In my happiest imaginings, in my brightest moments in the mirror, this is what I look like. Smart, direct, a little wild, natural, pretty, and beautiful, too. Am I allowed to say that? Real. Clear.
If you look closely, like I do and will again and again, you will see how I am crooked. Crooked eye. Crooked eyebrow. And this photograph reveals I also have a somewhat crooked nose. I never noticed that before. It is a slight crookedness, unlike my left eye which is much smaller than the other. And the smaller one is always the runt, always the one to bear the criticism. Sorry, my small, crooked eye. And, thank you, my small, crooked eye. You have served me my whole life.
Here, you cannot see my crooked neck which leads to my crooked back. Because I don't see them in the mirror so much, they do not carry the weight of the eye. It is my crooked eye that has ruined so many photographs.
It was only a high school photographer that admonished me to carry my backpack evenly lest I have a crooked neck my whole life! Alas, I already did! How I snapped back at her that I did not carry my backpack and neck that way all the time. How I felt her eyes on me later the afternoon when she saw me carrying my backpack and craning my neck that way! Alas, my neck was already crooked! A chiropractor's x-ray decades later would confirm the professional photographer's diagnosis of Spinus Crookedus.
F*ck you, stop looking at me. It is so hard to be looked at.
I have always liked my chin. I like to rub my chin and feel its characteristic dent. I have always liked my cheekbones that I believe I inherited from my paternal grandmother.
Notice how I go on and on about my crookedness? How little time I spend admiring myself? Why am I slave to insecurity and modesty? Why is it so hard to feel good?
I feel good when I look at this photograph. I feel like it is truly me.