It was one year ago today that I confessed to the blogging world that I was falling apart just to hold it together. I was the sleep-deprived breastfeeding mother of five-month old twins, and caring for myself had been temporarily and necessarily pushed to the bottom of my priority list. Getting adequate sleep wasn’t an option, taking a shower was iffy, and fixing my hair and makeup was out of the question.
When I was in high school I was rarely seen without makeup. Appearances mattered too much. I remember one morning when I got to school and headed for the locker room to drop off my sports bag. I checked my appearance in the full-length mirror on my way out and was literally panicked when I discovered that I had forgotten the last step of my makeup application–curling my eyelashes and putting on mascara. I hunkered down in the locker room until someone walked in and obliged my request to borrow some mascara. Whew….
I also remember girls who had graduated ahead of me coming back from college and saying, “Believe me, when you get to college you won’t wear makeup.” I would think to myself, “Yeah, right! I’ll never be seen without at least eye makeup….” Of course, those girls had been right. College was different. Very few were concerned about appearances, and even I decided that not wearing makeup was kind of nice.
College is where Travis and I met, and even with a guy in the picture, I didn’t change my new makeup wearing–or should I say not wearing–habits. In fact, I deliberately didn’t wear makeup when we were first getting to know each other because I wanted him to see the real me, flaws and all. I didn’t want another high school-like relationship that was all based on image, so I made sure that our relationship was not being built on enhanced appearances. Of course, Travis is not the type of guy who would have pursued a girl based on some glamorous and unrealistic standard of beauty, anyway. And to this day he tells me things like, “You always look good,” and “You don’t need makeup. You are beautiful just the way you are.” I think the lack of makeup wearing was really more about me refusing to be superficial in any way. I had vowed that I wouldn’t get involved in another relationship unless it was the real deal, and me being completely real was a part of that.
I am working through Elizabeth George’s A Woman After God’s Own Heart, and I recently read the chapters about “Loving Your Husband.” She says that one of the ways to love your husband is to prepare for him daily; and part of that is to prepare your appearance. She poses the question,
“If company were coming, you’d do a little something to freshen up, wouldn’t you? Well, your husband–your Number One human priority–is far more important than company, so he should get the most special treatment of all. Run a comb through your hair, freshen your makeup, and change your clothes so he’s not seeing the same old jogging outfit you had on when he left in the morning. Put on a bright color, a little lipstick, and a squirt of perfume (perfume rejoices the heart–Proverbs 27:9). After all, the most important person in your life is about to walk through the door.” (Elizabeth George, A Woman After God’s Own Heart (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2006), 102.)
Elizabeth’s point is well taken, but it did drive me to some further reflections. Now, don’t get me wrong. Minus the seasons of my life when I have had neither time nor energy to prepare my appearance (like the season of falling apart I mentioned above), I do like to look nice, and I take steps towards that end. But, as I looked back over our five years of marriage and thought about the fact that I still have a little bit left in the bottle of perfume that I took on our honeymoon… and the fact that because I have so rarely worn face makeup I have purchased it maybe once in our married life (and that being in the very beginning)…, I realized that Travis has probably been more blessed by the fact that I haven’t spent a lot of money on beauty products and by the fact that I have been comfortable in my own skin than he would have been by me being overly concerned about my appearance.
All that being said, I feel like I am finally moving into a season of my life where it’s do-able–and desirable (to me)– for me to take a little more effort with preparing my appearance, both for my husband and for myself. Since I quit breastfeeding the twins two and a half months ago, I not only have more time and energy but I also feel a little more in control of my body again. The other day I put on that face makeup that has been slowly getting used up over the past five years, and it didn’t look good at all. So, I am excited to say that for the second time in my married life, I purchased some new face makeup–bareMinerals by Bare Escentuals–which was recommended by my “retired” esthetician-sister. The 100% pure bareMinerals is free of preservatives, talc, oil, fragrance, dyes, and other chemicals that can irritate skin. It’s actually good for my skin, it’s fun to apply, and it looks and feels natural! I’m loving it!
Indeed, I have gone through seasons in my life when wearing makeup was a must-do, those when it was a won’t-do, and those when it was a can’t-do. And now that I’m on the tail-end of infant raising (if the Lord wills :-)), I’m ready for a season of can-and-just-might-do!