Today I wear black lace, tracing the curvature that I thought looked like two perfect crescent moons in the bathroom mirror this morning, exposed to the early warmth of July. I wear the somewhat explicitly sexy matching set of a bra slightly too big, and underwear of geometric lace, pale skin peaking. Blue jeans over top.
I am infatuated with the reflection I see in the mirror across the room. On the occasional day, when I dress down, I stare for minutes and minutes. On the others, I’ll rush this ritual. I stand just to the left to avoid the glass, put on long tops before slipping off pants to avoid the confrontation of true, full nakedness, and won’t stop to consider the co-ordination of two pieces; any material other than cotton would irritate and upset. On those days, I will cry over my constant thought of food, and awareness of two layers of skin touching each other, or the expansion of my thighs as I sit.
But today I will stare. I will watch myself as each movement of bone and skin has suddenly turned to molten silver; not jiggling but flowing, hot and fresh and rich. The skin on top seems new, glowing with the contours, shines as I tilt my head; side, up, slight squint, lips pushed out. And that runs all the way up and all the way down. My legs are stilts, my thighs are not an issue, my hips are held in loving material and sloping, dramatically and gracefully, in and up to my waist. My waist climbs to the hint of a rib cage, the etched lines of lifetime leaves, to my breasts, to my shoulders and collar bones of diamond, neck, lips, eyes. I stare for 20 minutes, turning side and back. One leg stretched out to the side, lace pulled up and rested on my hip bones that make an appearance; a stance of a statue. I take a photo.
I wore my first thong at 16. It was bought for me as a half joke, gifted with a condom. At the age, I cringed at the thought of underwear shopping and the mention of Ann Summers as though it was crude. My body was an embarrassing topic of conversation, my growing boobs were inconvenient, and I had not given a thought to my bum until my old jeans didn’t fit anymore, and I cried. I had dealt with new hair, new acne, but I had only hid the body it hosted. My mornings ran quickly with no time spent considering how good I looked, no thoughts lingered on the new curve of my hips other than confusion. My underwear was only white, nude, black; common and covering. Until that blue thong. I wore it under a pinafore dress, unseen but I was aware. I smirked in a selfie.
And since I have spent my money for my smirk. Open to investment in 20 minutes in front of a mirror, heart-eyed, admiring art like stood in a light gallery in an ever-loved, landmark building; a masterpiece, in architecture, in arcadia.
Each new paper bag swung with joy, rush back to ill –lit bedrooms. Bralette, thong, suspenders, photo knelt in a mirror, never seen. Pink, subtle, peaking out from the bottom of a low neck. Embroidered and stand alone, with jeans, bare back in a cold night. High waist and hugging, soft with something plain. A high neck bra, lace creeping up and clasping like a hand, a necklace, maroon and extravagant. I figured the more I buy, the more days my reflection will be mesmerising as I slip it off and on, excited to look up. Aware of the power held in each centimetre of my body, learning slowly to careless if those numbers rise, there will only be more silver.
At 19 now, my body is a weapon, a flower, a jewel. Beautiful and powerful, and jaw-dropping in a matching set, soft and strong in nothing at all. I forget the hair, try to remember skin care; but I decide on visibility. I remove it myself, I have an Ann Summer’s loyalty card.
Words by Lucy Harbron
Art by Chloe Myers