Last night I had dinner with a friend. A friend who knows the ins and outs of publishing and has been a tremendous resource, not to mention shoulder to cry on, as I navigate the world of being an author. One theme that generally comes up when we sit over Thai food for a couple of hours is what's next. For me, anyway. I told her how I've been a bit stuck with this blog lately, not sure where to go, what to say, how to find inspiration, how not to bore people by bringing up my angst and insecurity over and over, how to explore what I'm going through in a way that might appeal to people who take time to read what I'm up to.
She suggested HD makeup. Not from a beautician's point of view which is fortunate because I truly suck at makeup, but more along the lines of what it's like to be almost 46, on national TV for the first time, and all the artistry that went into making me look better than I actually do in real life.
Let me start with the tragedy that is my makeup ability. I wear almost none. I have no talent, no skill, bright colors, even subtle colors look ridiculous on me. Having said that, if I don't have on brown eyeliner, brownish-black mascara and blushing nude lipstick (Clinique), I feel completely exposed. And having said *that* it generally looks like I wear nothing at all. But, that little bit provides an emotional safety net. At the moment I've got no eyeliner left. This is day 3 and I'm grateful it's sunglasses weather so no one can see my non-rimmed eyes. Will I buy more? All I have to do is walk 2 blocks to the drugstore. Or pop in to the one across the street. Chances are, not today.
So, the thought of being seen by millions of people was enough to make me seek out help. A friend of a friend was free, and happened to live in the neighborhood, which was great. When we connected on the phone she told me how important it was to have the right make up for high definition TV, that it was another thing entirely than regular TV makeup. All I could think as I hung up was thank god I found this woman. I can't even put on blush (is that what they still call it?), let alone know what I should be doing to have my pores magnified thousands of times.
It's all about layering. That's what the lovely makeup artist said as she set up shop on my dining room table, unloading sponges and brushes, containers and compacts. She had boxes that opened with countless levels and drawers and hinges. As she patted and dabbed, lightly feathering my chin, my cheeks, my eyes she told me the HD TV is complete and total nightmare to older woman, that it's nothing but a disservice to blow pores, wrinkles, imperfections up so large. With proper makeup (that needs to settle for a couple of hours for it to look its best), one can try to minimize reality, but there's only so much you can do as age makes itself known. We talked about treatments and options. I just almost wrote "solutions" but there are no solutions. That's the trap we get caught in.
I'll say it again: THERE ARE NO SOLUTIONS.
There are products that promise results. Eyelash enhancers, wrinkle de-rollers, age spot reducers (actually I don't know if there still are, but I remember that commercial from my childhood). There are cremes and masks. You can have layers of skin burnt off. Doctors who will charge thousands of dollars to pull skin tauter, inject chemicals, suck out fat, slice off saggy skin. More people than I can imagine choose surgery to look younger. Call me crazy but the potential side effects or what can go wrong are too terrifying for me to take a chance.
And know what? I'm ok with where I am.
Talking about it helps.
This is my next conversation. Aging. Feeling ok about where we are and thinking about maybe why we're not.
There's more to the story than whether or skin is dewy fresh or our hair is sprinkled with strands of grey.
I want to hear what you think. Let's figure this one out together.