It was on the third day of sitting in the darkness of her room that Dani decided she was ready. Or, at the very least, ready to be ready. The past three days, when she wasn’t working, she was glued to either her phone or her computer, bingeing any makeup tutorial she could find.
I’m done being seen as a guy. We’re past that. It shouldn’t be happening anymore. She threw on a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. On her phone was a list of the products she would buy to get started, like primer, foundation, eyeliner, and some items she didn’t remember, but that’s why she had written them down. After stuffing her keys and wallet into her hoodie pouch, she left her room.
And immediately bumped into Ryan.
He started to apologize. “Oh, sorry, I was-”
“It’s fine.” Dani kept walking toward the door.
“Uh, you want to play some video games?”
“Sorry, I have to go. Maybe tonight.” And she left.
Ryan stood in the hallway, still not sure what to think. I didn’t think she had work today… He had asked Simon why Dani was keeping herself locked in her room the past few days, but hadn’t gotten any satisfying answers from him. It was after they did that school thing together. As he wondered, he headed to the kitchen to start making his lunch. Maybe they fought?
He opened the fridge and stared into it. Those two have been friends for so long, though. Hard to imagine anything would get them to stop talking. He grabbed a jar of grape jelly and went looking for the loaf of bread. Can trans girls get, like...a period? Is that a thing? After getting the bread, he snagged the jar of peanut butter from the pantry. Whatever. I’m sure this will pass.
For the first time in three days, Dani turned on the lights in her room. Everything she bought was spread out on her desk, in front of the mirror she had set up. She watched one more tutorial, just to be safe, and got to work.
Okay, I’ve prepared for this. She hovered her hand around her desk in a hunt for the primer, but her hand was trembling. Ugh, I’m not going to be able to do this without a steady hand. Her hands retracted to her lap, and she took a deep breath. Then another. Finally, her shaking faded. Cool. I guess I should get going before that happens again.
Dani was quick, but efficient. She mimicked the instructional videos she had absorbed over the week, putting on product after product, painting her face in an attempt to draw out as much femininity as she could.
Eventually, she was done. She backed up a bit from the mirror to get a good look, and...she hated it.
She wiped it off and started from the beginning. Whatever, it was a first attempt. Now I know how to use the tools better, and this next try will be- Nope. She hated that, too.
I look like a clown.
Another clean slate, and another attempt. This time, she had a video pulled up and made sure she matched them exactly. She slowed down the video to make sure she could copy every single stroke that they did. Still, it was wrong. She still hated what she saw.
I’m getting worse at this.
A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye. Great. As if it wasn’t awful already, now I’m going to ruin it by crying. She quickly wiped off once more, not being as thorough as she had been previously. But, obviously, she didn’t care much about setting up for another attempt right then. By the time she threw the wipe away, her tears were built up enough to cloud her vision.
I really don’t want to cry right now. I just want to not feel gross. That did it. She had to sit on the edge of her bed to stop from full-on sobbing. The sniffling was starting, too, which for Dani meant there was no going back. She was going to cry. Fuck all of this. Why is this what I have to deal with every second of the day? Is it not possible to look in the mirror and feel good? She thought back to all the times she actually had felt good looking in the mirror, but those were irrelevant. Right then, she felt awful, which meant she had always felt awful. She fell back and reached her arm to grab a pillow to weep into.
After a minute or two of uncontrolled sobbing, she tried to collect herself. Okay, okay, everything’s fine. I’m just having a mood swing or something. She sat up. And of course I won’t be good at makeup on the first day. The tears slowed down. I’ll just...keep trying. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve and headed back to her desk.
This time, she took a different approach. While the first few attempts had failed, they had taught her how to use each product and brush, and the movements she needed to get them to do what she wanted. But now, instead of copying what the artist in the video did, she did what she thought would fit her own face. It was all very similar to her past attempts, but changed ever so slightly that, when she finished, she...well she didn’t love it. But, she didn’t hate it, either.
Actually, not bad.
The sides weren’t even, and the edges of her face weren’t too clean, but it didn’t cause her to recoil when she saw herself. And while she would never say that she saw a pretty girl, she did see a girl looking at her.
The moment didn’t last, though, as there was a knock at her door.
Ryan’s voice entered her room. “Hey, Dani, wondering if you still wanted to play any video games or whatever.”
Dani looked at her phone. Oh wow, it’s way later than I thought. “Yeah, just a sec!” She yelled back through her door.
As she heard his footsteps walk away, she wiped off her makeup once more. Still not good enough to wear outside of my room, but maybe next time.