• Afterglow

A Letter to My Makeup Bag

By Chloe Wade

To my little makeup bag,

I can see how you've evolved.

You've grown as I've grown.

Increasing contents as my mask grows thicker.

The increasing weight of growing up. Maturity.

Hidden away behind the image of my favourite TV show,

You keep my tools for the day safe:

Replace my reddish skin,

Scarred from years of acne, mountainous lumps and

Bumps that represent the pain and isolation I felt

As I saw how cruel people grew to be,

With a layer of foundation.

Plaster the cracks starting to show from within.

Bandaids. Blur the insecurity

I've always felt.

Conceal the anchors under my eyes,

Held down by the weight of the world,

The might of the oceans

With the smudge of a concealer.

Each hour I spend both willing and dreading the mornings

The shades growing darker and darker,

Masked in a single swipe.

A foolproof full night's sleep in seconds.

Paint a fake blush into my cheeks -

The vibrancy of life and the privilege of joy

No longer appear naturally.

Compensate for my lack of sparkle

With the light glow of a shimmering highlighter.

The eyes are the windows to the soul,

So they say -

Thus, armed with a million brushes, I must hide them away

Under layers of roses or my beloved sunset hues

And gold glitters with the ferocity of a lion -

Pretend I am the ravenous predator, not the meek prey

Hiding behind a liner applied with shaking hands -

Perfect that feline flick.

Dab that tear duct with iridescence -

Not one shall see past the costumes,

See the common gloss of fresh desolation forming.

Firetruck red or the colour of blood?

A deep, rich plum or the tint of misery

On my lips?

A bold lip is my armour

From the spears of other people's judgements

And the biting bullets of my own tongue.

Resting bitch face? I own it.

Combat boots to complete the look.

Let me feel like a boss -

I want her to be a different person in the mirror.

Oozing confidence from her pout...

I wish the personality matched...

To my little makeup bag,

I'm sorry that I've not picked you up for awhile.

Only playful hands I've batted away have found you.

I've stripped back for love and lust,

Nude lips or nothing.

Teras of joy make eyeliner pointless -

I no longer need a mask when my underlying contentment is beautiful.

This poem was written by Chloe Wade as part of Afterglow's blog writing opportunities. For more information about blogging for Afterglow visit