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Sometimes, I’m afraid to look in the mirror.
For consequence of what I might find, or not.
I would unearth the reminiscence of a murky night,
wreaking havoc on a wanton city
with friends who are long gone.
A fleeting blackness, enriched with crusted joints and dried up happy times.
I would find myself grayish with grease,
slipping and sliding along the contours of my face.
The aggressive exfoliant wouldn’t be able to wash away
the closed eye intuition of my mother.
She said scrub gentle, but I do not.
I’m afraid of the ultimate prolific discovery;
there has been a migration of zits into the warm crevice above my mouth.
I am afraid of facing the scars of where I’ve scratched and have been scratched.
It would stick out, jagged, red, and irritated in contrast to my alabaster skin.
I would find a sporadic silver hair and crow's feet,
reminding me my demise is imminent.
My youth, fading like a distant sunset
that I cannot recapture nor redo.
These lines would reveal a new kind of frustration with my femininity,
or lack thereof.
And for this, I dissuade you with my timely routine of cover, conceal, and enhance.
With this, my face becomes the canvas.
I control the lines, shapes, shadows, and highlights which determine my worth.
I can create and invent.
I can warm what is cold and create a glow that is so fierce,
people mistake it for happiness.
I can shrink the jewish nose I inherited from my father
or exaggerate waifish lips given by my mother.
But with this, my insecurities flesh out,
like an infected wound,
perhaps cancerous or terminal,
which leaves ignorance in the dust
at the age of 11.
I buy into a world meaning to make me feel as worthless as possible;
a society which latches onto me by the soul;
compelling me to buy the next “miracle” product.
I buy into the unattainable nature of perfection,
of which I am periodically reminded I will never achieve.
I buy into the world of GIRLS:
skinny, pretty, soft, pretty.
A world which only finds value in my mouth when it is sucking,
but never talking.
The size of my waist, roundness of my a**, and perkiness of my cleavage
determines the sum of my self-worth.
I will never find answers to solve the hardest questions:
What makes me a woman?
Does wearing makeup deprive me of my quintessential femininity?
Or does it make me more of a “woman”?
These days, I feel old beyond measure.
I yearn for someone to remove the permanence a face assigns.
Sometimes it’s my lipstick smiles that lie,
and burned fingertips that don’t.
It’s the hyperpigmentation under deceiving eyes
that bare windows into my soul.
It is insomnia;
the helpless hoping;
the razor thin marks stroking
that never remains a secret.
These finely finessed brushstrokes
are carved into my being.
My eyes, which at birth were once warm
and filled with a mysterious firework,
are now tainted by a culture fueled by greed and fed upon fear.
Even as a young girl,
my role harmonized with my mother’s.
I grew within myself,
never outwards like my father or brother.
I am to eat less, talk less, and think less.
I am sweet, sickeningly so;
always adding sugar to what shouldn’t be bland in the first place.
I can buy all the makeup I want, and wear it;
but still possess an unsatisfied hunger.
I do not have the self confidence
nor the courage
to be free of my insecurities.
There will not be a day where my truly bare face touches blanket sunlight.
I don’t suppose it makes me any less feminist,
as wearing makeup is a choice and means of expression.
However, I will not buy into the hateful nature cosmetics supports.
You could not possibly measure the circumference of my self confidence
by the space my thighs do not occupy.
They are thunderous and free;
Two mighty pythons
enclosed upon raptured wonderland.
They are thick, almost glorious
in their conquest of a**h*les and superficial standards.
You could not possibly know how much I love myself
by chipped manicures that I won’t maintain
or jagged stretch marks proving my transition to womanhood.
I will not be defined by marriage
I will not stand for people making choices on my behalf.
I am determined to embark on the journey of validating myself,
makeup or not, beautiful or not.
I am a woman.
Tooth and nail;
skin and bones;
I am the giver and taker of life.
All things begin
West Jordan, Utah
Park City, Utah
Sapello, New Mexico
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