Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

It’s happening again. I don’t know when it started up again only that it was slow and creeping like a sickness that spreads. I looked at myself in the mirror one morning and wondered how anyone could ever stand to look at me, how it’s no wonder that no one ever wants to look again.

So many lines on my face at only twenty-five, bags under the eyes. Pimples still, keep hoping they’ll go away but I think I’ve come to accept they won’t. Then the blackheads that cluster on my nose, my chin. I wash my face and it helps for a little while before everything erupts again.

I like lipstick. the bright colours red and orange and purple and that one bubblegum pink that I got for free that isn’t very good but the colour pops and is gorgeous. Not that that translate over to myself, we’d need a crew to fix this mess but it’s what I’ve got and nothing will change that. None of the colours match who I am, faded and greyscale in the background. I have a blue one too but hardly ever wear it, am convinced that people will think I look stupid. I put them on when I go to work, a different colour every day, smack my lips together. Pretty lips, lipstick on a pig. A bad thought but it’s where my head is, where I am, who I am. I shouldn’t think that, I never say it out loud. Words have power when spoken, but are silent words just as powerful?

Look in the mirror before my shower after my shower, whichever it’s the same. Except not really, if it’s after then the mirror is foggy, can’t see myself which is good. Before it’s clear, I can see everything. How my stomach bulges, how I can grab the fat and folds of myself in my hands and squeeze until parts of myself turn red. Suck in my stomach and see what I wish could be, what would be pretty, what I looked like long ago before this happened somehow. I don’t remember how.

I tried a shirt on at the mall and the dressing room had a mirror in one corner and two in the other so that while you tried one thing on you could see what it looked like on you front and back. I was midway through changing when I saw the folds of fat on my back. I seemed heavier on one side, one of the back bulges between my bra straps larger than the other. I pressed them both and felt only soft flab, kneaded them with my hands like dough as if I could change their size, make the flat, and I started wondering if I’m perpetually off balanced, if my fat is collecting on one side into folds and turning me lopsided and grotesque.

I’m looking for the darker colours again, the greys and blacks, greyscale and monotone. The ones that disappear and fade, get overlooked and ignored. Maybe I’m just prone to be invisible, maybe it’s safer that way. Maybe it’s just what comes with winter, putting on the largest and comfiest sweaters I have and hiding away until the warmth comes and shedding it and hope all the flawed parts of my body melt away too.

Maybe this is just my winter feeling and maybe it will pass, or maybe I’ll have to force myself to get over it. Wear something tighter, something brighter, and let all the flab and flaws shine through. To be so visible it hurts, but maybe it would be worth it.

Maybe it will.


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