You turn on the light, sit down and look at yourself in the mirror. You see dark circles, some wrinkles, summer freckles. You have a new spot, few marks from old spots. You haven’t picked your eyebrows in a while. The area above your lips is not hairless either. You remember the time he said “You probably have more moustache than I do, but I still want to kiss you.” You watch your lips getting bigger as they change shape and cover half of your face. Smiling looks good on you. So does your rouge. You get a strong instinct to put it on, but you have to wait. You have to do everything in the right order.
You unscrew the cap of your conceiler. It’s almost finished. You squeeze some on your middle finger. You put equal amount of concealer under both of your eyes and spread it. Then you do another layer because you were up reading all night and you need more to look alive tonight.
You take your foundation and gently smear it on your face. You use your index and middle fingers to make it stable. Done. The base of your make up is done. Like the rock in an Eagen bay where Icarus landed after his famous flight, all it needs is some imagination, guts and three colours to look magnificent in a different way.
You take your eyeliner into your hands like the painter took his brush all those years ago, and think of how many men told you not to put it on because it makes your eyes look small and “the more natural, the better”. There is nothing that can make your eyes look small. And no art is “natural”. You draw two thick black lines and move on to the mascara.
Oh, the mascara. The biggest mystery of the ritual. You open your mouth as soon as you unscrew the it and can’t keep it closed until you screw it back. Another seven minutes spent wondering why you are doing what you are doing and letting it go at the end.
You take your big, soft brush and press it on the blush. You bite your chins to make your cheekbones look sharper like that cosmetic sales lady tought you when you were a teenager. One hit on the right side, one hit on the left side.
Finally, it’s time for the lipstick. It took you long enough. It took you twenty-five years to come here. You think of all the times you watched your mom putting the same colour on her lips. You take the cap out and paint your lips bordeaux, like MAC’s Antique Velvet shade . The colour of wine, the memory of mom.
You take your gaze away from your lips and look at your face. Time to go out. You wish you had more time to do this all over again, not because it is not perfect, but because it is the closest you get to your own face. It is a ritual to explore the details of your own face and what you can do with it. It is your interpretation of your memories and the colours around you. You stare at it like the painter stared at his fish as his boat sailed away, and go on your way looking just the way you want to at that moment.
Nazli Koca is a writer and dreamer based in Berlin. It’s very likely that you will run into her while she is writing in the train or reading at Spoken Word events around Rathaus Neukölln. If you live in a city far far away, you can read more of her stuff at rhnk.tumblr.com