I see locks of hair which seem to have a personality of their own; poker straight from the top and those annoying (sometimes) outward flicks towards the end – no matter what products I use, how many different styles I try or how much heat I apply, those flicks have refused to leave my side for almost a decade now. We have made our peace with each other; I even get compliments sometimes, people asking how I style my hair to get those flicks.
I see bangs that fall into my eyes the day I shampoo, the bangs that I admired on my mother. The bangs that made her look pretty and young and me, very wannabe back in high-school. High-maintenance bangs which never really look the same each day but have to be ironed out every single day. Otherwise, they curl up into unsightly Clark Kent-like versions making me freak out if the power goes out when I’m getting ready for work.
I see eyes which are always painstakingly lined with kohl. But I don’t know why I bother: I have Chinese eyes, ones that disappear when I crack a smile, even a small one. No amount of kohl or liner help in “defining” the eyes, which is unfortunate considering I’m a writer who believes a woman’s doe-like eyes are both the windows to her soul and the keepers of her secrets.
I see a nose, a button nose. Nothing as cute as it sounds, but nevertheless. One which gave me so much trouble as a teenager by producing oil enough to run a small country. Now, it just sits there, functioning.
I see skin, remnants of tan, scarring from picked-on pimples from a time when I didn’t know better, bags under the eyes from nights spent trying to pick a chapter after which I should put down the book, the beginnings of fine lines fanning outward reminding me to act like the 24-year old that they see.
I see a body that is full of overdosing on junk food, a life of two years that has been an indulgence, to say the least. My time in the city of no rules, my yearning to get the unwieldy love for food out of my system, my efforts to live life at the unhealthiest best.
I see clothes that have been picked out with no care. As a child, I was constantly prettifying myself up for no other reason but to just be pretty. Now, I see an adult who hates to shop, even online, has no penchant for putting outfits together and always waits till the last possible minute, quite literally, to rummage through the wardrobe to find something appropriate for any occasion.
I see hands and feet that desperately need some yummy-smelling, indulgent cream after the chill in the wind has nipped them of all moisture. I keep thinking I’ll do it tonight knowing full well that ‘tonight’ will be spent zipping through the pages of another story, yet not having the will enough to fetch the bottle from the shelf that sits just out of reach.
What I see in the mirror is so imperfect. So flawed, so full of faults.
But then I realize: I’m not a sum of all that I see in the mirror. I’m a sum of all that I don’t, a sum of all that I am.
P.S: This was written for Sharath Kommaraju's contest, never got around to posting it.