how far?

After a certain age, I was told, women should only line the tops of their eyelids. 

I received this tip over a year ago and since it came from an extremely reliable source — the very pretty young man behind the Chanel counter with perfectly lined top and bottom lids — I made the change immediately. 

The next morning I took my new colored pencil, shut my left eyelid, stared into the mirror with my right eye, and drew a line.  Easy enough. 

Then I turned my attention to the right lid.  Not so easy.  Oh my god, I can’t wink with my right eye!  What the he—ell?

Flashing back, I see my mother’s face in the mirror, the fingertips of her left hand pulling down her right lid, holding it in place while she struggles to put the line on straight. 

The mono-wink gene. 

Whoas me.

Stuck with mild irritation and a wiggly mess over my lid is basically how I thought of it.  Until Monday morning. 

On Monday morning I did my make up inspired by Esref Armagan.  Esref is a man from Istanbul who has never seen but paints pictures that the sighted easily recognize — and even admire. 

While scientists gather round to study his brain, asking “how much of what we think of as seeing really comes from without, and how much from within?” — I feel God tapping me on the shoulder hard enough to knock the eye pencil out of my hand. 

Things have been way too easy for me for way too long — because I’ve been takin the easy way around.  In the process I’ve lost sight of asking “just how far can I go?”

It strikes me I’ve been settling for wiggly way too long — and that’s gonna change.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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