“every zit is proof” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 7, 2017
10:33pm
5 minutes
The Time I Went Into a Full-Body Spasm for Six Days
Betty Gilpin

Okay so you made the deal with yourself
You know the one where you said you’d be kinder
(including the skin stuff, remember you said?)
and now you’re wondering how long you can pull it off
You ask evethe mirror everytime you walk by it
Will today be the day I decide to love myself
(how could you forget, you do it everytime!)
And then before you know it you’re right there
zapping all those little fuckers with the sharpest
parts of your fingernails and you make dents
you excavate
you dig a hole so big in a face you keep lying to
I want to tell you that every zit is proof
that you are signed up to the self-sabotage
e-mails and you have not unsubscribed yet
Not to hit you while you’re down but you
also said you would start eating better
(as a part of the deal, you know, full package?)
And I will tell you that those chips have
not been eating themselves

“the height of professionalism” by Julia at Sarah’s house


Tuesday, October 13, 2015
3:14pm
5 minutes
howlround.com

When Jeanie finished her job interview she had sweat drenched through both her undershirt, her blouse, AND she was beginning to show through her blazer. That is a lot of perspiration for one human being, and Jeanie is not a very sweaty person to begin with. She ran to the nearest restroom to dry her pits and take a look at her face. Jeanie sometimes needed to see herself in a mirror right after high stress situations where she couldn’t fully tell if she was being the true Jeanie. She didn’t mean to put on a face, but she did feel herself floating outside her body and not fully remembering what had happened in the last hour. Of course as she whipped open the door she saw there was no electric hand-dryer with which she could dry herself. She stripped off all the layers she could. That was hard. She was soaked.

“a work in progress” by Julia on the futon


Monday September 21, 2015
11:33pm
5 minutes
from a dramaturge’s notes

I stare into the mirror, I am naked.
Paint me.
I hear myself say.
I am naked.
Am I ashamed?
Paint me.
Do I need clothes?
Paint me something good.
I hear myself whisper to myself.
I want layers of art. Not fabric.
Paint my heart, thumping.
And I do.
Paint my lungs singing.
And I do.
Paint my mind growing.
Paint my skin softening.
Paint my posture straightening.
Paint my arms strengthening.
Paint my smile more genuine.
Paint my eyes brightening.
Paint my worries lessening.
Paint my self-consciousness subsiding.
Paint my risk taking.
Paint my understanding.
Paint my learning.
And I do. I do.

“If you find yourself with a free second” by Julia on her patio


Thursday, June 11, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
from a staff meeting handout

Take that second to hold your face in the mirror and smile at that beautiful thing that is growing and sharing and developing in front of your very eyes. Such self love is necessary to survive and thrive and achieve and believe. It starts with an appreciation for magic and mistakes, for findings and failures, for dreams and denials. We can love a loaf of bread with every fiber of our being, but when we hold ourselves up to the light we can’t indulge in ourselves the same way. We can not crave it or feed ourselves with it. And we must. We must feed our souls with intense and concentrated self love, the kind that springs eternal when it’s allowed to enter. And though it’s not a vampire and it won’t kill us, it still won’t come in unless we invite it in.

“a new relationship to the vagina” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday March 25, 2015
5:28pm
5 minutes
Vagina
Naomi Wolf


Yesterday I glanced down and I was surprised. Surprised that after all these years (31 if you’re wondering), I actually liked what I saw. Yeah get over it I’m talking about my vagina. Why can’t I? Don’t answer that, I don’t give a shit. I’m allowed to talk about whatever I want, especially when it’s something I love. You hear that, I don’t just like my vagina. I love her. With a thousand deeply regretted shitty comments I’ve uttered about myself, I take a stand today, mirror in between my legs, and facing the setting sun. I see who I am all over. Soft. Capable. Hungry. Open. Closed. Both. Alive. Strong. Resilient. Self-preserved. Willing to house others.
My vagina is my spirit animal.
I am she and she is me.

“a very small quantity of mud” by Julia in Lozzola


Tuesday December 2, 2014
8:06pm
5 minutes
Cartapaglia notebook

A very small quantity of mud
A memory
A soiled vision of a past self
Could never get that dirt off
Could never scrub hard enough
Could never pray loud enough
Too many times told
“You will never be more than what you are”
Too many times heard
“You’ll never be worth much”
Too many times believed
“Nobody wants you”
And so the story is written
Burned
Etched into the shadow of yesterday
Remembering the washing
Attempting to erase past mistakes
Stuck there in that moment
The helpless youth
Left staring at herself in a broken mirror
With a wet cloth
And a tiny quantity of mud

“oyster” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday November 15, 2014
5:13pm
5 minutes
from a London Transport card

I can see it in your eyes – the fatigue, the woods, heavy on your lids like shadow. You roll a cigarette. You don’t light it. You just hold it, using it like an orchestral conductor. I catch you watching yourself move, in the mirror. When we go out to the store for eggplant and bread, you wrap a scarf high on your face. “Ready for battle,” you say. I can see it in your eyes – it’s better here, but it’s not the best, you’re still dancing in the clouds, high above me, my feet glued to the sidewalk, but moving.

“exit only” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Tuesday October 28, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

He entered a room filled with mirrors. The instructions said he must look within before he could exit the game. He knew how this worked. A hundred minutes ripping apart all his flaws just to realize he was fine all along and didn’t need to inflict any self harm to find that out. So instead he tried to see what features he liked about himself; starting with the outside to make it easier when he got to the inside.

Decent enough eye shape. Not an almond. But almost. Long eyelashes-like a fawn, or a prostitute. Standard cheekbones (thankfully). One big bottom lip and one almost normal looking top lip. Straight teeth. Really straight. Should smile more. Will note that.

“Try and make a few local friends” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com

My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.

“Even if she is feeling like the scum of the earth” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday June 2, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
an Instagram photo

She told me herself she didn’t feel like herself when the rain fell and when her stomach fell
I heard her say it with a faint ringing in my ear
I heard her say it cause I saw her there in the mirror
She was alone and cold and a full-blown ally to the dark side, to the wrong side
She was something that I could only dream about
Or wish for
She told me herself she didn’t feel much like singing when the sun was out
She would be there, crouched in the mud, trying to taste her mistakes
Trying to make a waterfall from her eyes’ outpouring
The earth is a wet and cold place
I heard her say it with a faint longing in my bones
I heard her say it cause I was stuck there inside her ribcage when her heart started screaming
Take me away
Take me so far away from this
And the sky would open with her desperate kiss
And she would lay there holding on to the only thing she knew

“set yourself on fire” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday May 13, 2014
10:46pm
5 minutes
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
Stars


Sometimes you look at me and say, “I saw her again.” I know who you’re talking about. You’re talking about the one, in the mirror, with the furrowed brow. “It’s okay,” I tell you. “She’ll be gone soon.” But this time she doesn’t go. She stays. She sets up camp in the linen cupboard. You refuse to wash. You refuse to eat. I call you mother. “I’m worried,” I say. “You two are too co-dependant,” she tells me and calls the Institute to see if they have space for you. You’ll be gone for a few weeks and then you’ll return, “tuned up”. That’s what you say, like you’re a bike in the spring. “Just went in for my tune up!” When you get back, you’re always so happy it’s almost tinny. It’s almost annoying. “Make up your mind!” You tell me, rolling a cigarette. You made friends with a man there named Todd, who carries drum and papers, and tells you that the way to free yourself of yourself is to let go of all your attachments. “The thing I’m most attached to is you,” you say, inhaling deeply.