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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: The Makeover
By Judy Webb
05/21/09


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The Makeover

I was a mess! Nothing was working for me, not my age, my background, nor my college degree, and certainly not my pedigree! I came from a long line of folks desperately needing to be revived and renewed; only they didn’t know it!

I disliked everything about me. My looks, size, smile, my friends, my family and especially myself! I needed and desperately wanted a total renovation and I wouldn’t be happy until I could make that happen! So, when Shirley invited me to join her for a makeover I jumped at the chance. She explained that years ago a friend of hers invited her and now she was inviting me.

Prior to entering the area marked changing room I had a vision of what my before picture should look like. Having a passion for all those makeover shows, I loved to see that before shot of the candidate looking like such a wreck. Teeth were crooked forcing the smile to be subdued and of course the contestant appears absolutely miserable.

I found it gratifying to mentally place my picture alongside the victim’s, comparing the two and thinking, “See, not so bad. If they can remake her, certainly they can work miracles for me!” I longed to become a contestant someday. How I dreamed of improving my life and finding joy and happiness following a complete makeover. Thanks to Shirley my dream was realized.

I can recall how I tentatively entered the changing rooms, not sure what to expect. During the course of our friendship, Shirley had often attempted to help me improve my image. She worked for years to get me to try new things, to step out of my world and embrace life. This friend had gone through a makeover of her own years ago and continued to practice the things she learned from that experience.

I can tell you that upon entering the makeover room I was greeted warmly and given words of encouragement from everyone there. It was like they were expecting me. Did all of these people have makeovers? Were they all here to help me? Well, no matter, none of them could possibly understand what I had lived through. They couldn’t relate to the issues that I faced in my life. There was no way that anyone could know why my heart longed for a makeover. To be able to recreate myself and undo things that had happened, well, no amount of lotions or shade of lipstick could brighten my countenance!

My friend left me alone with these experienced strangers. She assured me I was in good hands. “She’s here for the works” was all she said as she left me.

Remembering that day I cringe with embarrassment. I can still see myself, giving off an air of arrogance while inside I was experiencing apprehension, anger, and anxiety; masked by an aloof demeanor. What a piece of work! What a picture of pain all wrapped up in a pompous personality. Everything about me shouted…”Get out of the way! Leave me alone!”

I was asked to share a bit about myself with the others in the room. I told them all about the miserable, misguided people in my life, beginning with my parents and ending with my spouse. I further explained that if they could teach me how to convince my family and friends how to change; if they could show me how to effectively control people and situations around me, I would be a changed person!

As I told of all the misdeeds my family members participated in I noticed the experienced strangers share a knowing nod and a small smile. They seemed to be communicating with each other by these telling facial gestures.

There were three of us newcomers in the room that day and as the experienced strangers moved from one to the other of us and listened patiently we all had opportunity to share why we were seeking a makeover. Each of our stories had an element of powerlessness. Each of our stories told of a life that was unmanageable and out of control.

Today, less than a year later I can stand before you and said, “Hi, my name is Jessica and I am an alcoholic. My Higher Power, Jesus Christ has brought me here to share with you all about my incredible makeover.”

“Hi, Jessica!” was all I heard before tears cascaded down my cheeks, ruining my makeup but not marring my makeover.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/21/09
I like the idea of both a physical and a spritual makeover.

Exclamation points should be used very rarely, and almost never in narrative. They're best reserved for use in dialogue. Choose strong words instead. When writing in first person, as much as possible find ways to begine sentences with words other than 'I'.

I really felt as if I knew this narrator by the time I'd finished the story--good job with that!

Mary McLeary05/22/09
A timely piece since most of us desire to look better, but what we really need is to be made over on the inside as you pointed out. Good job.