I remember how I adored watching my mama when she’d say “I’m fixin’ to put on my face.”
Her ancestors hailed from France and settled in Arkansas. When she moved to California with my father in the mid 50’s, she decided it was more refined to lose her southern drawl. Nonetheless, nuances of the South stayed with her.
Her cooking was just one example. She was a culinary genius if I ever saw one. Fried green tomatoes and Okra, smothered chicken, biscuits and gravy, and pie. Oh, the pie!
Like any competent southern woman, she was just as adept at applying makeup and styling her “do.” Whenever I heard her clamoring in the bathroom with her jars, bottles, and tubes of glamour— I’d scurry to the dining room table where she would set up shop.
She owned this thick 12”x12” mirror. The corner had cracked off but no seven years of bad luck for this one. She didn’t give it no never mind. She’d simply finagle it into a Tepco china water pitcher by wrapping a towel around the bottom of it and viola! It, too was magically changed into a makeup mirror to be envied.
“The light is better in here,” she explained, and with a vinyl Tammy Wynette album serenading us, she’d begin.
I found her morning routine to be more entertaining than cartoons and Froot Loops. To see this southern firecracker razzle-dazzle her countenance from her self-described “plain” state to utterly stunning was nothing short of breathtaking. Truth be told, she was anything but plain but her transformation never failed to astonish me.
Oh, inventors of makeup, we laud thee.
Women everywhere owe a debt to the likes of ancient Egyptians, Max Factor, and Maybelline for the unequivocal impressiveness contained within the world of cosmetics. Pale skin can be altered into tanned, blonde eyelashes are revamped into black, liquid eyeliner has bequeathed us cat eyes, and entire faces are brightened up with lipstick available in a plethora of colors. It’s simply magnificent!
I’m not quite sure who or what has convinced most women that they aren’t as lovely without it, perhaps the cosmetics industry themselves. This I know for sure; my mother was equally as stellar without a stitch of it donning her French face.
On my 9th birthday she gave me some light pink lip-gloss in a little pot and I was in maquillage heaven. I proudly slathered it on like grease on ball bearings. Lord knows if I had fallen down while wearing it, I might’ve slid face first into the next county.
I was hooked and still am.
To my chagrin, I make this true confession: There might be a small chance that I’m a makeup hoarder.
Okay, maybe I am.
Okay, I am.
Makeup hoarder extraordinaire, right here folks.
Like so many other women, I don’t feel as pretty without it.
Today, I’m breaking free from that nonsensical thought process. I’ve been using makeup for 47 full years now and it’s time I let myself believe that the natural way God made me is enough.
My face is pretty enough because God doesn’t make mistakes.
This nose doesn’t require contouring. My cheek bones are good without highlighter. So my bottom lip dips down a little crooked when I smile big; big deal. Without mascara my blonde lashes can hardly be seen. The Irish in me from my dad’s side of the family means I have freckles and pink undertones galore. There may or may not be some gray hairs which serve as the reason why Lady Clairol and I get along so well, too.
Now, Lord knows if I have my druthers I’ll always be-a-wearin’ me some-a-that-thar Sephora. But, I don’t have to just to feel pretty as a peach. Not anymore.
See, God thought it through when he made us. He didn’t just haphazardly slap something together like some cheap apartment building whose contractor cut corners.
You, my friend, are respectfully and wonderfully made.
Besides that, you and I have earned every single line on our faces. I have scars on mine from a car accident. They look like thin creases. Those lines serve as a reminder of the years I’ve lived, and what I’ve lived through. Like you, I’ve laughed and cried so I love those lines for reminding me of the happiness and sorrows I’ve known. They’re all a part of this crazy beautiful life!
Women of the world, can you hear me on this?
If your skin is black, brown, yellow, red, white, or a variation of these. If your hair is straight, curly, short, long, kinky, frizzy, or you’re bald headed. If you’re short or tall, plump or thin: Hear me! You are beautiful, Sister! Please stop letting the world tell you anything less.
Even models who get paid millions of dollars to grace the glossy covers of fashion magazines have insecurities. Why? For no reason or a million reasons, all inconsequential to true beauty.
Looks will fade, even with plastic surgery. None of us will stay young forever.
We don’t need more Photoshop; we need more women to lovingly embrace their own selves. We need more acceptance, friendship, love, and authenticity. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to anyone else and simply be good to each other.
How about this: Be good to you!
Today, the day before I turn 60, I’m bare-faced and my hair in pulled up into a ponytail. I’m wearing the same favorite worn-out tee that I wore yesterday. And, I’m happy because after all these decades I’ve finally learned a secret that has changed me from the inside out.
Here it is:
There is no greater joy than being unapologetically yourself, (flaws and all) and finding out God and your tribe love you completely, unconditionally, and fervently.
Come to the place where you accept yourself fully. The light is better in here, Friend. So, go ahead. You can bare your face and your soul because you are flat loved.
Remember that, okay?