Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Make Up Make Over

     I remember being given my first lipstick. I was twelve years old and I thought I was holding magic. I'd been entrusted with the secrets to womanhood; this simple stick of color was about to take me from child to woman.  This was leveling the play field between me, the fat kid, and the girls who were blossoming. I may not have had boobs but I had the right shade of pink to attract the boys. Embracing my grown up self I smoothed it over my lips...pause....then my cheeks...pause...then reapplied more, until finally my grandmother made me give it back.

     My second attempt with make up was a tinted acne concealer in 7th grade. It's purpose was to be dabbed on pimples as needed.  By the time I was done I had covered my entire face but not for acne reasons - this stuff was the closest to foundation I'd gotten and I went nuts. The look on my mothers face when she saw the brown mask was priceless. It was an immediate, "Turn around and wash your face!"

     My junior year of high school was when I got good at make up. I had spent the summer watching make over shows and learning every trick I could. I was asked to help others with their make up. I'd come a long way from the lip stick smeared cheeks and tinted face.  I had leveled the playing field with other girls in school - sure you have a cute figure but I have a rocking smokey eye. It was a shame that boys didn't appreciate the time and effort I put into myself everyday. Oh, to have those HOURS of sleep back.

     My make up changed with my fashion phases and clothing sizes. The bigger I got the thicker the face paint got. I refused to look at my body and since I wasn't focusing on it I put all of my time and energy into my face.  As I moved up the money making ladder in life I expanded my addiction to more expensive brands and invested in every color of everything.  The make up girls at Macy's new me by name and always had the lastest and greatest ready to show me.

       I found myself struggling with my face as my weight came off. I had used my make up as a cover for my size - without the weight, what was I hiding from? I'd covered my face for so many years that I realized I really didn't know what my natural face looked like.  I needed to make peace with my face and learn to be kind to the woman in the mirror.  The question now was how. 

    The transition was not easy and took almost four years for me to get where I am today in my make up routine.  I eliminated colors and products slowly. I retired the green, blue, and sparkly eye shadows and opted for natural shades and softer applications.  Black eye liner was the hardest product to back off on - I had been using it since high school! It felt like breaking a drug addiction because I didn't think I could live without it. I removed it from my bag and stashed it away. There was comfort in knowing I could always go and get it. I forced myself to go a week without it and just use mascara and natural colored eye shadow. During this week I hated looking in the mirror. I felt naked. But I refused to let myself cave in. I was determined to like what I saw without painting it on. I give credit to my husband whose kind words helped get me over the withdraw stage. It sounds silly to think of make up having such a pull on someone but it does and that's what needed to change for me. Make up had become my addiction and it was hurting my ability to love myself. The fear of change had prevented me from taking control of my weight sooner and I wasn't going to let it cause me to slide backward. After all, isn't my "real" face what I was after to begin with? 

     Over time I began to see myself as beautiful without make up on or at least with much less make up.  I still use make up. My everyday routine is simple and quick. I enjoy dressier events as the opportunity to use my eyeliner and darker colors; my smokey eye is a once in a while instead of my everyday look.  I leveled the playing field when I shrunk my butt and no longer need heavy make up. 

     It's not easy adjusting to face I am not familiar with. The woman in the mirror can be a stranger at times.  I started gaining weight in third grade and therefore I have never known myself with a "skinny" face.  My face was my mask to the world and I colored all over it, outside of the lines and all.  Now, with reminders, I am embracing a love for what I see. I am beautiful and this time when I say it I believe it.  I don't want to look back on life and realize I never loved and enjoyed myself. I will now remember to always cherish what I have. 

1 comment:

  1. LOOK at you now! So proud of you, so happy for you. What an incredible journey Alyson!
    I was always a fan of you and your endeavors right from the beginning, I think you know that (remember that i-tunes card?), and continue to watch you blossom and grow into the woman you have always been inside.