i’m the one that i want

I was brushing my teeth last night before crawling into bed. I’d already taken off my makeup, washed my face, and put on my pajamas.

My face was sallow in the light, and the zit on my chin was taking longer to go away than I wanted it to. I leaned forward, tilted my chin down to spit toothpaste into the sink, then stood up and examined my face again. I tugged at my bottom lip with an index finger, checked my teeth and gums, frowned. And then it dawned on me.

I looked hot.

What the fuck?

I swear this isn’t false modesty but literal decades of poor self esteem and possibly distorted body image being, if not undone then certainly pushed the fuck back for a few minutes while I stood up to regard my face, my hair, my tits and the rest of my body in a state of (possibly aroused) confusion.

My hair was temporarily thickened by the dry shampoo I’d sprayed into it so I wouldn’t have to wash it in the morning. My freckles looked like freckles and not like old lady liver spots. I’ve always liked the look of my lips, which were flushed pink after I exfoliated them with an old toothbrush and a chocolatey lip scrub from Lush.

But there was nothing new that I could see, nothing different from that morning or the day before. And I didn’t feel any differently until I happened to catch sight of my face in the mirror, looking at me.

I’m used to feeling good when my hair looks the way I want, or when my skirt hits that sweet spot right below my knee. I feel pretty everyday. But hot? Never. That has never been me.

No matter how many times Rose tells me how hot she thinks I am. And, God bless her, she seems to tell me an awful lot. It’s not that I don’t believe her when she tells me so. But what was I missing? Why couldn’t I see it too?

I’ve had to wear corrective lenses since the age 8 so I know I’ve missed a few things in my life. I can be an awful listener, distracted and occasionally inattentive. But ever since the last time Rose complimented my appearance (two weeks ago at the last Miss Spoken show, in case you were wondering), I have been peeking at myself in window or taking my phone out to take a selfie. Usually after reapplying lipstick, or dusting my cheeks with a soft pink blush.

Cute but not hot. Pretty but not sexy.

Until last night. And maybe I sound conceited or deluded but I saw the hotness, and it was good and now I feel flushed and maybe a little embarrassed. But also a little proud? which is so dumb because who gives a shit if I feel hot or not. But I did, and still kinda do.

So thanks, Rose, the terrible lighting in my bathroom, my proclivity for skimpy pajamas and, of course, the dry shampoo that made my hair so tousled and fluffy at 11:30 on a random Tuesday night.

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