for the first time
in eight years
i have decided
to not wear makeup to class because i finally realized (though i swore i was)
that i am not wearing it for myself.
i’m wearing it for Tyler
because maybe he will hold the door for me and when i say “thank you”
he will be hooked in
by my forcefully lifted lashes that
bring out my honey brown eyes
and can draw him in
like a moth to a patio light.
i’m wearing it for Dr. Baker
who might think i’m more driven
or more intelligent
than the girl next to me
who chose to be herself
in the comfort of her skin and sweatpants rather than what the industry wants her to be.
i’m wearing it for the comments
made by family members
who are disappointed in the fact
that i’m not bringing a new man in through the back door every weekend
and they tell me to be presentable because “you never know who is looking”.
maybe i am wearing it for myself but not because i want to
but because i want to be seen
as better than i really am:
a finished painting
who knows her place in the world.
This is a story of 2 women. They don’t know each other, but maybe they will soon enough. Even if they had met, they wouldn’t think they were alike at all. But they have so much more in common than they could ever imagine.
Woman 1 lived in a small town in Wisconsin. Every morning she woke up sick, too sick to eat breakfast and even too sick to get out of bed. And no one was there to help her. She was fatigued and uncertain. If she didn’t even have the strength to take care of herself, how could she take
care of… never mind. Woman 1 was angry: angry that her life became something she couldn’t recognize, angry that she couldn’t afford to fix her car so she could drive to Iowa or Illinois, angry that her boyfriend left her because he had the choice to, he had the choice not to deal with this but she didn’t. She was alone. Well, except for the… never mind. Woman 1 took extra shifts at the restaurant, to get ready for something she didn’t want. As she swept up the floor, she put her hand on her stomach and looked out the window, hoping things were different.
Woman 2 lived far away from Woman 1. She woke up every morning, feeling weak, humiliated, demoralized. She had to drop out of school. She couldn’t go back, because he was still there. She trusted him, but he shattered that trust and walked away because he… never mind. Everyone thought that she just wanted to be the center of attention, that she made up some story to ruin this person’s life. Well, guess what? His life wasn’t ruined. He’s still in school, captain of his team, friends with everyone. He even took all the friends that woman two used to have. They believed him instead of her. Her life was ruined. Not by what she said, but by what happened. By the fact that she wished that something better happened that night other than… never mind. She sat on her bed and looked out the window, hoping things were different.
You know how I kept saying “never mind?” Well, that’s what these two women have in common.
Growing up, it’s all they were told. And now, it’s worse. Whenever they opened their mouths to speak, to cry, to scream for help, all they heard back was “never mind.” Their cries are dismissed, their needs ignored, their lives forever altered. But maybe they don’t have to be alone.
I hope that one day, when woman 1 looks out her window, she sees woman 2, and woman 2 looks back at her, and they share a brief moment of silent unification. Without saying anything,
they’ll just know. They know it’s a tough world for them. But it sure makes it a little less tough, to know they have someone to experience it with