Line your eyes, powder your cheeks. Smear your lips with rouge. You cannot be seen in the flesh, you cannot be the real you. You are an automaton, and automatons look good. Walk straight. Don’t breathe. You are not an adult until your hair is straight, you are not human until your back is straight and you are not safe until your skin is hidden beneath layers and masks and words. Paint yourself, and paint some more, paint until you reach your lisa smile and then again until you’re nothing but a statue in the midst of other statues in a square draped with ivy and smothered in fog. And then raise your head, and be proud, and let your unnatural beauty shine.

For now, now, you are acceptable. You will blend. You will be free. Until the night comes, and you wash it all away.

[Wake up flawless.]