Last week I wrote about focusing on the Virtue of Honor.
The plan was to focus on self-deprecating talk. I can’t honor myself if I’m speaking negatively about myself. That’s the theory.
Alas, I can rationalize any self-deprecating talk as “reality” or “keeping it real.” And with no one to contradict me, I dive on that excuse faster than a starved dog dives on an unattended steak.
Simply put, Monday and Tuesday were a complete wash of time. I excused any thought in my mind that may have been construed as self-deprecating.
At some point, I have to admit when I can’t wrap my head around something. Clearly, I am blind to what the difference is between trying to stay real and being self-deprecating.
Changing the Plan
So, it was time to change the plan. I had to figure another way to honor myself. And again, when I’m speaking of “honor” it’s more that I’m trying to show I’m worthy of respect. I have to respect myself before anyone else will respect me.
I stood in front of the mirror for what seemed an eternity but was maybe 7 minutes in reality. This stare-down was akin to a showdown. One part of me trying to defend against the other part of me that picked on how far I let myself go: I gained weight, I’ve aged, my hair has gone from dark brown to its current state, a hodgepodge of dark gray, gray, silver, white, and translucent.
I tend to wear larger clothes because if I wear anything that fits, I can see the weight gain. It’s easy to pretend I’m not that overweight if I can’t see the definition.
My hair first sprouted a gray when I was 18. One of my friends plucked it out of my hair in the high school hallway. At some point keeping up with hair-dying to hide the grays became an expense and a burden. So I gave up and went through the painfully long process of letting my gray mixture grow out.
And then there’s the issue of makeup. I’ve never been adept in the makeup arena. I’m not positive what colors work best on me, finding my proper shade of foundation is a nightmare, and I abhor removing mascara – I’m positive it’s a form of torture.
For the past twenty years I’ve given up on trying to look decent.
Staring this down, led to my game-changing plan. Work on the outside first. Maybe I can fake respecting myself until I make it.
The Attempt to De-frumpify
Now, I have tried over the years to do better with my looks. And thankfully, the same friend who gets mad at me for being self-deprecating is also the same friend who took me shopping a few years ago because I needed help.
Since my friend spent time with me shopping and helping me pick clothes that I don’t think I would have chosen for myself, I felt I should attempt my makeup.
I began staring people down to figure out how they did their makeup. Pretty sure a few people thought I was a weirdo and the rest thought they must have had something hanging from their nose. I was in awe at how well people can choose the right foundation.
I’ve never been good at finding the right shade. And the few tinted ones I’ve tried always felt heavy and greasy. But, I had decided then to find the right foundation. However, there was one big problem. I was incredibly anemic. (side note: I am fine now – we got it under control). Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it at the time. I chalked up my symptoms to an unhealthy lifestyle.
I went shopping for a foundation. And everyone I tried was too dark. It got to the point that I would either have to ask a sales clerk if they had anything in “hint of death” or quit trying to match my skin. I quit trying.
De-Frumpify Round Two
By Friday, I decided I should address my frumpiness, yet again.
I ruled out working on my wardrobe since I still have some decent clothes that fit. When I say decent I mean they are clothes that my friends will say, “You look nice/cute/etc..” when I wear. For the rest of the world, those clothes are just everyday errand-running clothes. That should give you an idea about my daily wear. I am making an effort to dress better when I leave the house. It’s not the top priorty, but there is a slight effort.
I ruled out making over my hair. I really don’t want to battle the gray/white/silver/translucent blend on my head. Plus I got a compliment on my hair a few weeks ago. Another lady who is debating the “should I grow out the gray or not” battle said if she knew her hair would look like mine she’d do it.
I did get a fresh cut and my hair is looking better with just a few minutes of attention: Wash, towel dry, spritz with a volumizer, and done.
So the choice was makeup. I said a prayer, told my husband I was heading to Target to find foundation, and not to wait up for me as it might take a while.
Yes, I am aware that this process could have been simplified if I’d just gone to a makeup store and let a professional deal with it. But if I have the choice between a $40 foundation and a $40 dollar notebook (with Tomoe River paper) I’m getting the notebook every time. Priorities, people, priorities.
The Great Foundation Hunt
Once at Target, I started walking up and down the makeup aisles trying to rule out foundations that I knew were just not meant for me. I didn’t know much so I didn’t have many to rule out.
I did what we should never do, put my trust in the web with a random search for “The best foundations for women over 50.” Sidenote: I’m not 50 yet, March 15th I will be half a century old.
A quick glance at some of the results and I amended my search to “the best DRUGSTORE foundations for women over 50.”
I then compared three different listicles and searched for a few of the foundations that had graced the pages of each article. I ended up with two foundations that took me twenty minutes to decide on which one to buy. My gut kept saying one, but I kept feeling like I should get the other that was more expensive.
While debating the right choice I added a new mascara and a lip gloss that I went with my gut on, color-wise.
In the end, I trusted my gut and chose the foundation that was a tad less expensive, prayed it wasn’t a lost cause or a waste of money, and checked out.
Once at home, I was excited to try the makeup. I’m never really excited to try makeup, so I told my husband we’d have to go out to eat if I put on makeup. He jumped at that quicker than I expected. I’m not sure if he wanted to see me in makeup or if he was dreading leftovers.
Shockingly, I found a great match in the foundation. This is not a sponsored post, nor an affiliate thing. I bought the Loreal Visible Lift foundation in shade 143- Soft Ivory. For me, it matches my skin tone AND it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.
I’ve worn it for four days now. I have committed to making up my face if I’m going to leave the house. That means primer, foundation, brow gel, mascara, a quick dab of blush, a swipe of bronzer, and the new lip gloss which I am crazy about.
For days when I’m not leaving the house, I put on foundation, brow gel, and lip gloss. This way if I ever again make the mistake of Facetime calling someone when I’m just trying to look up their address, I won’t feel so frumpy.
I do feel better about myself and when I went shopping, I didn’t feel the need to keep looking at the floor.
And there’s some science behind the psychology of dressing well and presenting the best you to the world. It’s not just the way people see you, but it’s the uplift you get and the confidence that you feel as well.
Dana Miller, Fashion Editor, wrote Psychology Effects of Dressing Well
Or this piece in PsychologicalScience.Org, When Clothing Style Influences Cognitive Style
This piece in Penn State’s Science of Our World: Why Does Makeup Make People More Attractive