Monday, October 02, 2006

Cover ups

Whenever I have an inkling that there will be picture taking at a function I try to remember to apply mascara. It comes from a time way back when I used to obsessively pick out my eyelashes.

It started when I was in the fourth grade. I had just been placed in a new -- Catholic -- school and while trying to make friends with the popular gaggle of girls one of them scoffed at me when she noticed a gunky buildup of sleep crud in between my lashes. I became self conscious, and in the years that followed -- and throughout high school and college -- tension would invariably lead my hand toward my lids where I would absently scrape away at the offending matter. Gaps began appearing in the lash line along with angry redness.

I'm not sure when it stopped, really, because the tension is still there and my hand travels up to twirl the lashes even as I type this, but I don't have the same urge to pull them out the way I use to. The gaps have been filled in and the lashes returned to something I can only imagine is how they would naturally be had I not pruned them mercilessly in the first place.

I was thinking about this recently because a friend has taken to commenting on the length of my lashes, and how she never noticed how long they were before that very moment. She kids me that the wind from their fluttering messes up her hair and threatens to knock her off her feet.

It seems odd to me, that comment.

In my mind, I am still that little kid; all gaps and gawk. I am still the young adult, who without makeup, disappeared into the whiteness of the northeast winters. When tired I look as bad as I feel. Even a gruff (but beloved) typist from my first "real" job, a woman who wouldn't seem the least bit fixated on cosmetic alterations, told me to put on makeup: "your eyes look like two piss holes in the snow."

And there I am, worrying about appearances.

So it is with this in mind that I look around and see all the things I am not doing -- all the neglected chores that held my interest for seconds (if at all) are piling up and scoffing at me. I wonder, am I missing out? These are all things I never wanted to do really -- mowing the weeds in the garden, tending the yard all overgrown, sifting through office clutter piling up -- and yet the compulsion is still there, eating at my core.

The need to take pride in the place I live, to enjoy the outdoors (in the daylight) only reminds me that I am tired. To accomplish anything seems impossible. I wonder where the energy will come from? Where has it gone?

There are so many things I don't want to do. Never cared to do. And yet these are the things that make us feel a part of the world: painting the house, planting the garden, cleaning out the crap and starting fresh; all things that give us purpose and satisfaction. In expending energy, we get energy in return. Or so I believe.

And yet, most days, all I want to do is sleep, even if I rarely do. I just want to crawl back under the covers and close my eyes.

I suppose I'm still trying to figure out who I am, and worrying that what I'm really trying to do is project who I want to be in Annabel's eyes before she has a chance to decide for herself. (A conclusion that will likely be accurate but not how I'd wish to be perceived.)

Of course, my fear is huge, and chances are mascara's just not going to cover it.


Melissa said...

You so accurately capture how I feel on most days. There are times when I would love nothing more than to neglect my obligations as a responsible wife/mother/homemaker in favor of a good book and a little time alone. Sleep? What is that?

I often feel bogged down with chores and duties, be they related to the home or not, and 5:30 am just seems to early in the day to have to face it all. The things that I take pleasure in also rob me of what little energy I have. Thank goodness for coffee and a sense of humor, eh?!

I worry about the example I set for my kids, too. But I've come to terms with the fact that all I can do is my best. I make mistakes - tons of them probably! But I know that, at this moment, my three lovelies think I am the best mom ever.

In regards to mascara, I gave up wearing it a long time ago, although I am still hiding behind tinted lip gloss . . .

Andrea said...

Amen, sistah. Amen. My bed's been calling to me all morning. I can hear it from 35 miles away, the distance from my home to my work. It's awful loud. And yet, when my house is a mess, I feel my most displaced. When my house is clean (usually because of the hubs, not me, since we both work and he has mastered the art of cleaning our entire house in about two hours) I feel peaceful, relaxed even. But getting there? I'm a procrastinator extraordinaire. (I saw a shirt this weekend that said, "Procrastinators unite! Tomorrow." That's me.)

For me, the lack of participation I feel often isn't about procrastination, but an uncertainty of how I want to proceed with the participation. I fear other's perceptions won't be accurate either. I don't have a strong enough sense of identity for myself that I just KNOW how I'll behave. And that's all me, all internal questioning that I've dealt with since I was a child trying to fit in with everybody else. It's something I hope some day to have more control over.

kimmyk said...

If I did what I wanted to do everyday I probably wouldn't get much done but shuffling from room to I getcha on this one.

I always wonder how my children see me now. They're both old enough to have formed opinions. I remember the other day my son looked at a picture of me from last year then said "Mom you look prettier now". Like what does that mean? I don't know. When we go out my daughter tells me to wear mascara. What's up with that? I don't get alot of things they say...well, maybe the intent behind them.


I just wanted to say that I think you rock. Everything you write and all of your points made in comment sections of EVERYONE'S BLOGS I wholeheartedly agree with and am nodding and waving and wanting to hug you. Thank you for being so wise and wonderful and interesting. My blog experience is better because you're around. Okay, maybe this is call for an email. Um, yeah.

Sorry to hijack your comments, lady.


Okay, SO i cannot email you because my outlook doesn't work. Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Gail said...

I think I referred to your lashes as "Snuffleupagus"-like. But "two piss holes in the snow"? I can't see that, really, not even if I misplace my contact lenses.

I generally don't wear makeup unless I'm working/dressed up/feel like it, which hasn't happened regularly for the better part of two years. I worked with someone who, along with being a diva, was known for her firm belief that the more you get gussied up, the better you'll feel. PSHAW, I say. There's more to it than that.

I'm continually amazed with the way you are with Annabel. You make motherhood look easier than you think.