Chapter One: Psyche
If I had to pick what was the evilest thing in the world, I would say it was talent scouts. They go to malls, hunting down parents of good-looking kids, and then fill their heads with promises of fame and fortune.
My mother was one of those suckers, nodding her head as she held three-year-old me in her hands. I was just concern about getting a ride on the merry-go-round. Little did I know, that was the last day of my life that I could do that.
Sometimes, kids don’t get picked up. Me, on the other hand, got picked up for every commercial my mother signed up for, every small part in a tv show, and then a bigger part of a tv show called “Loving Your Family”. I was the little girl of the mom and dad, and honestly, I didn’t know it was acting. I thought these people were my family, and I was just told to say stuff to them.
I quickly became America’s sweetheart. People loved the happy little blonde girl on tv, smiling away for a few million dollars. People loved my character’s little snarky comments that they would slap their own child for.
When the show ended, I was around nine. I was highly confused when I couldn’t go to the set anymore, I didn’t see my fake mom and dad anymore, my fake siblings and friends. I was confused and asked my mother. She said, “Honey, it was just a tv show. It’s just acting.”
I told her I didn’t like acting that much. I told her because I didn’t want to go to another audition and get attached to another family. So, my mother and my agent agreed I could do modeling.
They loved that I was getting taller and taller as every year had gone by. I barely made the height requirement for a run way model. I was one inch away, but they wanted me anyway, so I was still allowed to walk.
That was at 16. I hated every second of it. The shows were weird and loud and crazy. There was so much food but I wasn’t allowed to eat any of it.
The other models hated me and refused to talk to me. I felt like crying, but acting had made me learn how to fake a smile. I just thought about that merry-go-round.
Now at 22, I mostly do catalog and have my own ‘fashion line’ (even though I made nothing. I just gave them my name) and even perfume that smells like a dog’s water bowl. I hated it all.
I shouldn’t. There are millions out there that would kill to be in my position, work hard and do what they needed to do. It’s always been their dream.
It was never my dream.
The only thing I liked about being an adult was I got to move to my own place. Despite that, my mother still thought she could come into my house without knocking. “Psyche! Honey-pie, did you get Mary’s email.”
I shook my head. I rarely checked my email, so for anyone to tell me something, it was rather rude to send it through email after I argued with them about it. But that was my agent for you. “No, why?”
“So, you’ve been named the most beautiful woman for this year! Isn’t that exciting!” my mother screamed. I was just finishing my breakfast, but the news disgusted me so much, I had to put the plate away from me.
I just raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”
“Yeah! You’re going to be-”
“Mom, I’m tired right now. I told you I was staying home to catch up on mental health, and all that. I told you for weeks.” I just didn’t want to be around her. I wanted alone time.
“Psyche, dear, you can’t be a winner if you take breaks,” my mother said putting a hand on her hips. “Besides, aren’t you excited? You been called-”
“Yeah, yeah, most beautiful woman in the world. The young girl in her twenties, dye hair, and heavy makeup that has her picture taken all the time. On top of that? The photoshop that’s done to me, yeah no wonder someone like me got the title. When men get the most handsome title, they don’t have to do that. Shoot, the grayer the hair the better. Do you not see how awful that is?”
My mother just crossed her arms. She liked me when I was little. When I didn’t talk back and just smiled. “Honey, can you try to be positive?”
“Mom, I don’t feel like I am doing anything good for the world. So I was thinking about something,” I said starting to smile. I had been holding my breath for this for a long time, but I had to tell her. “I should start college.”
My mother’s blank eyes pierced through me. “I’m sorry?”
“I want to start college. I mean, why not?”
“Honey, you never even been to a real school.”
“So? I still got my high school diploma, plus I want to learn. I want to-”
My mother just shook her head. I don’t know why, but in my thoughts, she was happier for me. “Honey, you’re not going to have time for that. Besides, what good is it going to be?”
“It’s just online college-”
“No, Psyche. It’s a waste of time. You have more important things to do. You’re too busy.”
“Mom, I am not going to be this way forever. I’m going to get older, and have nothing to offer.”
“You’re only 22 years old.”
“Exactly! Why am I getting the title? Because I’m young, smooth skin, no gray hairs. If I was a guy, things would be different. They need to give that title to someone else.”
“They can’t now . . . it’s already printed out,” my mother said, pointing to the magazine she pulled out of her purse. Sure enough, I was right there.
I remembered the picture they used. I was thinking about food while getting my picture done. “Damnit,” I mumbled. “This doesn’t make me look like a douchebag.”
My mother sighed. “I have to get going, honey. Don’t turn into one of those hairy leg feminists. It’ll ruin your career.”
I wanted to grow out my armpits to just piss her off. Knowing Twitter and Instagram, they would have called it a trend, and that would have made my mother happy because people were talking about me and that was better for her and Mary.
I did what I did best. Just smiled and faked it, thinking about that damn merry-go-round.