I never didn't wear make up. I mean never. Ever. I didn't wear a lot: mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss - but without it I felt naked, empty, less than. I faded into the background. My confidence in how looked, how I felt was rooted in those simple strokes which probably didn't make that much of an impact to the rest of the world but to me they were transformative.
And then, Covid.
Lip gloss made the inside of masks dirty and sticky so I stopped wearing it. And then one of my eyes started aching and when I went to a nerve-wracking emergency visit to the eye doctor - everything was nerve-wracking back at the beginning of sheltering in, it turned out a clump of old mascara had gotten under my lid and adhered to it like a barnacle. The doctor carefully dislodged it and mentioned how much old gunk was on my lids and lashes. Truth - I never cleaned my makeup off, just added stuff over the smudges the next day. It was honestly embarrassing (as was the time I went back not that much later to find there was a tiny piece of glitter in my eye from a broken snow globe accident) and my eyes were also getting drier and drier so I decided to give them a much needed break and stop wearing make up altogether.
Amazing how unattractive and how much older one can feel, the one being me, without those subtle strokes of color. I hated looking in the mirror. My sense of fashion withered away. It was a quick slow descent into grey shapeless jumpsuits and feeling my actual age which I generally don't feel. And my eyes didn't feel all that much better either. Lose lose.
Yesterday I dug down into my makeup drawer and pulled navy eyeliner and basic black mascara, casually putting on both. It looked heavy and fake and overdone so I dabbed some away and boom - I looked more like myself that I have in too long. And I looked pretty good which was a delight to see after months and months avoiding my reflection anywhere. The change: I carefully washed it all off last night and today went makeup free because I've learned that even if it emotionally made me feel better, physically my body needs some TLC too. Balance.