Putting On Eyeliner With PTSD by René Ostberg

*Featured Image: “Observation” By Angela Amias, mixed-media.

Putting On Eyeliner With PTSD

by René Ostberg

does this makeup make me look smokey slutty sophisticated safe

soft weak or like a raccoon like a ghost a victim should I wash it off

can I not just wash it off make it all go away let me start over

let me it never happened pretend it never

happened. Pretend it looks good. Pretend.

After traumatic endings, there are no fresh starts. No fresh mornings, no fresh facing of the day. Your worldview changes, your face to the world changes, your facing yourself in the mirror in memory in mind in the morning at midnight.

At night, I at least understand what triggers the triggers. Because at night, the body takes the position of the horizon & the mind drops upon the body & burns like the setting sun. & the eyes, washed clean, are helpless to memory. In the morning the world must be faced, you might see him you might be reminded you might break down in the most inconvenient moments the most public spaces.

The deliberate darkening of the eyes, lined thick and messy as the mind, is as good a defense

against

               violation prying being seen not seen

               as the steady sturdy posture of a tree.

For safety, turn yourself into a tree freeze trace a Cleopatra eye with shadow

& blend the wing for that smokey

                                                     sickening feeling.

                                   Turn yourself into a raccoon running

                                   round a tree a memory running round

                                   your eyes a woman running a woman

                                   freezing.

Blend rage blend pain blend shadows for a smokey eyed effect.

Smoke goes to beauty. You deserved it. You brought this on.

Drive him wild with mystery with resistance with no & no again &

            again & return

            to rage to bed now when the morning horizon has made distance from

the burn of the sun.

It’s hard to get that effect of a sophisticated eye

a straight sweep of liner

a steady application

                          with an unsteady hand.

On days like this every day actually I tend to shake too much

& the mascara smears.

I look like I’ve been crying I have been crying I am always crying

& I put on too much blusher, choose a color too red for my complexion.

             Red for rage. Red for unrested. Red for return & return again

             rage every night every morning.

I’m a raccoon a zombie a boxer w/two black

eyes shaking hands beating killing

                                                     heart.

Does the horizon shake & rage like this as the sun gets closer

             as the burning gets redder does a tree fight or flight

             does a raccoon go blind in the full memory of light

             full light of memory

does this makeup make me look smokey slutty sophisticated safe

soft weak or like a raccoon like a ghost a victim should I wash it off

can I not just wash it off make it all go away let me start over

let me it never happened pretend it never

happened. Pretend it looks good. Pretend.

Start again. Trace a clear line & tell. Keep

a steady hand sturdy mind surviving heart.

*This piece was first published in Awakened Voices, Issue 4.

About

René Ostberg is a native of Chicago and currently resides outside the city. Her writing has been featured at the Brevity blog, Cease, Cows, Literary Orphans, Rose Red Review, Tiny Donkey, Thank You For Swallowing, and many other publications. Her website is www.reneostberg.com.

About

Angela Amias is a mixed-media portrait artist working primarily in charcoal and digital collage. An ardent lover of people, and an honored witness to the beautiful complexities of the human experience, Angela is best known for her lyrical and evocative portraits of women. Her work reflects her profound faith in the power of honoring the messy nature of being human, as well as her belief that welcoming all aspects of ourselves— the light and the dark— is a path to creating a life of beauty and meaning.


Angela Amias’s artwork is featured in the Faces of the Divine Feminine Oracle, published in November 2017. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, she now makes her happy home in Iowa City, Iowa. Her work can be found at angelaamias.com.

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