C.S. Lewis wrote many beautiful words. One of the wonderful sentences that he composed goes like this, “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.”
Earlier this year, I set a new goal–I’m not too old to do that, after all, you know. I decided to try and learn to wear eyeliner (that I made myself, of course…I also make mascara and hair spray and other things of this sort, usually with a measure of success. I concocted homemade dish washing liquid once, with no success at all.). I say “learn” to wear it because it takes skill. It takes work and practice to get a precise line of liquid black right across the edge of one’s eyelid. And since I’ve never, NEVER applied it to my own eyes before this spring, there’s a learning curve for me to master.
Because when I was in middle school and many of my friends started to wear make-up, I wondered if I should. My parents held fairly strict rules about my wearing make-up (as in, don’t wear it) except for special occasions, such as dance recitals. But I was “finding myself,” as all adolescents must. And I wanted to make up my mind about make-up BEFORE I had permission to wear it–so I would know how I felt when it came time for me to make my own decision about it.
I remember voicing these thoughts to my friend Rhonda at school one day, pondering if I’d even be lying somehow if I were to wear make-up. I didn’t mind that other girls wore it, but I seemed to wrestle with a personal decision about this with a great deal of angst.
I don’t remember arriving at any solid conclusions, but I do remember not wearing it to school. Not in middle school and then not really in high school. Sometimes lipstick in 9th grade, though…Oh, I love lippie. I love how it feels on my lips, and I think I’ve always liked my lips. As a child, when we’d visit my Nanny and Papa, I would lock myself in their hall bathroom and climb atop the toilet and open up Nanny’s bathroom cabinet. I’d try on each and every one of her teeny little Avon lipstick samples, smacking my lips and smiling at myself in the mirror. After an inordinate amount of time, I’d wipe away all traces of cosmetics before rejoining the rest of the family.
But apart from lipstick once in a while, not much else–except at prom, and then a little more as I reached senior year. As I’ve gotten older–as in, finished my 20’s and traveled through my 30’s and entered my 40’s–I’ve worn more and worn it more consistently. Sometimes it makes me feel pretty; usually, I just feel dressed up and ready to go out when I wear it.
And so, as I began to wear more, I contemplated eyeliner. I asked a friend for her advice, and she loaned me a beauty book, and then I mixed some activated charcoal into unused mineral lip gloss and shea butter. I ordered a good brush to apply it. And now I’m wearing it–not every day, but to church or for a birthday party or to a wedding.
I don’t always get it right. In the early days (that is, a few weeks ago), I put on the eyeliner and then wiped it off right away–it looked a mess. The Murphy’s Law of make-up, I thought. Trying a “new look” when I’m pressed for time? Bet on the fact that it’ll turn out badly. But I keep trying; I keep practicing. I’m reaching a goal, you see.
If you see me with eyeliner one day at the library or the grocery store, and it’s been less-than-expertly applied, please be kind. Remember that old song, “He’s Still Working on Me”? Thank the good Lord that He is. And in turn, I’m still working on me.