Ugly isn’t the kindliest of words, but out of the looks grab-bag, it’s what I drew that morning. I’m sick, have been since New Year’s Eve, sinus infection, maybe. Went to the doctor, taking antibiotics, still can’t breathe. Everything on me is red. When I wipe my eyes, I can swear a thin film of clear mucus comes out. Like I said, not pretty. I look hideous, “Break The Fourth Wall” hideous, where you just go ahead, break character and make eye contact with the audience, as if to say, “You seein’ what I’m seein’?”
I had one of those moments where you get a glimpse of yourself, a flash really, as you’re whizzing by in activity, and you think, “No actress would even play this.”
Wear a fat suit, sure. Manly makeup, prosthetics, a pig snout of a nose, absolutely, but this, crusty nasty frizzpot with toilet paper jammed up her nose, and not even after being in the boxing ring?
“Sorry,” she’d tell her manager, who’d have to explain it to her agent, “not manageable.”
If you’re capable of looking this ugly without the help of makeup, you’re done. The world has found you out for the sham that you are—ordinary, average, just like the rest of us. And then, a weight is lifted. Just like the rest of us. And I think, “exactly” and smile.
Sick as a dog while resembling a dragon
Later, with tissues plugged up my nose (I CAN’T BREATHE. I KNOW IT IS UGLY, BUT I AM SUFFERING. SO NOW YOU WILL SUFFER LOOKING AT ME THIS WAY) when we tucked the tots into their beds, Abigail asked me to lie down beside her. Phil, then, collapsed into bed with Lucas as he began the shortest bedtime story ever. “Once upon a time, the end.” Then he asked Abigail if she ever had a nightmare. “Do you know what a nightmare is?”
“Well, looking at mama, I’m going to have nightmares tonight,” he said.
“Okay, pal, that one,” I said, “Is going in the book.”
I know it was only a joke, but really? In front of the kids? I know how to laugh at myself and can appreciate that I resembled a dragon with puffs of white smoke escaping through my nose, but do you really need to go there?