For the first time in I don’t remember how long, I trace rum raisin lipstick onto my bare lips. Liner to match. I sketch in around the scar on my bottom lip which I despise but friends tell me they wouldn’t even notice if I weren’t so distracted with complaining about it. I had missed lipstick, it turns out. I marvel at its blood-like color, how the stain of crimson makes my blue eyes flicker, and toss my mask in the trash.
It was my third birthday. I was so excited for my party that before the festivities began I was jumping on my little frilly bed in my little frilly dress even after my mother told me not to about a hundred times. Up and down I joyfully bounced until suddenly my tiny little foot slid right off the edge of the mattress and I slammed my sweet little face into the bedside night stand. My teeny tiny lip hit the corner of the damn table straight on, blood everywhere. Screaming and tears and no party save for the cluster of giant Cookie Monster balloons somebody brought to the hospital.
Because I was so young and my lip still had lots of growing to do, the place where they sowed me up isn’t quite aligned correctly now that I’m grown. And there’s a thin white line where the lip came clean off and they pieced it back together. They did a fine job considering, of course, but it bugs me that there’s an imperfection.
Lipstick makes me look like I never jumped on that bed like a rowdy little cookie monster fool.
I read an article someplace the other day about how now that people have had a year of isolation in sweatpants and their boyfriend’s tee shirts some of them don’t want to go back to wearing bras or shapewear or any such constricting bullshit. Not jeans or belts or anything that digs or resists a hearty meal. More power to them, I say.
There’s another guy though, I forget who he writes for, but he can’t wait to tuck himself back into the skin-tight dresses, stacked high heels, and two-hour makeup and wig routine that is the fabulous artistry of drag. More power to him, too, I say. Do what the fuck you want.
We now know perhaps more tangibly than ever that life is frighteningly short and, to a good and terrifying extent, entirely out of our control. Wear the thing. Don’t wear the thing. Enjoy your own body while you have it.
I’m slimmer now than I have ever been since I was in my twenties. I like the way clothes fit when I’m thin. I like the way I feel like a svelte feline animal slinking around. I guess it’s just fun to me. You can’t win with people though, man, they side-eye you when you’re overweight or underweight or you lost it or gained it or lifted it or whatever. I’m over it.
I have friends who have gained a bunch of weight over quarantine and they absolutely love it. Want nothing to do with fretting over shedding pounds and everything to do with reveling in their beautiful new curves. It is so powerful to watch and hear about. Women owning and celebrating their own bodies. What a radical idea.
I would much prefer a post-quarantine life where we all choose for ourselves what makes us feel good. I’m sick to death of the judgments people make at a glance. Give it a rest. We’ve just been through absolute hell. We all have hangups and insecurities and scars. Whether you can see them or not, they’re there. Let it go.