All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… I was made for you.
From “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
Did I need a new lipstick today? I argued myself into it. I have a handful of stains and colors in my purse but I didn’t have any that were the right color AND didn’t come off on the first kiss. Clearly, new lipstick was in order, and I had go to the store anyways. The color I bought, Maybelline’s 24-Hour Super Stay in #25, didn’t look as vampy at the drug store as it did when I got back to my office. I put it on anyways, and, like most scary lipsticks, I started to love it. I took a picture and sent it to my bff for approval. She signed off, and I killed a few more minutes by taking a few more.
Do you like your face?
It sounds strange, but lately, I’ve started to like my own face. I didn’t used to. It was too fat, my chin too pointy, my eyebrows too big, my nose rather unfortunate. I have always felt quite plain. In high school, my friends were compared to Keri Russell and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and I was told I looked like Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In addition to the fact that I can’t function in the slightest without them, glasses have always been a kind of shield. Something that stood between me and everything else.
While driving home tonight, I realized that the German word for face is Gesicht and the word for story is Geschichte. Very nearly the same words. Brandi Carlile’s breakthrough song came to mind, and it felt differently. I’ve heard it how many zillions of times, and now, today, it makes sense in a new way. I can’t really articulate it yet, but somehow, it just resonates.
I look like my parents, and like my paternal grandmother. My nose is solidly from my dad’s side. My mouth from my mom’s. The freckles earned over the course of 35 summers. I have pretty much always liked my eyelashes and eyes. My face isn’t just a collection of shapes, it’s me. I’m only now, in my 30s, getting comfortable with it.
About a year ago, I wrote about how tired my eyes looked. So very worn down by stress, anxiety, and exhaustion that I looked old and weary, even on days when I tried to look pretty. Last week, I realized that my vision insurance now makes contacts an affordable option, and after a lifetime of Coke-bottle glasses, it’s strange to think that I won’t have glasses on my face.
At the risk of narcissism, a few of the pictures of me without the glasses I hide behind, wearing the lipstick that scares me, my vulnerable history: