Warriors decorate the skin of their faces and bodies to prepare for battle, to intimidate the enemy and to rev them up for combat.
Makeup is no different.
The days I apply a "full beat-down," I am a shaded soldier in the crusade that is life.
I am a painted Jedi using the cosmetic Force to defeat daily Darth Vaders.
A beautified ninja throwing glittering blows wherever I go.
An embellished superhero able to leave lipstick behind in a single kiss. (Cursed be the long-wearing formulas that have started to diminish the S.W.A.K. effect.)
My application of cosmetics allows me to transform into my alter ego: the confident, cool, charisma bomb that is my public persona.
In my private life, I am a bare-faced, socially awkward, stuttering geek fest that wears the same (often sweaty) sweats day in and out and maybe washes her hair once a week.
I displayed my first swipe of crimson colored cherry ChapStick in fifth grade (although Mrs. Martin promptly removed it from my possession and instated a classroom "no makeup" rule) and have never looked back.
The ritual of embellishing my eyes with shimmery shadows, my cheeks with a bright pop of color and my lips thick with gloss is a comforting, enjoyable part of the days I take the time to do it.
"In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of obsessiveâ€“compulsive disorder," says Wikipedia.Â
For months after my brother passed away I would stare into the mirror at my naked face, stunned that he was gone. Gussying up was my defense, my transport into an alternate reality where everything was OK. My made-up visage gave me the strength to face many a day.
The motivation behind wearing makeup is a moot point. Makeup creates a "mask;" it is "fake," but the freedom to adorn a human canvas with bright colors, sparkles and fluttering lashes is a form of creative expression that is darn fun. Bringing out your best features with the art of highlights and shadows is a birthright. And I don't think my smoky eye is really fooling anyone anyway.
Beneath the shimmering facade is the little girl who belted "Annie" songs on her grandmother's stairwell, who still seeks approval and is devastated by condemning criticism.
My armor is my makeup; enhancing my vulnerabilities with perfectly applied strokes of glimmer.
See you on the battlefield.
No not Tammy Faye. She is missing the overindulgence of mascara, and Jesus. Thanks for this Lindsay, I found it therapeutic.
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