An Exposé (because lips and eyelashes don’t sweat)

I was one of those girls.

I would not leave the house without a full face of makeup, not even to get gas.

I knew I looked better with makeup. I felt more polished, more presentable, more ready for my day. And I knew everyone else thought that too.

I put makeup on when I was sick. I put makeup on when I was home with young children. If I had been born twenty years earlier, I’m sure I would have been wearing heels and pearls too.

But then we went to Thailand, and makeup was a lost cause. It was so hot that sweat left trails through my perfectly painted face. I was left with a hard choice: go barefaced or wind up looking like Joker from Batman. Not the 1960s clown-like Joker. The Heath Ledger Joker. So I quit wearing makeup altogether except for really special occasions, and then I would only wear mascara and lipstick (because lips and eyelashes don’t sweat).

When we came back to the States, I went right back into full makeup mode except for Saturdays. I found I needed one day a week to feel the same freedom I had felt overseas.

Then we started taking family vacations to outdoorsy places where makeup would only interfere, and I realized how easy it was to pack for my trip when I wasn’t taking makeup. I quit packing makeup on virtually all vacations.

Then COVID hit, and I was working from home and not going out except for walks in the cemetery where no one cared how I looked. And I started to realize I didn’t care that much anymore either.

Not that I let myself go and stopped all grooming. I just no longer felt the need to get dolled up before I could be seen in public. I felt myself start to blossom out from under the weight of NEEDING to wear makeup. I was putting myself out there without the force field of confidence and beauty I had been hiding behind for years.

When we went back to the office, I no longer wanted to spend twenty minutes putting on a face that would only need washed back off that night. I no longer wanted to stop and ask myself if it was okay to rub my eye without smearing my mascara. I no longer wanted to go through the trouble of decorating a face that would only be hidden behind a mask anyway.

I found I had more time in the mornings to take an extra long walk with my husband. I wasn’t putting mascara on at stoplights in a mad rush to get to work on time in full battle gear. I was just me. Me with the curly hair I was born with, no more damaging straighteners to tame my hair into something it isn’t. Me with the face I was born with, with all its discolorations and imperfections.

Just me.

But something else was happening too. I was no longer hiding behind a brushed and finished face. At first, it was terrifying. I worried people would think I had quit caring about my appearance, that I was lazy or behind the times. I had no choice but to rely on myself and what I believed about myself when I faced the world. I felt as stripped bare as my face. All I had left to offer was myself – my skills and abilities and those qualities that make me who I am and what I bring to the table.

And I have felt more confident and secure than I have ever felt before in my life.

I still love makeup and will wear it whenever I want. But I will never again wear it out of necessity. It will never again be my source of confidence.

I am a child of the Most High God, created in his image and for his glory. He has a purpose for me that extends far beyond how pretty others may find me, and I will rest in that as I make my way in this world.

With or without makeup.

6 Replies to “An Exposé (because lips and eyelashes don’t sweat)”

  1. Thank you so much Beth. For years, I got up, made up and did my hair. Still do. It’s a habit. Some days I don’t even leave my apartment. This really made me think. I’ve been struggling about whether I should let my hair go gray? white?,and maybe wear less makeup, and that makes me wonder who I think I’m kidding? I’m 78. Maybe it’s time to embrace it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been struggling about letting my hair go too. I’m not there yet, but I want to feel like it’s my choice and not something I have to do to feel accepted and worthy. You will be the same beautiful Fran either way!!!

      Like

  2. Thank you Beth, I always love your writing. I can appreciate every word! I recently had 8 inches cut off my ever so patiently growing hair, into, what would be one of the worst pixie cuts ever… I was horrified and obsessed with each imperfection,uneven, un blend able ,terrible pixie haircut. At age 62 with wrinkles appearing deeper and my usefulness disappearing utterly obsessed! Funny thing though, in the privacy of my own home it is freeing to me. When I walk out the door however, The obsession of what people think of me kicks in. I have to turn it over to God minute by minute and thank Him ,who created me to be with hair or no hair make up or no make up. My obsession must be with God and God alone! Love you Beth💞

    Liked by 1 person

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