I know that over the past 22 years, we have had an on-again-off-again relationship. I loved you when I was five and not allowed to wear makeup but I tried to anyway and clumsily smeared your red creamy perfection all around my lips but not actually on them. I used to watch as my mother applied you every time she left the house, her signature shade of dark red-brown, jealous that she could have you and I couldn’t.
I hated you when I was twelve and couldn’t be bothered with anything that wasn’t body glitter or Lip Smackers and didn’t smell like artificial fruit. You were no longer desirable unless you had a name like “Krazy Kiwi” or “Cool Cotton Candy.”
We were friends when I was sixteen and joined the marching band colorguard and wore cat eye makeup and dark lips for every field show. I learned how to apply you, but I never wanted you to be part of my life off the field.
Throughout college we messed around and sometimes I would cheat on you with shinier glosses that came in a squeezy tube or boasted that they would plump my lips. You helped me when I needed to look nice for my choir concerts or class presentations, but when it wasn’t a special occasion, I pushed you to the bottom of my makeup bag.
Now I think I am more mature and can approach our relationship differently. I still enjoy a little lip gloss on the side when I don’t want to get too serious, and I will never part with my Blistex Silk and Shine lip balm, but you and I are closer than ever. I feel like a grown up when I wear you, and I don’t mind working you into my daily makeup routine. I love it that I can go to the drugstore and buy a new tube of you for several dollars, and the second I put you on, my day is brightened. I love it that I can collect so many different shades of you. I love the way you look displayed on my countertop. I love it that I have finally found the guts to wear you in a shade called “Stoplight Red” and not worry that I will look whorish. I love you, Lipstick. You are no longer that thing my mom used to apply in the car mirror before we would go out to get groceries — you’re something that I wear, too, and while it may make me feel more like my mother, I am totally okay with that.