I hosted Easter this year. The day before my family graciously made the trek to Fresno, I had a pretty bad migraine. I get them often, but they don’t bother me much. What I mean is, I know how to handle them. They don’t get out of control. But sometimes my meds don’t work. It was one of those times. My body misbehaves almost every day, but this behavior leaves me debilitated. When this happens, I am truly humbled because there’s nothing I can do about it. I HAVE to rest even if I want to do a million other things. So aside from feeling lousy all day, I got a bit frustrated. Then frustration turned into boredom. I tried to read, but it was difficult to focus on the words on the page. There was nothing worth watching on television. So, of course, I turned to Pinterest.
I found a tutorial about how to do your makeup. At that point, if I moved much, my headache got worse. So I sat still and clicked “play.” Then I watched another. Then another. And three hours later, I was determined to put into practice what I had learned. Of course, I had to wait for my body to do its thing and rest. Around 9pm I felt a small surge of energy. Of relief. I went to the bedroom and began sifting through all of the makeup my mother-in-law so generously gave me while working at Nordstrom. I didn’t realize how much I had accumulated until I filled three huge makeup bags, all separated into categories, of course. Ahem. Yes, I get a little OCD with these sorts of things.
Mgo came home an hour later.
He stared at my face and squinted a bit. “You goin’ somewhere?”
He stared some more, shifting his head to the right a little, like Milli does when I have mini dance parties in the kitchen to celebrate an empty sink. “You look like you’re feeling better.”
And for those two hours before I washed it all off, I did feel a little better. Empowered. Yes, my body was misbehaving, but when I looked in the mirror, I not only looked well, but I looked energized. I watched a few more tutorials to perfect a few more makeup tricks and laughed at myself for spending so much time on something that, just a day ago, didn’t matter much to me.
“You’re an idiot,” my sister said, sitting up on the couch.
“No, I’m serious. I think I want to become a makeup artist,” I said, trying not to smile.
My sister continued to call me an idiot, my husband told me I needed sleep, and my dad stared at me in wonder.
My mom smiled. “Well, if that’s what you want to do, then you should do it.” Typical. She is always so supportive of our ambitions, no matter how outrageous they may seem.
Of course, at the end of the night, I could no longer hold a straight face. A face that was so precisely make-upped.
Sometimes I can’t help but think about what my life would have been like if I weren’t a writer. What if I had become a computer programmer like my dad desperately wanted me to do? Or a nurse? Or a pilot? Some days I wish I wasn’t a writer, because it’s lonely and difficult. But then I go to my desk and write a new sentence. The sentence and I have a staring contest, and it always wins because I look away and add another sentence and then another. Then I look down and see that, suddenly, there’s beauty on the page. Meaning. Life.
Everything I am springs from this: that I am a writer and will never be able to abandon this ambition and role.
Now one with perfectly lined eyes and a pretty powdered face.