We are stuck at home today. We were supposed to go out, to get baking supplies to make cookies and fudge for fellowship hour at church t...

Makeup Philosophy

Saturday, December 14, 2013 , , ,

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We are stuck at home today. We were supposed to go out, to get baking supplies to make cookies and fudge for fellowship hour at church tomorrow.

Instead, I woke to the sound of a seal choir this morning and so texted my friend, Jessica: If I buy cookies, can you take over serving for fellowship tomorrow? I have three baking kids...

Whoops! Correction: Lol. Autocorrect. Three barking kids.

I wish I had three baking kids...that sounds like more fun.

They have croup. All three of them. We rarely get sick, but twice now this month {a very mild cold last week}. I  totally blame the Chick-fil-A playground we were at last week. I forgot to grab some of those Purell wipes they always supply, and now--coincidentally? I think not--they're all sick.

With snot hair. It takes me back to my days when I was a children's hairstylist, combing out boogers...but that's a whole other post that you'd probably rather not read. 

The girls have been plopped on the couch all day, barking, sniffling, and watching Toy Story/Mickey Mouse/Little Mermaid. Paxton, bless him, is sleeping it off in his swing. 

Sometimes sick kids--mildly sick, of course--can free up some time for mom and dad: I had time to do my makeup this morning!

Last night, after a long and dirty day, I finally found time to take a shower at 7 p.m. Justin was on his way out the door with the three kids in tow, heading to the grocery store for a few last-minute dinner ingredients. {This is what happens when I don't meal plan: we end up heading the the grocery store every day.} As he kissed me and turned to leave, I looked at myself in the mirror. I cringed at my naked, freshly showered face at first. Then I took another long look at the real me. 

"Dare me to post a photo of myself without makeup?" I asked. 

"I totally dare you!" he said. 

I was surprised to check my phone an hour later to see so many really nice comments from friends--and also from strangers--on Instagram. I'd posted that photo honestly thinking that people would say, "Wow! You look really strange/different without makeup." or "You must wear a lot because you look completely different!" And I was okay with them saying those things, because that's what I think of un-preened me: that strange, beady-eyed, blotchy pink skinned version of myself.

Perhaps sadly, a version of myself that I avoid looking at very often.

Instead, a lot of people said a lot of really nice things. Then I was embarrassed. Justin always says I don't take compliments well and it's true. That's not to say I'm really humble, it's more that I don't know how to respond when people say nice things to me. A simple thank you never seems like enough.

Anyway, I'd expected shock. Why? Because I'm always shocked to see myself without makeup--a testament of how long I've worn it. {I was maybe 12 when I started?} And I realized that how I see me is a lot different from how others see me. Well, duh...

Try as we might, we don't have complete control over how others see us, the assumptions they might make, and what past experiences they carry with them which might skew their view away from what you want them to see.

Years ago, I posted a photo of myself with a goofy expression on this blog. Someone said to me, "Why did you post that ridiculous photo of yourself?" I just laughed, but what I was thinking, honestly, is that I like people to know that I don't take myself too seriously. I did look ridiculous; I found it amusing and I'm okay with poking fun at myself. That's a trait I appreciate in others too, a little self-deprecating humor, it helps lighten the mood.

My personality clashes pretty severely with people who are very serious. {Which, by the way, is exactly what made my philosophy class in college a living hell for me. Not just with my professor, with the entire class. See, class clowns don't do well in philosophy classes. The only thing I really learned in that class was that we shouldn't try to make jokes off of Nietzsche quotes.} I'm glad some people are serious: it's always reassuring to see doctors, lawyers, and--ugh--philosophers with a serious streak--but I don't often get along with them. 

Speaking of school, in beauty school I took a lot of different classes. Coloring and cutting, obviously. Also business, chemistry, sanitation, health {as a result, I have images of fingernail fungi forever burned into my memory}, and even some electrical stuff was covered. As a cosmetology student, I also took skin and nail courses. 

Our makeup teacher was different from all the other instructors at cosmetology school. Her name was Willow, she dressed like a teenager {she was probably in her 30s}, and she had a platinum blonde pixie cut. She sat on the teacher's desk, Indian-style, and talked to us like we were all girlfriends at a sleepover. We'd paint our nails and do each other's makeup while Willow pranced around the room being nice to everyone {I say that because it's a rare thing in cosmetology school}. 

She taught us some basics for makeup application, but she also stressed to us that when it comes to beauty, there is no right or wrong. 

"Your face and your makeup are your story, and you can tell any story you want to with it," she said. "There are really no rules when it comes to makeup. It's how we express ourselves."

{She said a lot of things like that. Now, I can handle a little bit of beauty school philosophy.}

As schmaltzy as that sounds, I really do agree with it. We all get to choose how to present ourselves to the world. As strange as it is for me to look at the side-by-side photo of myself before and after makeup, I'm completely accepting of it, really. This is who I am and this is how I choose to "tell my story". I really don't care if others don't like it. So when people replied to my post by saying, "You don't need makeup!" I was truly flattered, but I didn't care if they thought I looked better that way or not. I like wearing makeup. I will probably always wear makeup. 

I like my eyes lined and defined. I like my skin tone evened. I like my under-eye brightener, even if I do go overboard with it some days. I also like my fresh face too, I've decided. 

"Makeup isn't about creating beauty. It's about enhancing your natural beauty," Willow would say. "You can enhance as much or as little as you like."

She was a trip. But I do agree with what she said. 

Sometimes I see other women and I start to judge their appearance. She should wear a little more makeup, I might catch myself thinking. Or sometimes, it's the opposite, Wow, is that much makeup really necessary? or Why in the world would you want rainbow-striped hair?

Then I remind myself of Willow's words, they are telling their story. I am telling mine. I am glad we are not the same. 

Oh, I sometimes I feel a pang of jealousy when I see beautiful women who wear little or no makeup. How easy their morning routine must be! Sometimes I have women say to me, "Wow, I love your bright green eye-shadow. I wish I could pull that off, but it looks ridiculous when I try bright colors!"

That's what I've realized: I feel ridiculous without all my makeup, and some women feel ridiculous wearing makeup like I do, or as much as I do. It's more than just how we're used to seeing ourselves, I think. I think it's because--as corny as this sounds, do forgive me--it's not my story. Just as bright green eye-shadow might not be a part of your story. We each have our own story, we present ourselves as we wish to, and throughout life we might continue to morph. 

Last year, for example, I put a pink streak in my hair. My mom hated it, but I was able to check "pink hair" off my bucket list. {I might cross it off again someday, mom. Just a warning.}

In fact, while I was writing this very post, Miss Violet approached me with a little bit of her story written all over her face. She loves my makeup, and gets into it whenever she can. {Because of threats from my husband, I will be discouraging her from wearing it until she is a teenager.} For a two-year-old, you have to admit, she's already pretty good with a mascara wand.


Now, I can't believe I just wrote a post this size about how I feel about makeup. Is this really any better than a post about the strange and gross things I've combed out of children's hair? Let's ask Nietzsche! He said if my post didn't kill you, then it only made you stronger.





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    1. Exactly! Thank you!! It's so good to read a comment from someone who really "gets" me. Thanks for the plug. I mean comment.


  2. Heather, did you just get saved?

    You are beautiful with or without makeup. MUST BE NICE. If I could put words to Pax's expression, it would be "mommy, why?"

    love u


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