Misleading Uses for Mirrors

Most of my life I have worn makeup. Not a lot. Just enough to enhance my looks. As I mentioned I have pretty eyes. When I apply makeup I say I am painting my face. Some find that odd. I never think I am applying makeup though, I think I am painting my face. I do not use paint or an airbrush, so there really is no painting involved. But to me, my face is a canvas and I am painting it. I do not think I am an artist. I do not think I do a great job, though I am often complimented. I just think I paint my face.

When someone asks if I want to go out somewhere, I reply “give me 5 minutes to paint my face”. Everyone always seems to be surprised that I can put my makeup on in 5 minutes and still look good. Some tell me so. If they do, I tell them I clean up nice and with 10 minutes I am ready to go to someplace formal. It is the truth. I would assume years of painting my face has made it easy. As for how much makeup I wear, truth be told, not a lot. I paint my eyes black usually, in other words, I line the eyes with a black eye shadow, gradually fading from black, to gray, to white under the brow. I curl my eyelashes and use mascara. A little blush and I am done. For the formal 10 minutes, I first use foundation, I do the above only making my eyes a little smokier or maybe even using different colors of eye shadow and I use a type of mascara on my eyebrows that leaves them a little darker and shaping the eye better. I rarely wear lipstick, in fact I do not remember the last time I did. It makes me look clownish I think.

Through the years, if I were at work and wanted to go home, I would go to the restroom, look into the mirror and wash the makeup off my face. As I was washing, I would continue to look in mirror to make sure a little of the mascara was left, blended under my eyes. When I would return to my work area, everyone would ask if I felt okay. I would “say not really but I will continue to work”. They would insist I go home and get rest to feel better. I would then moan and groan about leaving work early as I was leaving work. I was never sick, maybe sick of work, but never sick when I would do this. No one was ever aware of this trick I used to deceive them into thinking I was sick so I could go elsewhere. I had never done this with close friends or my family, as when I am really sick I want them to look at me and know, not be deceived into thinking I am sick.

While my husband was sick these past few years, I stopped wearing makeup. Not entirely, but the majority of the time. I had no time to paint my face. My husband needed me, he did not need a painted face. When I took him to the doctors initially I wore makeup, as time went by I was too tired to bother. So when he died, I needed to wear makeup. This time it was not to deceive people into thinking I was sick, rather to deceive everyone into thinking I was strong, able to deal with everything that would be coming my way in the coming days, weeks, months. This time I was trying to deceive everyone, especially close friends and family. It is good I had become so skilled at painting makeup, because this time I was doing it with a glance. I guess it has worked as everyone thinks I am dealing with this all well.

Am I dealing with my husband’s death well? I have no idea. At times I feel I am. Other times I feel I am in a free-fall. Everyone perceives me as a strong woman. I have always perceived myself that way too, until recently. I would not say I no longer perceive myself as strong, rather I have little perceptions of myself left. I need to learn how to be me again. Without my husband. Maybe then my perceptions will come back. Until then I will continue to paint my face and act like everything is just fine.