So, coming off the high with the notion that applied beauty is an achievable activity for someone like me.
I tend to look for origins in my behavior when I consider my more interesting quirks; what was it, if it exists, that prompted me to choose to behave this way…
In this case it must have been something.
I loved putting on make-up, doing things with my hair, clothes and shoes.
In this case I can come up with no significant moment…. though there are small things that I think may have added up together.
People commenting on my having a make-up line
People making fun of me for wearing more than one pair of socks
people telling me that my clothes were too big
I probably am, and very unfortunately, battle-scarred by my coming here, to the United States, at that deeply impressionable tween stage.
That transition was hard, kids (and some adults) are shockingly cruel when they don’t understand some of your more basic behavioral instincts.
My uncles wife (on my mothers side) was particularly awful… aside from being exceptionally jealous and in my opinion petty and greedy… I also believe she had a penchant to cruelty. The first articles of clothing I wore were mostly made up of my male cousins hand-me downs… any day in Quito is never equal to a July in Phoenix… so, I wore a lot of boys shorts and t-shirts… which was what was fine. This woman took it upon herself to act as my personal stylist and buy some clothes (that she insisted my mother pay for though I understand she had not asked her to do this shopping thing on my behalf). These outfits that this woman selected for me were of the kind that I heard others repeatedly call atrocious and awful. The thing is that I had no clue they were so awful, I was literally clueless about how young girls would dress in America. The clothes seemed perfectly functional to me. So, I think I lost a lot of confidence there… I had gone from a young kid who was perfectly comfortable choosing her own outfits which made sense to no one but me to being terrified to put on things lest they be considered ugly and atrocious.
In high school, my attempts at trying to make myself to be make-up beautiful were met with a variety of comments that included being referred to as a whore (for putting on too much) to looking like a clown due to things like make-up lines. I can remember some times in high school trying to put on make up before school and being almost in tears at my not knowing how. I also tended to hide my body and its curves because it seemed inappropriate for me to do so… young American women of good standing do not show off their curves… and I think it a way i took it too far. Granted, I did feel like I was allowed to dress up for formals in a manner that did not suggest wearing a sack, but those were special events.
At one point I found that I was settling in to a style that I enjoyed, only to have my socks ridiculed.
Now, this makes me seem exceptionally whinny and that disturbs me. I feel like I need to point out that I was going through this whole stage in a country that was exceptionally foreign to me. Clues to how I should behave and act were constantly being sought out, but the messages were mixed and it was extra confusing on top of that whole stage of life (tween and teen) being more than slightly miserable. In some respects I think I was learning how to walk again, in spite of never having forgot how. A strange situation to be sure.
So, I don’t really blame anyone… other than myself… I don’t think any of us thought about it or even considered that I was a foreigner having to learn new ways… nor that it might have been extra difficult because I had no outward expression of my foreignness In my family we talked about my acculturation, but I don’t know that any of us had a clue what it meant other than that I was learning a new way… when I believe it is not only that, but also about finding how you can fit into the new way. One does not move to a new country and suddenly become a certain way… there is a process to the shifts in persona and place that help you find comfort.
I think I found comfort in being plain… wearing new clothes or make up became risks to me, so rather than try to fall in to a trend, I abandoned their use all together. I was never able to summon enough courage to tell others who would object of call attention to a difference to take a hike and managed to make myself become increasingly semi-nondescript (semi because I am tall and I can’t ever hide that and it is often remarked upon) so that I could be with people and have friends… as if my taking risks in make, hair or fashion would have caused me to lose “friends” that would have been of value.
this is all making me feel stupid again and a little overwhelmed and completely unsure about what, if anything, I should do about this.
Last night, the hair-dresser said to me something about how I am getting to an age when I will have to make more of an effort… be that through make-up, clothes, and or hair. It stung a little, but I think she is right, I can’t keep hoping that I will fall through the cracks as some form of matronly wallflower… that just is not my personality. I am opinionated, I like to enjoy life, laugh, jump, act silly… all those things draw attention to me.
I have to find a way to make this work.. where I don’t feel bad about how I look.
Another thing that is pertinent to this inner dialog is that all those things (make-up, hair, clothes, accessories all cost money. Money that I have a hard time justifying being spent on those things.
I feel like I have set myself up in a horrendous spiral of self-damnation.
Plainness has its peculiar temptations quite as much as beauty.
~ George Eliot