When I look in the mirror at my own face. I study it with a furrowed brow. Only noticing blemishes, pock marks, scars, pimples. wrinkles, discoloration, and age. People like to flatter me and say “wowl you look so young for 33”. And my immediate internal response is “that’s funny cause I feel like I’m 66”. Looks can be deceiving ya know.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I remember the day I showed up at a new school in a new town with a short bowl cut. I was scared shitless and what made it worse, everyone thought I was the new boy in school. It was terrifying. I also remember all the other kids spreading the rumor that our 6th grade teacher Mr. Kensington was having an affair with the Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Jaden. I wear the cruelty of kids on my face.
When I look in the mirror at my own face, I see scars left behind from my 1st grade bout of chicken pox. The crater left on my upper lip and the other to the right of my short fat nose. I can’t remember when the mole appeared on my nose. It tries so damn hard to be a mole but it isn’t quite because although it is raised, it is the wrong color. This mole is having an identity crisis. And as the only asian girl in an entire white school, so was I.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I see dark circles under my eyes. 20 years of central california allergies has taken a toll on these eyes. Child onset psoriasis has taken a toll on these eyes. These tired eyes that can see depth and into souls but look worn like a rag hung out to dry on the backyard line. I see eyes but they are darker in color, the crescent moons more crescent these days.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I see thick bulbous puckered lips. The ones that whisper into ears in dark candlelit rooms. The ones that yelp out in pain. The ones that suck. The ones that yell. The ones that sing off key. The same ones my old roommate referred to as “DSLs”. What’s that, I asked?” “Dick sucking lips”, he responded with a grin. Which felt weird cause my lips look like my dad’s. Thick and swollen and lay flat against my round face when I smile, just like his.
When I look in the mirror at my own face I am reminded of the many years I spent every morning putting on my game face. Thick lines of black eye liner on my upper lid, apple red lipstick, rose colored blush and way too much foundation, caked on to disguise my blemishes. I don’t wear make up anymore except the occasional eye liner for a special occasion. I don’t miss it. I show up just raw, eye bags and pock marks and all. I don’t have to worry about it running down my face when I cry anymore. And there is no more deception, “here I am!” my face exclaims. I show up as I am and there is no more hiding.