I’m standing in my bathroom, my nose close enough to the mirror that it leaves trails of ghostly breath behind.
I’m attempting to apply my eyeliner with the utmost precision—precision that has evaded me during the previous four, hilariously unsuccessful applications.
Let’s face it: my arm is getting tired.
And in the middle of another wobbly, crooked, far-too-thick line, I realize this isn’t what I want at all.
I don’t want to be the pristine, perfect woman. I don’t want every strand of hair to be smooth and every half symmetrical and every article of clothing meticulously calculated.
I want to be messy.
I want to showcase my scars. I want to see the pink, healed skin that reminds me I’ve endured immeasurable pain. I want the seven knee surgeries to be as obvious as the slight limp they’ve left me with. I want the small scar on the right side of my stomach to remind me of the son I lost and the healthy son I birthed.
I want my makeup to be flawed because I’ve never felt comfortable wearing it. I want my eyeliner to be as heavy as I feel on days when sadness overwhelms me. I want the length of my eyelashes to be somewhat disappointing because I know, far too many times, I am too. I want blemishes to be as apparent as my astounding faults and lines to be as noticeable as my flagrant inabilities.
I want to be comfortable wearing clothes with lingering food stains and that slight, spit-up smell. I want proof that I’ve spent mornings and afternoons and evenings making a wide-eyed, one-year-old boy belly laugh. I want to be proud of the time I’ve spent with him, away from a needy inbox and a high maintenance schedule and demanding conference calls.
I want my hair to be tangled and split and grown out. I want to throw it up when I don’t feel like dealing with it, usually on days when I don’t feel like dealing with anything at all. I want it to be as big of an afterthought as my failure to follow the latest trends.
I want my socks to be mismatched and uncomfortably different sizes. I want to remember that some of the little things are just that: little. I want to show that perpetuating the notion that every single detail must be perfect in order to consider yourself put-together is as ridiculous as digging through an overwhelmed drawer, searching endlessly for a perfect match.
I want my clothes to be somewhat tight, blatantly stealing from inquisitive imaginations. I want a slight slit there and a little too much skin there because often times, I’m too much. I want to feel the breeze on my shoulder blades and whispers on my collarbone and be reminded that I’m guilty of holding myself back.
I want to wear holes in my jeans, not wear holey jeans. I want proof of the depths I’ve traveled, skinning my knees on the bottom of rocks and hopelessness and destruction. I want to wear the tears in my heart and the rips in my reserve and the cracks in my confidence with a confusing delight.
I want to trip in the occasional heel because experiencing embarrassment is unavoidable. I want my follies and mistakes and weak ankles to be noticeable. I want to stumble when it’s most inconvenient, only to prove there’s grace in every fantastic flounder. I want to pick myself up and dust myself off and laugh, cursing stilettos as I order another pair online because I never learn.
I want my nails to be painfully short—either broken or chewed—because I’m a creature of sometimes disgusting habits. I want to elevate the internal anxiety and pressure and responsibility I feel on a daily basis. I want to couple my palpable worry with a bright, summer nail polish I know will chip in a matter of hours.
I don’t want to paint and brush and smear over the things that make me real.
I don’t want to pretend I haven’t lived such a gorgeously chaotic, exquisitely messy life.
I want to be the personification of my flaws. I want the scars and stains and tangles and differences and holes and trips and broken pieces of my constantly growing self, to be the things people see first.
I look at myself in the mirror and sigh. I’ll try one more time. I lean in, my nose touching the glass and start to drag that dreaded black line across my delicate eye lid. And, again, it’s wobbly, crooked, far-too-thick.
I stand back and stare, smiling at the noticeable difference between both eyes. We can’t all be that pristine, perfect woman.
Some of our flaws are just too big.
Author: Danielle Campdeamor
Editor: Caroline Beaton