On the way to the bride’s house I couldn’t stop looking in the mirror. It’s too much isn’t it? I look fake, don’t I? Am I pretty? I pleaded to my brother. He told me that I looked fine, but I still felt weird. I barely recognized myself, hiding under a mask of foundation, creams, and blush.
That morning I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach. Excitement, nerves, and anxiety to-boot, everyone knows you have to look good for the wedding photo shoot. In the mirror all I could see were red stained eyes and purple bags filled with exhaustion resting beneath, an irritated stye refusing to play hide-and-seek, and pores so big and round and deep. This won’t do, I thought to myself. And when my face-fixing fairy godmother arrived I greeted her without doubt. Two hours later, chalk-full of sweat and gossip and tears, I looked into the mirror afraid of what it would reveal.
Perfect completion, cheeks that blushed and high bones that didn’t exist before. Eyes bright, brown, and more almond-shaped than I had ever noticed. Lashes thicker and longer than most of the oceans. It was me but in HD. It was me but prettier. It was me, airbrushed to perfection. The more I looked in the mirror, the more I liked it. This mask of beauty gave me an air of confidence I hadn’t had when I woke up.
By night’s end my face was still in tact but I had completely forgotten all about that. There were no mirrors in the church, limo, or hall, I hadn’t seen my face and it didn’t bother me at all. With my dress full of stains, my armpits less than fresh, I had danced the night away without a single regret.
When I got home in the early hours of the morning, I washed off my face, peeled off the fake lashes, and brushed my teeth. The mirror confronted me once again but it felt less than a foe and more like a friend. Sometimes it’s nice to dress up and play pretend. But it’s even nicer to wake up in the morning, not a drop of makeup in sight, and hear these two words from the love of your life: you’re beautiful.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison