Black eyeliner ’til the day I die. 

As I was “prepping” myself in the “paint room” for Christmas Eve dinner, I realized I’ve come a long way since those teenage years, when the need to always look good had its beginnings. I’m not sure if this need comes from a cultural standard or just not being too comfortable with my looks, but going out without my face covered, or dressed properly, was not a thing I would do.

Yesterday, I said to myself “I just don’t know how to do this anymore.” It looks like I lost practice. Or I’m simply not interested.

Between the concealer, the eyebrow design/color enhancer, and the mascara, I was a mess. I felt like I was in kindergarten trying to paint an abstract masterpiece with watercolors. Many times everything smeared and I had to “erase” the mess with more concealer. That’s when I wish I could just photoshop myself and go out.

I was a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s and as a phased into my 20s makeup just got much more complex. The diverse shades of purple that I would blend into one eyelid was amazing. The patience to start with a lighter shade and then start mixing in other shades is something I didn’t realize I ever had. The layers of foundation to hide those marks and open pores on my face. The black eyeliner, which for some reason I would use inside my eye, instead of the outside which is supposed to make your eyes look bigger. It seems I’ve never been keen in having bigger eyes.

The hair. My long, silky, straight brown hair had to be always brushed. And forget about just picking my hair up. No, it had to be perfect. I had a method to pick up my hair in a ponytail, and if one strand of hair was out of line, I would start all over again. I remember my arms getting tired.

When I started working and earning more money, I had my work clothes made to my likes. High heels were the norm, and stockings. OMG! Stockings. And don’t get me started on the shoulder pads. I would never leave home without them.

But over the years I have started a slow process of detox in the “I have to look great” category. When I hit my 40s I allowed the little hippie girl to come out, along with the “I don’t give a shit” attitude. With that some of my repressed creativity began to release itself. I learned from my surroundings that you don’t need to look awesomely beautiful and perfect for others to be agreeable with you. I learned from my friends, co-workers, and people who have no idea they taught me a lesson in life just by the way they handled themselves. It was ok NOT to look good, if you didn’t want to.

I learned that by not adding an entire color palette on my eyelids, I could add extra minutes to my morning sleep. I saw that no matter how much foundation I smeared on my face, the flaws would always be visible. I learned to like my “look” when I just pulled my wet hair up in a bun; wear flip flops and flip flopped around town; go out and about in shorts and a tank top; wear cargo boots with pretty much any piece of clothing I own.

At 50, I don’t wear make up during the weekends. And the makeup I wear when I go to work or just a social gathering, is very basic. I add blush to my cheek bones and my eyelids. Two in one! I use powdered foundation, so all my flaws are visible. And normally I don’t wear lip stick. I was never worried about gray hair, so I don’t dye it. And I barely plucked my eyebrows back when I was younger because it HURTS, so of course, I don’t do that now.

I must clarify, I do shower and wash my hair every day; I shave and wax; if I don’t have a pedicure I won’t scare people off by wearing sandals (I’m very considerate of others); I’m always clean.

Perhaps I’m becoming more accepting of how I look because I’m starting to love my inner-self even more. That slow detox process has made its way inside of me and is doing wonderful things. I don’t need to look good for anyone to like me.

But, I do still wear black eyeliner inside my eyes. I think it gives them some added intensity and mystery. 🙂

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