I started wearing make-up around the age of 12/13. And it almost always looked terrible because my Mom believed in letting us make mistakes and so I just layered on foundation and occasionally blue eye shadow which made me look exceptionally sickly and, on occasion, like an actual ghost. (Side note: Sheesh Mom, I know you wanted us to be independent but couldn’t you have given me even 1 make-up lesson??)
To this day, make-up, though I generally like the way it looks now that I know how to use it, still makes me feel….ummmm….insufficient? Like the way I look isn’t good enough? Something along those lines although I can’t quite find the right word for it. And recently I was thinking about that and it reminded me of how my Grandfather always calls make-up “war paint”.
And even though I think he means it as a joke, it really does feel like that sometimes. Going to a wedding where you will be seeing an ex? Interviewing for a new job? Going on a blind date? Just waking up in the morning and facing the day? All of these things can feel like going to war and instead of weapons and armor, women use make-up to prepare and protect themselves against whatever they’re facing that day. Make-up makes us feel strong, makes us feel beautiful, makes us feel powerful. makes us feel SUFFICIENT.
But, isn’t that some bullshit? Why can’t we feel that way as our natural selves, wrinkles and pimples and all? Why do I feel so much better about my capabilities when my under-eye circles are camouflaged? What the fuck does the way I look have to do with my intelligence, my ambition, my joie de vivre?
And yet….and yet….it does. When I’m war-painted up, I do feel more powerful, more capable, more together.
Gosh damnit, I’m so ashamed to admit that.