It is a lie if to say that I always do what is best for my body. There are times when sleep becomes optional or even a luxury, caffeine or energy drinks worthy substitutes and meals turn into rushed snack breaks. Habits like this leave traces and it was just recently when I saw them for the first time.
It was during a shift in the museum when I went to the bathroom. While washing my hands at the sink I saw the picture in the mirror and was startled. For the first time, I saw a woman in the mirror instead of the usual girl. I could also see that she was very tired. Her skin was pale and blue veins are shining underneath. Her eyes were slightly swollen and lying within dark circles. Her hair that was once luscious and thick had gone dry. The shimmer that reminded of raindrops in the night disappeared and got replaced by thin threads of silver.
Yes, things changed but she wouldn’t say that life had solely taken things from her, that is not true. With all these years gone by, she might have lost the softness in her features. Her face got slimmer, cheekbones higher and the jawline more defined. She prefers it that way it. She likes her edgy face much better. However, even without the puffy cheeks, she had been failing to see something else than a girl in her reflexion before.
While standing here in the fluorescent light of the bathroom she finally saw a new side of herself. A pair of black eyes gave you a cold stare, cold enough to make you feel uneasy. She learned the many ways to speak with her eyes but the kindness did not disappear, no, it was simply now used more wisely. “It is important”, she thought, “to make people understand how you feel. Especially when you are upset with them.”
The naive spring glow has vanished from her smile. In fact, she never liked dishonest smiles that do nothing but please others. Her edges are evidence that she had lived, learned and grew. Heartbreaks, disappointment and betrayal shaped her and some bitterness has definitely found its way into her heart. However, life has also taught her to recognise kindness when it came across her path. It also taught her what she really wants: certainty and a meaning. When she laughs now it is because she was truly happy, it was not fake. Her smile should be warm as the golden light of a late summer sun. Her shoulders should be strong for all the sorrows that may come for her friends. Yes, life has also made her strong. It is a strength that is in her, a strength that does not need to be proven.
Still observing my own picture in the mirror, I realised that I simply stopped pretending to be something I am not. Yes, my body became frail and thinner – how is it supposed not to? My bony chest and my hollow face do not look healthy. My body looks as if it is about to fall apart at any moment and this is exactly how I feel inside. I do not feel well and I won’t hide it. Authenticity became more important than keeping up a lie. Being pretty means nothing if it is not sincere.