I made an appointment to get my hair done. Highlighted and cut. A week ago I bought a lipstick. What’s the big deal you wonder? I haven’t done either for over two years, since the day my mother died. I stopped taking care of myself. Before, I would not be caught without lipstick, now I am never caught with it. My hair has become a drab brown. I sometimes take the time to put a little mascara on. Which is good since my eyelashes remained blonde while my hair grew dark. But, very rarely, is there much more makeup then that.
Let’s go on the record as saying I don’t necessarily feel I need it, though it couldn’t hurt. I am not one of those people, nor have I ever been, that believe you can not be seen in public without impeccable makeup. I wore the lipstick because I enjoyed putting the color to my lips. I wore mascara, because I enjoyed having eyelashes. I wore eye shadow, or eye liner, because I enjoyed doing so. When my mother died, I lost all interest in those things.
The first time I went to a salon after my mom died, because my hair was so unruly it needed to be trimmed, I cried. It didn’t help that my mother use to frequent that salon. I felt guilty for taking care of myself. Like, somehow, being responsible for myself, was wrong. That I shouldn’t enjoy myself any longer. I know this thinking was distorted. At the time, I think I realized it was distorted. I just couldn’t get pass the distortion.
Yes, for a period of time this also included no showers or brushing teeth, until I absolutely, necessarily felt I had to. Even then that was an effort. I am not proud of those moments. Even now, I don’t shower as often as I use to. I try never to get to the stink factor. There are days I still struggle pulling myself into the shower, this from a woman who use to take long showers and sit in there for as long as she could.
My sister said I use to be one of those people that had to have every hair in place. At one point in time I probably did. Then I had children and that kind of slipped, but I still bathed frequently, brushed my teeth often, and put on makeup. It probably started a bit into when I became ill, things started sliding a little. My grandma died, it slid a little more. My mother died, it stopped all together. I had trouble tending to myself.
Thankfully my boys were old enough to bathe and take care of themselves. Though I did remind them to from time to time. All the while, not quite taking care of myself. Not quite knowing what to do with myself anymore. Feeling ashamed. Feeling hideous. Not realizing, for quite some time, that I stopped caring.
This year, however, I was in a conversation with another woman who was talking about getting her hair done. The works she said. And I thought about it. I thought of how long it has been and I realized when I stopped. Grief can cause painful reactions. Some people tend to give up on themselves, at least for a short time. Mine tended to last two and a half years. At least. Somewhat longer.
There is no story that my mother was against makeup and that is why I stopped. She loved getting gussied up and going out places. She place good money on her makeup and her tools. She made sure her hair was done. After a few attempts in doing it herself and failing when she was younger, same with me, she went to a salon to get her hair fixed. My mom would have been dismayed by my stopping. She would have encouraged me to get back to a some semblance of order. This would not be okay with her. Not that I chose to go without, but because I was the daughter who prior to her death chose to go with.
So I made the call. It has taken a couple weeks to get in but I am finding that I am looking forward to it, instead of with dread. I pondered over purchasing a new lipstick for a couple days, before I finally bought one. My husband was shocked. He noticed that I hadn’t been buying lipstick, that is how often I use to wear it. I’m okay with this change. I’m finally feeling that it is okay. I will be all right, lipstick and all.