Posts Tagged ‘influence’

I have a love-hate relationship with make-up. It began at a very early age. Well, the love part came about early, and now the hate pops up on random days. The women we grow up with in our families leave a heavy mark on us. Some of us may be successful in debunking those influences if we consciously oppose them and want to reach a comfort zone free from such opinions and routines. Most of us end up with an imprint, influence from the women who raised us up, rather we like it or not.

My mother wore make-up. My paternal grandmother wore make-up, always. (My maternal grandmother died while I was a baby.) I remember that my mother seemed to get self-esteem, the motivation to socialize through her make-up. She did the full-face… foundation to dark creamy eye shadow, to lipstick, and always lots of mascara. She never told me that I needed to wear it… my grandma is a different story. My grandmother always had on make-up and her hair was always perfectly coifed. She had a huge mirror mounted on the wall of her hallway that had two sides on hinges that would swing out so she could examine her hair from all angles, to be sure all was smoothed, no holes, no awkward pieces sticking out or up. Perfect. Now I don’t know exactly how big her contribution was to the thinning of the ozone, but before CFC’s were taken out of aerosol hairspray, I’m sure she socked it her share of damage.

Appearance was of moderate to high concern and we were coached, assisted, and reminded of this on a regular basis. The biggest beauty production of all occurred each Sunday, getting ready for church. The process began on Saturday evening. My grandmother would wash my hair, let it dry in front of the fireplace, and then she would roll it in big, squishy, pink rollers, and/or socks for me to sleep in. We had to style our hair, we had to wear stockings, we had heels on our shoes from a young age, and of course, we had to wear make-up.

My grandmother had a very passive-aggressive way about her. I remember visiting her once in my twenties and she made breakfast for me like she always did (she loved to cook for everybody and often and as much as possible.), so I got myself presentable enough to visit the breakfast table, or so I thought. No one else was visiting at the time or stopping by to join us for breakfast. I think my grandpa was out hunting or mowing the lawn.

I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair (which is about the most I do to my straight hair anyway), got dressed, and put on make-up. I walked down the hall and through the living room, reached my seat and began chit-chatting with MaMa as she prepared the food. The first thing she asked was if I was feeling okay. She said that I looked a little peaked (read: code word for Southern women which really means, “You look like shit darling!”), probably because I didn’t have my face on yet. Remember, I had on full make-up sans lipstick. After pointing that out, she said that putting on some lip color should perk me up. Oy vey.

I purposely did not put anything on my lips because I was going to be eating immediately AND the only person to see me was my dear, sweet grandmother. Alas, I still wasn’t pulled together enough for the occasion.

A few years ago, what the hell was she called? A motivational speaker maybe? She wasn’t. A lot of it turned out to be a joke, but she provided a free workshop for the staff where I worked. It was just ever so difficult for her audience to take her seriously, due to the fact that much of her spiel was focused on nutrition, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight… meanwhile we were all staring at – not a chubby woman – but a significantly overweight woman in poor physical shape. Back to why this is related to make-up. In the midst of discussing how we can feel better at work, she mentioned make-up. She was actually talking about being observant of your co-workers and recognizing when they may be getting depressed, in a rut with work, burned out, etc. Basically letting themselves go. What she said created a lot of upset among many of the women on staff. It was interesting to learn how differently some of us interpreted what she was saying. A few of the women were ranting and pissed. Yes, I have always been taught that putting on make-up is part of preparing to go out into the world, but I totally get it when women find that insulting. Here’s the thing, she wasn’t suggesting for women who never wear make-up to suddenly start wearing it. She was encouraging us all to pay attention to changes from the norm for a person. So if a co-worker who usually wears make-up and styles her hair a certain way, begins showing up for work with a naked face and hair pulled back in a messy bun, then something may be going on with that person… because it’s not typical for that person. No matter how I tried to explain that rationale, my co-workers were pissed!

I started wearing make-up way too young. I had on full make-up in my 5th grade school photo! It starts out fun. But then you feel like you need it… making one feel self-conscious without it… and that kind of sucks. No, it really sucks! I didn’t even need make-up when I was young. I always had great skin overall, no acne, no uneven coloration, but I thought I needed to paint on it. The real bummer is that right when I stopped enjoying putting on make-up and just got down right sick of the whole routine, I actually need it now. I mean, I don’t think I would stop breathing or anything, but I am aging and dealing with dark under eye circles and the other little not-so-cute things that happen. If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t want it to feel like an expectation of her, and I would not want her to build her self-esteem based on such at any age. I am actually envious of women who feel most comfortable naked-faced. The sick truth of it is, I still get all giddy shopping for make-up and trying out new products. Call me shallow, but it is ingrained in my brain… blame it on grandma!

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