I remember my first foray into the land of makeup…
Julie and I walked downtown. It was late summer and a new school year was approaching–7th grade. We went to Langmack’s Drug Store (think Ace Hardware, not Sephora) and stood before a wall of pastel powders, concealing pastes, and sparkling creams. Julie chose a pinkish shade of a liquid Covergirl blush. I chose the same brand that was more peachy. Covergirl. The name seemed appropriate for girls shopping for our first cosmetics.
This wasn’t grandma’s lipstick abruptly rubbed on my cheeks to “give me a little color”.
This initial memory is just the beginning of my addiction (a little too strong of a word perhaps) to make-up. You see, I’m one of those who feel almost naked without something on my face. Even during the Covid lockdown, I continued my full-face routine. Every. Day.
I have occasionally tried to go without but always come back.
The first time was as a young adult. I went on an Outward Bound canoeing trip up in the Boundary Waters. I chose to go bare-faced. When we got back to the base facility on our last day, everyone showered and we had a last meal together. I remember one of the young men acknowledged that I wore make-up. As I walked into the dining hall, he looked at me, his eyebrows raised, a grin on his lips as he moved his open hand in a circle in front of his face. I took this to mean that he approved of my “new” look.
That sealed it for me. I figured a non-invested, objective individual definitely thought that I looked better with even just a bit of makeup.
As I sit here 30 years later, I recognize that that is a lot of power to give to a young man whose name I don’t even remember.
Now that I think about it, I have posted many photos of me “fresh” faced–exercising or walking with the dogs in the morning. But that somehow feels different.
Leveled Down Me
I am actually, right now, experimenting with the concept of my “identity” at my side gig. I am working at a local business that is very labor intensive. When I get ready in the morning, I prioritize my daily run with my dogs. Since I need to leave my house by 5:30, I have my lunch made the night before and have about 20 minutes to prep “me”. I wash my face, brush my teeth, put on moisturizer, and dust on some face powder (I hate the feel of my sticky eyelids later in the day). Then I put my hair back in a ponytail and slap my favorite “Life Is Good” hat with the golden retriever roasting marshmallows over a campfire on the front. Sports bra, yoga wear, and a light Badger’s fleece jacket complete my appearance for the day.
I feel like a different person in this job.
When I get home at the end of the day, I shower, and…sometimes put on makeup! It makes me feel like me. When I look in the mirror, I see the self that I want to see.
These days it takes a little more than a swipe and a smudge of grandma’s lipstick to put color in my cheeks.
Come to think of it. The grandma that I’m referring to in this instance always wore makeup. Always.