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!