Officially: Day 3. Unofficially: Day 1.

I say "unofficially" for a few reasons. First, because 1/1 and 1/2 were both spent either traveling or hanging out with peeps who have seen me without makeup (i.e., MF and the friend who stayed in our room with us the night of the 1st); second, because today I went out of the house in Atlanta all covered up and had to deal with the prospect of seeing someone I knew, without makeup a bad breakout; and finally, because today was the first day that I had a very powerful urge to make myself look fabulous... and couldn't.

Ordinarily, a day like today-- with nothing on a timetable but with a lot of chores and things to accomplish-- would be spent at least partially (read: about an hour) reassuring myself that I'm an OK-looking woman by pulling out all the Beauty Stops. I spent the last week at Lindy Focus, where there was no shortage of gorgeous women to compare myself to (like these lovely ladies), most of whom were dressed to the nines and looked polished and certainly not "au naturale." Don't get me wrong: what I'm saying is, these women were both gorgeous AND dolled-up, as I'm sure you can see by the pictures. I didn't feel exactly insecure in comparison, but with today being the first day I've had the time to spend that's necessary to look like, say, this, I wanted very badly to remind myself that I can look like a 1940s pinup too, thankyouverymuch, and therefore am doing OK in life.

The reason I needed to do this has to do with two things: a sense of accomplishment, and my self-esteem. My looking in the mirror and thinking, "I'm beautiful" is something I can accomplish: first I shower, then I shave, then I find something flattering and put on makeup and style my hair in a way that lets me look in the mirror and say to myself, "There. I'm still pretty. Nothing to worry about, cause I'm still OK in that department." It's a fast, reliable way to shoo away insecurity about my place in the world, because as we all know, a woman must first be beautiful to be "good." (I know that link and the attendant idea seem cliche, but think about it: when was the last time you saw anything where the heroine wasn't beautiful?) Also, there's a kind of creative impulse that's satisfied: I decide to take some materials and craft something new and beautiful, something I've seen and want to emulate (my personal "I wish I were her" this past week), so in a sense I've "made" something. There! Results. I've proven once again that I have the power to change my environment, create beauty, satisfy The Beauty Requirements I set for myself.

And then ordinarily, having made myself up on a day like today, I would have headed off to the grocery store looking fabulous and ready to see some Hottie McHotterson and meet his eye, enjoying the pleasure of seeing the flash of attraction in his face, or to round the corner and run into a female friend whose high regard I deeply value and know that her image of me was untarnished because, as usual, I looked beautiful.

Today, I went to a grocery store that no one I know ever goes to, slinking through the aisles and praying that no one whose opinion I cared about would see me like this, at eleven o'clock at night.

As you may be able to sense, I'm a little sad. I feel off-balance and upset. However, in my desire to accomplish something external I've really managed to make myself proud with all I've gotten done today. Usually all the dolling-up would take care of that impulse. Tonight, I'm tired because I've done so much, and it'll still be done when I wake up tomorrow: I cleaned my room in record time, washed my yoga mat (which I've been meaning to do for over a year), brushed the cats and gave them their monthly butt-fur cut, paid my rent, sorted my mail, cleaned the carpet, unpacked, did the laundry, and sorted out most of the clothes I won't be wearing until this whole damn thing is over. I've surprised myself with the volume of what I've gotten done in a mere eight hours.

Will this continue? What will I learn about a woman's immediate sense of accomplishment (which for me means making myself up) vs. a man's (writing a paper, fixing something, learning to play the banjo)? Is this one possible explanation for why men are thought to get more done in general? Will I really get more done with all the time and energy I find myself with? The first thing I want to FINALLY learn to do is make my own clothes. I've never had time before, but it sure would be sweet if at the end of every day, instead of washing the fruits of my labors down the drain, I could hang them up to be ready for more work tomorrow.


  1. Arg. Sharon Davis is the most beautiful creature in the universe. And even SHE acts insecure. It MUST be an act. I can't imagine her actually worrying about lat-flab over the bra strap... But maybe that fear makes her work so hard to be made up on stage. During a private with her, she still looked cute but she wasn't all made up. Maybe when you are done with this, you can doll yourself up once in awhile, but not everyday...?

  2. I KNOW. I don't think it's an act-- I think that almost everyone, no matter how gorgeous, feels insecure about their appearance. I plan to doll myself up when the occasion calls for it, sure! But hopefully I won't feel the need to do it every day anymore.