when words fail me, which is often, I paint. When words work for me and are available on time, I am surprised.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Voices in my head

I am not really a girly girl. I never learned to wear make up, carry a purse,and any heel over 1/2 inch sends my feet into crippling spasms. I have attended many a Winter event barefoot even though I arrived wearing stylish girly shoes. It's either take them off or limp around like a newly castrated lamb. If you've ever witnessed the lamb neutering thing, you'd know what I mean.
My mom was a big make-up wearer. She had a little make up artist table with a tiny stool to sit on in front of it.The mirror had lights all around like the kind the movie stars have. On the table sat her Styrofoam head;it wore her wigs, falls, and bandeaus when my mothers wasn't wearing them. I liked to stick pins in it's face when my mom wasn't looking.
Mommy Dearest would sit and apply the fake eye lashes, the blue eye shadow, go from brunette to platinum in seconds flat and then the shower of Aqua net while we hid our faces in our tee shirts from the toxic cloud.
Glam or US!
That's the way it was. All gussied up she'd then spend the rest of her day avoiding us (three children), yelling at us,or slapping us into submission. . . Or maybe just into hating her, I don't know.
I learned to stay far away from her whenever possible.
As a teen ager, my glam routine deviated from anything related to being like her. I woke up ten minutes before having to leave the house for school. Spent three minutes in the shower. Tied my hair into a pony tail, put on my jeans and a tee shirt,grabbed my back pack (never a purse), and walked to school.
As an adult, much less concerned about my mothers influence on the Universe, I realize the wearing of make up is an art form and if applied in the right way it can be pretty. Carrying a purse is something I do now out of necessity; I still do not know how to buy one though. What makes a purse good? (Please answer this if you know).
I grew out of the backpack thing when I was nearing thirty. I remember carring my blue backpack into a bar after work one afternoon. I tried to fit in and act like the natives in suburbia. "You spending the night" a fat middle aged male patron asked.
That shifted my perspective.
I still can't wear a heel. I am not into self torture and probably never will be.
In my mid twenties, I decided to try and wear a little makeup. I bought some lipstick, some eye shadow and blush. I could not handle the strangeness of this mask all happening at once so I would wear blush one day, lipstick only the next, and maybe combine two at the same time if I actually was going somewhere.
I'm lying, I never went anywhere in those days that required makeup.
Lipstick is fun, but it rubs off on your teeth. I don't know how often you are supposed to apply it, even now.
In my forties.
It makes my lips feel funny too and sometimes I put it on and see nothing but monkey butt in the mirror.
I remember the first time I wore lipstick to my job in Colonial Williamsburg. I was a server in one of the Taverns. Although we had to wear authentic colonial costumes and were not allowed to wear hair adornments or non-period accessories, we were permitted to wear makeup.
In the locker room, I change out of my jeans and tee shirt. Take off my flip-flops and put my backpack in my locker. I put on the white shift, the wool knee socks (even in August in Virginia), the skirt, pocket, apron and mob-cap.
I walk to the mirror and apply blood passion red lipstick to my lips and go up three flights of stairs to the dinner line up. All evening servers on hand, two managers and two chefs.
Managers talk rules. Chefs talk specials. Comments anyone?
Pam, our very Southern shaped hostess and my friend, has one she'd like to share:
"Ummn Hmn, everybody look at Stacy, tryin ta git a kiss."
Nearly twenty years have passed from that day. Just this morning I applied a bit of colored shimmery gloss to my lips when I got into work. And in my head I hear her voice, again, "Look at Stacy, tryin ta git a kiss"


8th President of the United States said...

Funny, my mother wore wigs too. Seems odd now. Unless you are an orthodox Jew. Perhaps it was that generation our mothers belonged to? My mother wore so much make-up that I vividly remember the smell of her face melting in the sun on a drive south. It was November I think, and as we went further south, the temperature rose, and the smell got stronger. The car was a Plymouth Station Wagon and the AC was not working. By the time we crossed the Florida state line I was becoming nauseated by the smell and had my head halfway out the car window. I could see streaks in her face where the sweat had washed away layers of whatever it was that we call makeup.

There was something about that experience that left quite an imprint.

As children we live with so many illusions. Sometimes the disintegration of one illusion brings down that whole house of cards. Sometimes those things happen in the most unkind way. Everything we think we have is pretty much an illusion anyway, isn't it? Nevertheless, we can't go around holding our breath, so we just keep going.

I very much think that feeling like you don't need to wear makeup or heels is a good thing. I don't think that comes easily in this society. It usually means you fell into the wishing well and had to climb back up stone by stone.

It's good to see you are doing well. I enjoy your reminiscing especially.

Fondly and Sincerely,
The 8th President of the United States

ds said...

you're almost a woman I can understand.

M@ said...

It's not you. Some women's feet have evolved to the point that they need corrective shoes w/ heels. It's an orthopedic thing.

Jerri said...

Stacy, my love. What's wrong with trying to get a kiss?
Kisses are good. Kisses are fun. Get as many as you can.

And keep writing like this.

Michelle O'Neil said...

OMG! I love this post!

Stacy...you'll be glad to know that I poured beer all summer in the German Festhaus at Busch Gardens, circa 1987.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I hear you -- I couldn't wear heels to save my life (quite the contrary -- they could wind up taking mine), and though I wear makeup daily, people generally comment they think I don't wear any at all. So if I put on my lip gloss, everyone comments. Kind of embarrassing, really.

And if one more person calls my messenger bag a "diaper bag" because it's so big...

TOM said...

I look back to the seventies and see pictures of myself and realize..My mother had No Fashion Sense...I was dressed in fugly clothes and horrible glasses...believe me even if the clothes back then were really bad anyway..she made some horrible choices!!