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With The Volume Turned Up | The Last Year of University Pt. 8

the short storyFor once, I liked wearing make up.
the long storyI don’t like taking photos. Even more so of myself.

But I’m graduating this year, which means I have the option of taking professional photos for the display in the Department of Biochemistry of my graduating class and for personal use.

Professional photos are even worse than regular photos. I hated photo day in grade school, because I’m not particularly conscious of my appearance. When I graduated from high school, I had to take professional photos and my mom took me to a salon for hair and make up. There was a lot of foundation involved, and my hair was curled and held in place with spray. I hated it. I felt like a doll, painted and molded.

There are two reasons I don’t like having my photo taken. First and foremost is that despite the premise of taking photos to preserve the memory, I rarely go back to look at photos for the memory they preserve. When I do go back, they are incredibly useful, but it’s a rare occasion when I do.

This is emphasized by how many useless photos I take. I started going on walks around campus to take breaks and I tried taking photos of the sunrises and the forest paths I walked through. Bu they didn’t really capture the place…it just made me want to go back.

Secondly, I am not particularly photogenic for a number of reasons. I always wear my glasses, so the frames cast shadows on my face. I don’t like wearing makeup and I always have bags under my eyes from staying up late and waking up early. And my past experience with physically prepping for photos had not been pleasant (see above).

So when I booked a hair and makeup appointment at the local salon for the pictures, I was prepared for an afternoon of being uncomfortable and not touching my face. But when I got back I was pleasantly surprised.

I knew I liked it best when I got back from the salon and my sister said, “You look the same.”

I disagreed. To quote Rainbow Rowell, I felt like me, with the volume turned up. My baby hairs were sitting still for once, but still shaped in my daily bob. The redness in my face was gone and the bags under my eyes were hidden (though looking back at some photos, I looked sort of tired).

And to be honest, it felt great. I was wearing a simple, vintage-style dress that I’d picked out myself, I didn’t feel like my face had been smeared with makeup, or that my hair was crunchy from hairspray to hold in curls.

I felt utterly like myself.

And it wasn’t just my appearance. I realize that at this point in my life, I’ve been the most sure of myself and what I’m doing. I’ve constantly been feeling lost and unsure…and I still am. But I am more comfortable with that.

Frankly the most unsettling part of the experience was seeing myself in a cap and gown. It hasn’t properly dawned on me that I am graduating and it was a strange shock of reality.

Only four months left…

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