I opened the small package that had arrived in the mailbox. My heart was jumping up and down, filled with anticipation that the new under eye concealer (which might change my life) had arrived! Hope filled me…”Maybe this one will be the perfect one.”
If you took a peek into my makeup drawer you would find at least eight under eye concealers…none of them being “perfect”. Each one I already own has not worked exactly as I hoped it would. For one reason or another, after applying them to conceal my inherited dark circles, they end up settling into fine wrinkles, looking patchy. and I end up feeling less attractive, aged, frustrated and also "not perfect.”
Searching, Searching…continually searching. My dark eye circles have always been the first thing I see when I look in a mirror. They have been a part of me ever since I hit puberty. Since then, freckles and dark circles have plagued me.
I am no stranger to using foundations and concealers and have done so successfully to mask my insecurities for much of my life. But in the past few years, after entering the over 50’s club, my skin has gotten dryer, thinner, and what use to work for me no longer does.
So on this particular day, I held on to the belief that the small tube of flesh colored liquid inside the box would be the answer. I applied it….I liked it…then I didn’t like it…then maybe I liked it…but ultimately it wasn’t perfect either.
You see, that is the problem. These types of “searching for perfection” joys are short-lived. A new makeup item will make me feel special for a while, until I start feeling pale again, or my skin acts up, or I have a bad hair day. Eventually, I’ll start to search, once again, for something new to make me feel young and attractive. After all these years I’m still trying to hide the freckles and dark circles, but they are always going to be there whether I like it or not. Now that I’m getting older and some wrinkles are taking up real estate on my face, I’m trying to mask them too.
I need to finally accept and love myself just the way I am. I am loved by the people in my life because of who I am inside. My husband, my kids, the few close friends I have allowed to see me without makeup…they never say “Please go put some makeup on”. Actually, my husband and ten year old son often tell me the opposite. They say “you don’t need all that makeup”.
When I was younger I would hardly ever leave the house without makeup, and if I happened to do so I felt overwhelmingly insecure. So much so that my personality would be altered. I became very timid and looked down avoiding eye contact or any interaction with others. I’ve come a long way since then, but still am not 100% confident without anything on my face and it is time for this to change.
I am not perfect. I have age spots, some wrinkles, and dark circles like all the other women in my Italian family. It is time to let go of the vain insecurities which have me believe that people will like me less if I don’t have a full face of expertly applied cosmetics on.
The last two days I have gone about my routine with simply a tinted moisturizer on. I went to the super market, the dry cleaners, the post office, and the nail salon. Guess what? Everyone recognized me and treated me just as nicely as always. My husband even mentioned how young I looked and what a nice shade of lipstick I had on (I was wearing clear lip balm)!
Now, slow down… I can’t say I’m ready to stop wearing makeup altogether…baby steps here. But, I am ready to stop believing that any powder, cream, or highlighter that I put on my face will change me or make me any better than I already am. All that is wonderful about us comes from within, and I have so much within me to give. I am so much more than a pretty face and I always have been.
Makeup might seem magical because it can hide a pimple, create high cheekbones, a slimmer nose and larger eyes, but like magic it isn’t really going to change what is still there underneath. What I can change is how I view myself with or without makeup on because I am still me. It is how we feel about ourselves and present ourselves to others that makes all the difference in our worlds.