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“A mirror only shows what’s skin deep.
The glass omits the most important parts.”- Gracie

Skin Deep

Fiction. Based on a true routine.

By Bry LeBerthon

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

You drag yourself out of bed, barely awake, having barely slept. The world is fuzzy around the edges, and your legs feel heavy, barely able to support your weight.
Yawning and near falling back asleep, you drag yourself to your desk, plopping down in your chair to begin your routine.
You drag your makeup mirror to your face, light it up.
And there you are, staring blearily back at yourself. The circles under your eyes are duller than usual, reminding you that the last few nights went poorly too, just as the next few likely would. You should stop smoking and drinking before bed, but won’t be able to sleep if you don’t. You take the deepest breath you can manage, tying desperately to clear your head.
It’s fine, you’re fine.
You’re breaking out too, but it’s not a problem. Nothing that concealer can’t fix. The problem is you barely care enough to fix it.
Because you are reliant on routine, which fuels you in place of motivation, you fix it anyway.
Wipe your face down. Moisturizer, primer, foundation.
If you could have motivated yourself to get up and wash your face with actual water, maybe you’d feel less disgusting. Oh well.
Concealer, eyebrows, shadow.
You cover your eyes in layered blue shadow to match your hair, hoping, desperately, that the vivid colors will cheer you up, center you. Wearing blue always helps. Today it just wastes an extra 10 minutes.
Contacts. Liner. Mascara.
Like always, don’t let yourself cry. Don’t ruin it. Keep it together.
Powder. Highlighter. Lipstick.
You have five minutes to get dressed and make the 15 minute commute, but you smile at yourself in the mirror anyway. It feels good to be her. You, made up of colors and techniques that you like, without all the ugliness and tiredness. With a certain mystique, or, at the very least, a dignity. You dress quickly in clothes appropriate for work, furthering the illusion that you are who you aren’t. Brush your hair, brush your teeth, rush into the car.
It’s 8:45, the exact time your shift started.
You try to compel yourself to care, blasting high energy pop music to get you into the correct frame of mind, but it falls on deaf ears. You’re pissed at yourself for wasting 10 minutes. Your makeup doesn’t even look that good.
That feeling seeps in, coating you like sticky honey in your burning hot car. You would prefer to slam your head into the steering wheel until it all went away to sitting in at the front desk of the studio. You would rather drive right off the side of the 210 than go back home and take off these layers of her, just to put them back on even earlier tomorrow morning. You would rather drink and pop pills all day and all night than make something of your life, because that would at least take the edge off of the world, because then maybe nothing would matter. You would rather die than keep relying on this stupid fucking routine.
You clock in, clock out anyway.

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