I slowly get ready, putting on my other face. I cover up my flaws and bring out a fierceness and strength I don’t necessarily have. I am lost to the ritual, to the beat of drums only I can hear. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Creams, powders, pencils, gels. Because I’m saving the best for last.
At the end, after everything else is done, I hold the small tube in my hand. Its metal is almost cool against my fingers as I take off the lid and roll out the color. It comes off, slick against my lips, the soft pressure almost like a caress. I slide my lips against one another, use the tip of my finger to wipe away the flaws. I look into the mirror and grin at it with newly painted lips. And maybe that grin has an edge of violence to it that wasn’t there before. All the better. Nothing and no one can touch me now. This how I will be able to face the world. With my warpaint on.