Friday, January 28, 2011
Makeup: A Love Story
This past year has easily been the hardest of my life. I won't get into the details, because many of us have had trials beyond measure recently. Still, it tested me professionally, personally, physically, and emotionally all at once.
This year, as my resources were tapped out, I turned more and more to makeup. Why that, of all things? For one, I've always been a very visual person: I've loved studying the nuances and symmetry - even the quirks, the battle scars - of each face. Makeup has been an escape for me since I was about 13. Escapes aren't healthy, right? Perhaps.
However, there was a day that I can remember most vividly when my armor was a mess and I thought sadness alone could be terminal. In that moment, I forced myself to put on makeup. I don't know what drew me to it, but the act alone helped restore something I thought I'd lost. It was acting as-if: as-if I felt good about myself, as-if I still had that confidence, as-if I still felt self-respect and demanded that back from the world. That as-if feeling began to restore the real feeling.
The inner and outer selves are more connected than we think: We radiate physically when we feel good on the inside. The reverse can work for us, too - even if it initially feels like faking it. Makeup done right isn't purely about technique. Sometimes when I walk by a makeup counter and see the giddy expectation in a young girl's eyes, I wonder what it's really all about. I recognize that want. For me, in the darkest moments, it was about more than reaching for the perfect color lipstick. It was about reaching for myself.