There were many meaningful items that came to mind upon reading the prompt. Irreplaceable items that if were lost I would most likely cry days over. My grandmother’s jewelry, my first work check (never actually cashed, but framed ), a customized cancer bracelet, and many other collectibles I have been hoarding with me to every new country, and every new apartment.  Choosing to explain the significance of one of those items however would be far too easy.

I choose to describe a commodity that is cheaply replaceable, but nonetheless I have found a deeper meaning in its importance. This item reflects more about me than just pure vanity; it demonstrates my insecurities, my heritage and how strongly the values of certain objects/rituals I associate with my own personal value.

The root of the word mascara in portuguese (I’m of Portuguese/Brazilian citizenship) comes from the word máscara, meaning mask. I correlate the word mask with a disguise, to “mask  someone’s true identity. Mascara for me, however, has the opposite effect; I believe mascara provides a reflection of the “real” me.  This item has become essential to my daily routine, and I feel incomplete without it, in other words I feel naked. I believe myself to be unattractive without it and the effect it has on my mood and behavior is unacceptable for a young adult. Feeling insecure and uncomfortable, I have been in many   situations where I have had to do a quick  stop by Duane Reade for such “eyelash aid.”

The mascara wand pulls my eyelashes from the rim of my eye, making them longer and darker. It creates the illusion my eyes are much bigger than they are. It is by reflecting over how something so menial and superficial can affect ones behavior I learned of insecurities much larger than the length of my eyelashes. Sure most people can just say it simply means I want to look my best and care about my appearance, but the true meaning concerns my insecurity over being bi racial.  Attending a small private school in Brazil where most of my classmates were caucasian, my less that large eyes were constantly used as an excuse to be picked on. In my formative teenage years I experimented with multiple ways of making my eyes appear bigger, until I settled with the magical wand I use everyday.