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.