Sister

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Every day I wander into your room and watch you twirl before your mirror, tugging at your sweater and running gel-covered fingers through your chestnut tresses, frowning at yourself the entire time. You stomp your foot and rub your make-up off, unhappy with the face staring back at you. I watch you cry to the point where I await the blue to trickle out of your tear ducts and leave droplets on your toes. I want to say stop. I want to burst in and grab you and destroy your shelf of beauty products. I want to sit you down and show you that you are beautiful, that your foundation and bronzer is only covering your natural glow, and that the beauty that radiates from your effervescent personality cannot breathe beneath your waterproof mascara. You’d scream at me, I know it. You’d kick me out and yell that I don’t understand you, that I’m too perfect to ever sympathize with someone as flawed as you. The mere presence of me sets you on edge and every speck of clear skin that sits upon my face is simply mocking you.

To this, I say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the way things turned out. I’m sorry I took all the confidence and left you, my dear younger sister, with nothing but hurt. I’m sorry that you are blind. Blind to my lies and my masks. I want to shake you, shake you and show you how messed up I am too. I want- I need you to know that I hurt too, maybe even more than you. I hurt for the both of us; I hurt when I see you hate yourself, when I see you ravage through your entire closet and find nothing, and then come to mine and gawk over the nothingness that hangs from my meager frame every day. I wish I saw things the way you did, I wish I noticed all that you saw in me, because in myself, I see so little. I, too, see ugliness in the face that stares back at me. Every heartbreak is just another reminder of how unlovable I am and how unbeautiful I will always appear to the world. I want you to be me. For even a day, I want you to step into my skin and realize that what I really am falls far below your expectations. I want you to see how broken I am and how you are the only person who sees beauty in me. All those years I admit, your admiration gave me confidence, and knowing how faultless you thought I was, in comparison to you, gave me some sick satisfaction. Now I want nothing more than to take back those thoughts because I fear for you. I am scared that you are going to hurt yourself and not even realize it. You scintillate like a blazing supernova and you don’t even know it. Tell me, what can I do? I will go to any length, exceed any boundary, overcome any impediment to fetch you a mirror that will show you how extraordinary, how magical you are.

You are flying down a dark road, a slippery slope that steepens with each turn you make. I will do my best to stop you, to wake you from this nightmare that haunts you even when your eyes are open, and I will not cease until you press the brakes and turn that death cab around. Drive back home, return to your blithe 6 year-old self and wonder what happened, shake your head at who you’ve become, and open your bright eyes long enough to wipe the tears away and start anew. Forgive yourself for all the disgust, all the malice that you have surrounded yourself with. I will voluntarily forget your jealous hate for me and I will, reluctantly at first, tear away my own mask, piece at a time, until you see the fragility and imperfection that lives within everyone; you are not alone.

So tomorrow morning, when you wake up and drag yourself from the comforts of your bed, do not look in your mirror, do not reach for your make-up bag, and dress in the dark. I promise to do the same and together we can unveil the truth that has slept between the bristles of our eyeshadow brushes for too long. I will show you how fragmented society really is and how cover-up doesn’t make a blemish disappear, it just conceals the pain until it is so agonizing that it must break free of its cover, much like a peeling callous on the rugged hands of a monkey-bar extraordinaire. Let us be blind to the airbrushed emotions that confront us and let us fight back with our raw and burned perception of beauty. Let down your disguise and show them how young, how innocent you truly are. Maybe then they will see what a distorted generation we have been raised as. Many of them are too far-gone, but please, my baby sister, never lose yourself again in that vortex of ignorance and materialism. Next time you look at me, see beyond my clothing and my perfume. If you see an aching heart, then save me, for I am as vulnerable as you and will never outgrow the need to be rescued.





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