Have you ever felt overwhelmed at a party or before an important meeting, and find yourself wandering towards the nearest bathroom mirror like a stressed out zombie? Or maybe you’re a chronic lipstick re-applier and no matter how small your clutch is for the night you’ll make sure one of those little portable mirrors (which seem to just show up one day) is stashed away for “emergencies.” Well, we have the same therapist, my friend…. and its name is makeup.
Let’s get a bit personal. Sharing a therapist is like some kind of sisterly bond, right? Right. Okay so in high school I kind of had an obsession with retreating to the bathroom for a makeup check. Seems a bit vain, but it was like I could just breathe for a moment. Going from a tense situation or even just a room full of people for someone who isn’t socially-inclined is almost like sinking down into a hot bath. Although, the latter is definitely the more relaxing of the two, but that’s beside the point.
It isn’t really about confirming that “hey I still have that face from this morning, what a relief,” but a “hey, this is me. It’s just me, and I’m okay.” And then going back out into the world. Think about all those dramatic scenes, in almost every movie ever, where one of the main characters is just overwhelmed by all of the fictional stress on their shoulders so they splash some water on their face and then stare intensely at their reflection. Having that mascara wand or lipgloss tube in hand is just a task to take my mind off of the world outside the quietness of the bathroom. Or…quite possibly I was bored 90% of high school and I needed a distraction from class (also beside the point).
Going back further.. (boy, Freud would be proud of all this psychoanalysis) I spent so much time watching makeup tutorials in middle school that my dad would come up to my room and ask if I planned on leaving my room that day. After you watch 100+ makeup tutorial videos on YouTube, one must think “what is the point??” Glad you asked! The point is that watching those repetitive tasks was calming. Watching an artist painting in high resolution and getting to see the end result from the comfort of my desk chair was so satisfying, and oddly hypnotic.
Being a teenager is inconsistent, but the makeup tutorials were reliable. They made me feel confident that I too could look like that, after all I just spent 20 minutes learning how. My favorites were Kandee Johnson and DulceCandy. My professors of makeup 101. I would diligently consume every instruction. And then I would run to the vanity and try to remember everything I saw, feeling a sense of pride that I too was now an artist. I felt close to these confident, empowering, beautiful women and I had a piece of them with me. I was an “upgraded” version of myself you could say, because I had gained some knowledge.
When I’m upset enough to cry, it’s a nice contrast to fix my makeup afterwards. When I’m bored, it’s entertaining to try an over-the-top look with abandon. It’s a bonding experience when your equally as makeup-addicted friend comes over with their full arsenal and the two of you join forces to put on as much makeup as possible, because why wouldn’t you? Nothing feels more quintessential than your go-to getting ready playlist, makeup lined up, all the good lighting on, and nobody home to hear you scream when your ride is wondering why you still aren’t ready after two hours.
The beauty in makeup is that you can take hours to do a look that could also take you 30 minutes. Makeup is as much or as little as you want it to be. Your hand does not end where the makeup brush starts, the makeup is an extension of you. The look starts by envisioning who you want to be, and becoming that look much like an artist gathering inspiration from a muse.
Now, present-day me is sitting here with a blog. All because makeup is my therapist. And you too are sitting here reading my post because your therapist is makeup too. My advice is, let yourself have lengthy therapy sessions at the mirror. Don’t feel guilty checking your reflection, no one can tell you what you are seeing except for you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re putting makeup on “for no reason.” You bought it, so use it how you want! Tell them you have a prescription for it 😉
Stay current on all your appointments here on Vita Via Sophia and don’t forget to leave a like for the good doctor’s sake.