When I look into a mirror, I don’t look at myself. I look at my lips. Red is the color of power and I am a slave to making sure they stay universally desirable.
When I look into a mirror, I don’t love the rest of myself. I try to ignore that mauve has made a home for itself below my eyes. Blue veins with green and violet branches cover my eyelids and hands in tangled, necessary system. Taupe pockmarks from scratching bug bites when I was a child season my ankles and wrists. Amber down sprouts in velvet crops beneath my spine and navel. Gunmetal shadows fill the absence of flesh around my collarbones and cheeks. A thin canvas of sallow skin pulls my colors together.
When I look into a mirror, I don’t always appreciate what I see. I’m learning to love my colors and celebrate the painting that has and has yet to come. Pinks and reds and nudes aren’t the only shades to admire. Our bodies are rainbows, fleetingly beautiful and priceless.
I would love to call you dear. I know your name and what your backyard looks like, because you told me during polite, if not somewhat forced, conversation. I know you double knot your shoelaces and that your hair turns into curls at the nape of your neck, because I’ve snuck glances at your silhouette for weeks.
I would love to call you dear, but I don’t know you. I don’t know your favorite color or what song fills your eyes with light or how you take your coffee. I don’t know any of the things that matter. I only know the most mundane details you’ve thrown around since you were able to speak. You shook my hand and shared these with me, unaware that I’d tuck them away and say them quietly to myself to revel in the feeling of knowing.
Raging optimism will always be my one, true vice. Don’t get me wrong. I love sarcastic quips and a good, salty smirk. My eyes were born to throw daggers. Deep down, however, my body runs on the naive confidence of a young girl that knows everything will turn out just fine. Whether I leave this body tomorrow or 80 years from now, I will always believe two things. 1). People, as a whole, are inherently good. We all have a drive to be better individuals for the people around us. 2). The world is beautiful. I am not afraid to die and become part of it again. My body will decompose and return to the cycle of life itself. I will not be alive, but part of me will go on to be used by the most wondrous system. I can’t fathom the secrets of the universe or the meaning of life, but I know everything’s gonna be alright.