knowing who I am · make-over · No, thank you · self-confidence · transformation


A couple of weeks ago, right after my brother-in-law passed, I was out running errands, one of which was trying to find black footless with lace around the ankles tights. I wanted them to wear to opening night of the drag show our daughter is dancing in.

I had popped into a department store for a quick second, bolted up the escalator to find they did not have the tights and promptly bolted back to the escalator to run off to do the rest of my errands.

An attractive younger girl with a very cool outfit on got on the escalator with me and complimented my outfit, so I complimented hers too. Then she told me, she really wanted to put me in a “red lip”. Turns out she was a makeup artist (salesperson). I told her that I wasn’t in a red lip mood. You know, I was just trying to be nice, but in my mind I was like, what the heck.

Then she told me she wanted to give me a makeover. This time I laughed and said thanks, but no thanks. We continued to talk for a few more moments, and she was a nice person, and I realize she was trying to sell me something.

But even as I stood there making polite conversation with her and now that it’s a couple of weeks later, I find myself wishing I would have said to her what I was really thinking.

Which was:

With all due respect, I don’t need a makeover. From you or anyone else.

I started thinking about why I felt so annoyed by her offer of a makeover.

First, I guess, is because I’m not super-concerned about being “beautiful” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I like looking good. When I was young, achieving the perfect look was something I worked pretty hard on, from working out for a good body to getting the right hair to having all my makeup on, etc. Nowadays, I’m only concerned with impressing myself and my adorable husband who thinks I look pretty with shitty old clothes on and not a stitch of makeup. (I’m a lucky gal that way). My idea of beauty for myself isn’t what mainstream society would necessarily deem beautiful for a woman my age. And you know what? I really don’t give a flying fuck about that. In fact, I like that I don’t bow down to society’s “norms”.

Then I was thinking, ever since I gave birth to my babies some 25 and 24 years ago, I started walking away from what most people do in regards to a lot of things. Not everything, of course, but what I’m trying to say is–as soon as they put that 8 lb. 11 1/2 oz. little boy on my chest, I started to blossom into the woman I always knew I would be.

It has been a rather slow metamorphosis in regards to the way I look. I was changing a lot on the inside the whole time I was (still am?) mothering. A brush with illness in 2001 sent me down the path studying paganism and witchcraft. Right after my brother-in-law passed, I was at my sister’s house and we were sifting through photographs. There were a couple of us at a family reunion back in 2003. I looked interesting in those pics. I was wearing Capri pants, and a button down shirt with a sweater over it. Pretty normal-looking, you know? But I looked closer at those snapshots and I noticed I had on Celtic knot earrings and a triple-moon ring.

I had to smile. That was me in the meek beginnings of my physical transformation.

My real physical transformation began after my parents died. I had been wanting a tattoo for a while, but was afraid to get one because I knew my dad would not like it. My mom might have been a little more whatever about it, but I wasn’t about to take a chance on letting my parents down. Ever since my spirit was broken down and abandoned the year I entered kindergarten, I spent all of my life trying to make them proud of me.

So, after dad died and mom was in the process of dying, I got my first tattoo. I thought I’d only ever get one. After mom died, my sisters and I were pretty depressed. I isolated myself from most people. I went through all kinds of changes from 2008 and I’m still going through them. Anyway, one day I got some money in the mail from my dad’s estate. It wasn’t much, just enough to get the morning glories on my arm I had been dreaming of.

I found my tattoo shop and that was that. I got the morning glories. Then my moth. Then my blue rose. I found with every tattoo I got, I wanted another one.

I was a force unleashed. I was completely free to look and be the way I wanted to be. I had no one to let down anymore, especially myself. Lucky for me, that man I’m married to has always been in favor of me being the real me. So with every passing day, I have become more and more ME.

Clothing-wise, I’ve embraced my black. It’s mostly all I wear. You open my closet or dresser drawers, you’re gonna have to go through every piece to find what you’re after because it’s a sea of darkness. Now, I throw in a little white here and there. Maybe a smidge of grey. And I’m all about polka-dots, bows, sparkles. I tend to go for conservative looking clothes and bitchin’ accessories and shoes. Doc Martens, as the kids say, give me life. I know what belongs on me and what doesn’t.

Now, makeup-wise, I go often without. Lucky me, I have freckles. They make me look younger than I am. I feel bad for hating them a little when I was younger, making me look like Alfalfa from The Little Rascals. If I do wear makeup…and let me tell you, I freaking love all the makeup tutorials you can find online. I could watch that shit for days. Kids today are so talented with that kind of thing. And they have such cooler makeup than we ever did. Anyway, if I do wear makeup, it’s never very heavy. I have an arsenal of cosmetics on my vanity. I’m all about my black eyeshadow. I even have blue lipstick…something I used to only dream of as a little girl. Thank you, Kat Von D.

All of this to say

I am finally comfortable…dare I say…happy with the way I look.

This is the best and most authentic I’ve ever looked my whole life.  If I were to go back in time and see 5-year-old wild child me, 5-year-old wild child me would climb up into my arms, put her hands on my face and say “WE LOOK AMAZING.”

So even though she was very nice and didn’t intend on rousing such a reaction in me, I wish I could go back and tell that girl on the escalator:

I don’t need your makeover, kid.

Isn’t it obvious?

I am years of work in progress, all on my own.