I am a small eyeshadow palette. I belong to a 15-year-old girl. I’m usually just used by the girl, sometimes by her mother. I spent a good life, albeit a boring one. Then something changed. One night after everyone had gone to sleep, the lights switched on and a boy walked in. I’d seen him around before, but he’d never been too close to me. If anything, he would act uncomfortable if his sister would bring me near him. That night, he entered the room and sat down in front of the mirror where I was placed. He picked me up, looked intently at me and with a soft touch of his fingertips, he applied me to his lid. He was a natural. He created a fun, playful look. All the time he seemed hesitant and jumped at the slightest sound. When he was done, he left as quietly as he came. After this he would come down almost every night and experiment with all the different colors. He paid attention to detail and seemed to have more skill than both his mother and sister. He would spend up to an hour on one eye, but his face would brighten up as soon as he saw it in the mirror. He did all sorts of looks, sometimes really bold bright color schemes and sometimes looks based off of his favorite fictional character. He was really artistic, and I had a great time too. This whole activity went on for a few weeks but one night, everything changed. When the boy was about to remove the eyeshadow before leaving, his mother walked in. No words were exchanged. She stared at him in silent anger. He quickly took the makeup off and rushed back to his room, brushing past her. The next morning, the whole house was dangerously quiet. I heard the father calling the boy to his room. He went, head down. I had no idea why everyone was acting so strange but a few minutes later I heard bits of the conversation. ‘These things aren’t for boys’, ‘Be a man’, ‘Do you want to explain yourself?’. The boy mumbled something. All I could make out was ‘just fun’ and then ‘sorry’. I didn’t understand. Why would using me make him less of a man? Why would 12-year-old boy playing around with some makeup make his parents react this way? They never told the girl off, though she messed up the styles even. I miss the boy a lot. He does not come at night anymore. Actually, I don’t hear him at all. I see him once in a while, but he is stony faced.
– Zayna Ahsan, Volunteer from Eye on Ivy