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"It's the contrast of it," they say. "The narcissism and the breakdown, back to back, interchangeable. Let's you know it's still there." I shake my head. That is not me, I have the days of change. The weeks of swagger where I feel Goldilocks' 'just right' in my bones, two inches taller and settled into my skin. And there's the week's where I'm not, the ones where I feel eight years old and stuck with a newfound stammer. It's a slow, gentle kind of crushing. But then it's two months later and I'm braced against the bathroom sink, already crying from missing them, enough that salt is already pinching at my skin. I look up. And there, framed in the mirror covering the rusty medicine cabinet, is the prettiest thing I've ever seen. Pupils blown wide with the dark of two AM. Tears clumping eyelashes together like the exact opposite of good waterproof mascara, but so much better looking. A pretty redness to the lips, a little riper and more lusty red than that mixed in the cheek. Twas just the difference between the constant red and the mingled damask. There be some, Silvius, had they marked them in parcels as I did, would have gone near as to fall in love with them. The gender neutral Shakespeare is enough to distract me until I squint again. Because that, the image caught in the mirror, is me. I can't change it. There be some, Silvius, had they marked that in parcels as I did, would have gone near as to fall in love with it. But for mine own part, I love it not. Here I deviate from Phoebe: hate it, I do. But only numbly for now. I slouch again, tapping my nose lightly, trying to get feeling back in me. It's less like having a leg fall asleep, more like the cognitive trick where researchers stroke a rubber hand along with a subject's real one, until their brain feels them as one and the same. And then the researchers smash the rubber hand in with a hammer. I scratch at my nose until it goes red. I try different postures. Where I am right now makes me look like Gollum, even the wrinkles--still pink and new from crying squishing my face up--are there. I stand up confidently straight. My neck looks swanlike. A necklace model's, if it wasn't for the pimples and freckles. It curves down to my shoulders in a gentle slope. My collarbones look just as prim. I start crying again before I can find gross amounts of wrong in everything below that. The sobs don't feel shaky in the way the drop rides at the fair don't. The rise, rearing back, the pause, the plummet, repeat. It's not shaky because it's supposed to not be, it's breath-stealing because it is. So I scrub at my eyes and struggle through clumsy renditions of breathing exercises and try to find a happy medium of posture. Tall enough to feel like something more than a coward. Hunched enough to hide actuality. It lets me breathe again, so I take another counted series of breaths and blow my nose until the sides are red and raw from tissue, just as the tip still is from scratches. It looks cartoonish, unreal- Which feels right. I'm suddenly exhausted, which I don't mind, because I've been meaning to sleep for the past three hours. The 'contrast of it' finally wore me down, there art thou happy. I'm [positive my family heard my whimpering as I tried to stay standing soldier straight, daring my reflection to break first, so I'd feel less rumpled up, even as I was stretched out. But no one came to check and chat, there art thou happy. I blow my nose again. I avoid mirrors like a vampire hiding from the reality shift of them, which I can relate to. I curl up in bed until I'm just as hunched as before, but this time there's no lull of straightening up again, I can slouch in peace. There art thou happy. A pack of blessings light upon thy back, happiness courts thee in her best array. But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench, thou pout’st upon thy fortune. Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable. And the gender neutral Shakespeare is enough to distract me until I can sleep. ((this is pretty much just me getting out Emotions, and going like "haha this is Such a cliche feeling?? better think about shakespeare, bc THATS not CLECHE at ALL")