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My Mascara, My Illness Armor


I’ll never forget that moment.

“Take off the mascara. It interferes with the MRI accuracy.”

I went alone into the tiny bathroom with a damp washcloth, my hand shaking, bottom lip trembling.

I wiped off my mascara.

I cried as I did.

But hey.

I was sick, I reasoned.

I might as well look it.

And I did.

Mascara is my armor. One of many. Pink toenails. Cute skirts. A sassy heel. A flirty hemline. A nude lip gloss and an assured smile when I’m anything but.

I’m a girly girl.

Girly girl makes me, me. It not only makes me look healthy, it makes me feel healthy. It convinces so many. Sometimes even me.

The end of day always comes. And I stand in front of the mirror alone, wiping off my makeup and mascara like that day before my MRI when I had to. The first day I was nearly fully blind in my left eye.

Optic neuritis (ON).

ON is my old friend now days.

I’m not shaking anymore. Hell, I’ll even go for my afternoon walk without a speck of makeup.

I know this game. I know what it is. Armor? I don’t need it to leave the house all the time anymore.

I know who I am.

I know you, ON.

I know you, multiple sclerosis.

I am you.

I am also me.

Girly girl.

Abigail.

Now, at night, I’m reminded I am not my armor. I am not mascara. I am me.

Girly girl.

Abigail.

Getty Image by malyugin