Officially day three of NaBloPoMo, though just day two for one O. Nelson. Here goes today’s post, folks!
by michelle w. on November 3, 2012
Write a letter to yourself in 20 years.
Dear Olivia, in 20 years:
When I was 24 I started wearing red lipstick. Until then, applying the bright red lacquer to my face felt quite like highlighting, pinching, circling with flashing lights and drawing arrows around what seemed to me an already preposterously embarrassing pout.
At 24, however, while strolling the aisles of the drugstore, the Kate brand tube labeled “Porsche Red” shined like a beacon of destiny. In the sea of cosmetics, lined up between “Romance Pink” and “Dune Rose,” “Porsche Red” might as well have been labeled Liv: it felt made for me. After dishing out a slick $3.99, I didn’t even wait for home to try it on.
I always told girl friends who proffered their own lipsticks that I looked like a giant fish when I put it on. In those first moments, sitting in my car in the Walgreen’s parking lot, I laughed at the Bozo in the rear-view mirror who smiled back at me. But instead of quickly smearing it off like the countless previous times before, I left it on and pulled out of the parking lot. In that brief six-and-a-half minute drive, however ridiculous it may seem, I felt like a bigger, more intense world had exploded open for me.
I have always felt strangely ashamed to be whatever age I am. At five I felt too young to belong to the elementary school world; at ten I felt lost among the teenagers; at 16 I was never old enough to understand adult problems; at 18 I just knew others on campus all scoffed at the naive freshman; at 22 I felt my co-workers would never take me seriously enough to be considered a fellow professional. I always tip-toed around telling others how old I was, for I knew they would shake their heads at the little punk trying to make it in the big leagues.
But when I finally kept that deep red shade on for longer than 20 seconds, 24 became utterly perfect. I didn’t feel like a child playing dress-up, nor like a 20-something clinging to adolescent dreams. “Porsche Red” and I were just what we were meant to be, driving with the windows down in the hot dog day’s of summer.
In twenty years, as you will be much wiser, worldlier, wrinklier, and most likely even more stubborn than I am today, I can only hope that you are as confident and soothed into life as I feel right now. I don’t believe this is just young bravado talking. Don’t forget to own it.