At five years old, she loved watching her Mom apply her makeup. Carefully applying powder, mascara and a smudge of smokey eye shadow. Mom was confident. Happy. As time went by, the makeup counter became bare. The voices raised in the other room got louder. Dad was coming home late and sometimes not at all.
At the age of twelve, she overheard Dad's raised voice telling Mom she needed to stop wearing makeup...that she looked like a "painted lady". Instantly her 12-year-old mind could visualize a beautiful lady in a painting in a museum on display, but this vision was quickly interrupted by Mom's crestfallen expression. Pain was all over her face. Later, in private, her Mom softly confided that Dad believed women who wear makeup were trash. Sluts. Over time, the little girl became numb to the crying, secretly wishing her Mom could just please her Dad, do as he wanted and throw out her makeup.
Teen years were full of rebellion once Dad left. The now teen aged girl enjoyed patting her face delicately with powder just the way her Mom always did. Taking extra care needed to have no clumps in her mascara. It had to be applied evenly. Shading the shadow on her eyelids just right. Perfectly. Looking into the mirror she would smile. She was happy and confident.
She was almost twenty years old when she became serious with a man who adored her. "You are beautiful", he told her, and then added that he liked her face better without makeup. Slowly over time, she became numb. First she threw out the mascara and eye shadows. Then she got rid of the powder and blush. She slowly threw away the person she once was. The happy and confident woman. "It's a waste of time and money", she rationalized. An extra expense their young family could not afford anyway.
Day after day, year after year, she watched her face age in the mirror. Suddenly she saw an emotionally drained woman staring back at her. Why? Where did the confident woman go? Why had she let her go? Why had she neglected that important part of herself that made her feel happy and confident? She wanted to feel that again. She took out some powder. Dusted her face. Shyly smiled at her reflection. Smoothed on some eye shadow and a slight hint of blush. she grinned. Shaded on the eye shadow and felt her back straighten and shoulders shift. There she was, that confident woman. She would neglect her no more.
At the age of 44, she wanted to spread what she had learned to all the women she met. Don't give up something you love for anyone. Most of all, don't give up on you!