me talk about it. Maybe I should have just told her right away. Maybe that would have been better than her asking me why I’d suddenly become so silent. I’m full of maybes, aren’t I? I guess that’s just who I am.

I told her, once, that it felt like someone else had come into my mind and done the things I did for me — to me, even. I didn’t feel like I had control. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t like myself for doing it. She said I was just making excuses to try to make myself look better. She said I was just trying to make her feel sorry for me, when it was her that got hurt, not me.

That’s when I started to come up with this theory. I think it make sense. It’s kind of like how, when you were a little kid, or when you were in high school, maybe you were a slightly different person than you are now. I think that happens when we grow so close to one of our reflections that we sort of merge into one person. Or maybe we just become them, and our consciousness flips over to the other side of the veil.

Or maybe (probably) this really is just all some crock I made up so that I can feel better about myself, and I’m actually a terrible person.

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