What I Make Up For

I have often been asked by other women why I wear make up.

What is it that I am trying to cover up? They ask.

Do I feel I need it somehow?

Am I nervous or do I feel  deficient in my looks?

Nah.  It really isn’t any of those things.

I do it for myself.  I like to play with the products.  A new palette of eye shadow really turns me on.  Or, trying a new type of make up base that promises a porcelain finish and seems to really deliver; I am all over it.

I come by this honestly.  In high school and college I was involved in drama and opera and dramatic narrative and just generally on stage a lot .   I learned how to do stage make up and it fascinated me.  The idea of shading the face so it could be seen at different angles under different lights just seemed so amazing.  You can turn the human face into an artist’s canvas, just with make up.

As I have aged it has given me a great deal of comfort to know that I can still play with my paints and highlight and shade and bring out the best parts and de-emphasize the others.  It is like a magic trick.

However, there is one part of all of this I can’t really account for.

I don’t know when it started or why but when I put on my make up I completely clear my mind of the day ahead.  I go to another place  mentally.  I focus away from the things that keep me captured or tethered to myself.  My  mind wanders and skips over topics like a rock jumps over a river bed.  It lands completely wherever it wants to go.

It is a type of meditation.

I guess it isn’t something you would reccomend in a book on formal meditation, “Meditation: The Make-Up Method”. But, it works great for me.  Maybe it is because I have myself such a comfortable set up in my dressing table area.  A few years ago I decided I needed a make up table and I bought myself a hodge podge table that opened up and had a mirror inside and came with a bench.  After painting the table I realized the mirror was not going to work at all.  It is not magnified and has no lights.  Also, the table sits rather high, which is awkward.  However, the bench fits right under the space between the sinks in our master bathroom.

Voila! I already had a dressing table:)

I have also bought some organizational items so that I can have all of my latest faves neatly stored and easily accesible.  I even have a lighted mirror that is so high resolution it scares me!

So after I complete my morning ablutions I sit down on my bench and pull out all of the goodies I think I might use that day.  A lot of days I tell myself I am going to keep it really simple and I probably should… but I get carried away.  I am enjoying myself.  As soon as the process begins, I quit thinking about the things that trouble me.  I just focus on my face and on some inner voice.. (sometimes the inner voice speaks outwardly and my family thinks I am crazy but there is nothing new there)!

I titled this, “What I Make Up For” because the answer is I make up for me.  After being asked the questions and frankly traveling in a melieu in my professional life that is filled with women who don’t mess with make up because they don’t feel they have to, I am finally comfortable with just being me.

Yeah, I like lipstick.  I like it a lot.  Give me an expensive manicure and wax my brows any day!  And yes, I will show up to your house or event with make up.  I try to make it look very natural… that’s the point.  But if it seems weird or makes you feel uncomfortable, I am saying this to other women, I’m sorry.

It is not a competition.  I love to look at the faces of all my women friends and how they look beautiful just as they are.  Some days, I go around looking just as I are:)  But mostly, I play with my paints and go to my happy place.

So I guess what I make up for is my peace of mind.  That is a pretty good thing so I think I will keep doing it!

A New Plan

I feel silly writing about the same thing a third time.  I mean really, who cares?

After all that kvetching about weight and losing 15 pounds on a dime and the surgeon I actually did something really smart.  I spoke with a nutritionist and she ‘happened’ to be just what I needed.  (I don’t believe in accidents of that kind.)

She told me, “BMI is not a good measure of health and fitness. It is no longer used in my profession as a measure.  You are doing very well.  This doctor is telling you he doesn’t want to operate on you so please get a second opinion.”

That is the sum of what she said, anyway.

So I took her advice and after I thought about it for a minute I felt kinda silly for all the mental acrobatics I had been putting myself through.  After all, the doctor in question is human and fallible.  It is irritating that he couldn’t just be honest and say he was uncomfortable operating on me.  But, I think doctors, especially surgeons, are trained to say they can do anything.  Then I realized something else: it was his partner I had meant to see in the first place.

I went back online and realized that the practice of the Austin Hernia Center and the Austin Surgeons overlapped; same number.  There was only one doctor listed as a hernia specialist and I had seen the wrong one.  Apparently you have to figure that out for yourself.  So I made an appointment with the hernia surgeon.

I saw him on Monday and what a relief!  He will do the surgery robotically and feels quite confident.  He explained it in detail and showed me the CT scan, etc. He seemed baffled (who knows?) by his partner’s behavior and ultimatum to me.   He pointed out that a really high BMI or weight is a problem but that I am not in that category at all:) Yeah!!!!!!

It will still be lengthy surgery and recovery and I will be in the hospital a few days.  I want to get it the hell over with so I scheduled it for June 2.  He said he is clearing his calendar for that day because my surgery will take several hours: ugh.

My son is graduating from his college  and we are having a party for him and then  moving him and his sweet  girlfriend and all their stuff back to Austin in late May.  I figured I would just get it over with after that.  I might as well get the summer going as soon as possible after this mess is done. I am taking the summer off of work, which will be a real relief.

It looks like a summer of hope and I am excited for it.  I want to be healthy and active.  My husband and I acted on a whim, sorta, and bought a 1977 Chrysler Buccaneer,  18ft.  sailboat from a minister in north Texas.  The boat and trailer are in near perfect condition and it was very inexpensive.  We used to own a very small sailboat when we were first married and I know my husband has always missed it. So, when we saw the advert on Craigslist I told my husband to follow up on it.   The boat needs a little maintenance but considering its age, not too much.

So, I plan to be OUT IN THE OPEN! I can’t get too much sun or I have a damned lupus flare or if I dive into the lake I get a sinus infection., etc. etc. but..

I am so much better than I have been in years and I think it’s time to just put on my floppy hat and enjoy everything.

I am grateful to have found out my daughter is staying in the general area another year as her boyfriend does a postdoctoral fellowship with his dissertation supervisor.  My daughter just finished her Master’s thesis and is not ready to keep going academically at this point even though she is insanely gifted.  She needs to clear her head a bit.  Going to school in the pandemic has been hard on everyone; my son too.

So the summer looks bright and I want to be there!

Sad, dissapointing things happen and loved ones will continue to be sick, etc. but I feel like after I get the lumpy bits out  of my tummy (looks like I swallowed a small animal… hernia is BAD.) I think I just plan on some JOY.

I hope you all have some JOY too:)