I’m trying to make an image of myself in MS Paint, a jpeg doll, the kind I saw on LJ, or Black Planet. They’re thick and cute with pouty lips and bedroom eyes: years later, I will wonder if Bratz dolls were modeled after them, and if their creator was someone who spent too much time festooning their Mi Gente profile with fake-handstyle sparkle gifs too. I’m trying to make myself in the image of these jpeg dolls, but all the dolls have eyes lime green, or deep cerulean, and peachy skin. I’m trying to find a color that looks like me, but my monitor is old and donated, and everything has a pink tinge. I decide on what I think is a mocha tan, zooming in two-hundred then four-hundred percent, filling in each pixel with rapid clicks. I am excited; a doll in my skin, with perfect brown hair, tan skin, and a pink and white crop top and matching white capris.

I am embarrassed when I show Christine M. and Christine K. at school, and the new computer lab monitor shows my doll in a sickly green, clashing with her pink and white crop top.

Her skin looks like puke, Christine M. says.

You look like an alien, Christine K. says.

Yesenia Padilla is a Calibabe Xicanix Brujitx writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Lumen Magazine.