I’m looking at old cosmetic bag to discover my mother’s lipstick, eye shadows and blushes, which she used to enjoy when she was a little older than I’m today. I’m pulling out of the closet a suitcase with shoes to find a pair of her unprocurable Yugoslav sandals bought back in the 1980s. I’m turning over a pile of boxes in the family barn to find all of my mother’s former clothes and my elder sister’s costumes. Mostly colorful dresses acquired in the soviet department stores and stitched in some atelier or at home.
When I was 7-8 years old I was doing the same thing. Every time I was left home alone, I was just climbing into the closet, to try on every outfit and then posed in front of the mirror, trying to find something adult in myself. These days I’m approaching the age when my mother gave birth to me. I’m taking out all those dresses, useless now, to wear them without fear of being caught up
I’m putting on an old lipstick, which crumbles like dust off my lips and burns my skin. I’m pulling out from the sewing machine old bags with pieces of cloth which my grandmother kept for so many years and never had time to sew anything. I’m leafing through fashion magazines from 1970s and 1980s, which formed my very first idea of beauty. I’m staying in front of the mirror, longing to recall at once all images of women in my family, to understand how they saw their own sexuality.
I’m repeating this ritual again and again, trying to admit my own transformation into an adult woman and at the same time rejecting it, telling myself: it is not about me.