Made Up

March 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Finally, I have decided to do my hair. By this, I mean that I am going to try to style it. Like, with a brush and some product. I usually go into the stylist with Tomboy instructions: No bangs, not too many layers, and make sure it will go back into a ponytail. Oh, and I won’t use a hair dryer, either. Now, make me look like Marion Cotillard. I feel for the people who have tried to make me look presentable.
You would think with four sisters, and a mother and grandmother with beautician licenses, I would learn something. Anything. But, the year of hot rollers in tenth grade notwithstanding, I’m too lazy to make a real effort, even though my mother always reminded me that beauty knows no pain. Forget about makeup. When I try the smoky eye, it looks like I’ve got a shiner. I tried foundation recently, smeared it all over my face like a kindergartener in fingerpaints. It was fun! Jeff’s immediate reaction? “What did you do to your face? You might want to wash that off.”
Well intentioned people say I don’t need makeup, that no one does. To that, I call bullshit. You are the same people who tell a nine-month pregnant woman she looks gorgeous. Birth is a beautiful thing, but at that point everything–your belly, your ankles, even your nose, begins to spread. You are in the middle of a transformation.
When I was nine months pregnant with my first son, a friend who can’t help it said, “You look like a science experiment.” I suppose I did at that moment. I’m sure I looked at him like a nuclear bomb.
Last year at this time, I wanted to make people look at me as I really felt. I refused to wear makeup at all, and didn’t care that I wore the same two or three outfits to work, alternating, for most of the semester. I wanted people to think something was wrong. Something was wrong. I could not bring myself to answer the dumbest question in the world: are you ok? This question is designed to make the asker feel better. If you say no, I’m not ok at all, it shakes people. They go away quickly.
Jews have it right. Tear your clothes, wear black, drape the mirrors. Sit at home with relatives for several days. Wear no makeup. This makes sense. This forces people look at you uncovered and unraveled. You notice who doesn’t look away.
I put myself back together over the summer. I started caring about how I look, at least a little. I look older. Loss shows in the eyes and around them. There’s no denying it, but I don’t think I want to. I do, however, want to look a little more alive now.
I’ve bought creams recently to boost and lift and give shimmer to my skin. I got a haircut and bought a diffuser. That’s the magic trick, my stylist said, the diffuser. I need some magic. I bought some eyeshadow, a new shade of lipstick. I will probably never wear it all. I am like my mother that way. It is more the idea of the beauty trick than the practice of it that makes me feel better. But, after a year of wanting to fade into the background, of wanting my face to show exactly what I felt to anyone who would look, I want to show up in some mysterious disguise, like everyone else.


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