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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Tuesday
Jan152008

Au Naturel

Lately I find myself forgoing my usual cosmetic routine and leaving for work sans make-up. When I was younger I really enjoyed applying make-up. This is ironic, of course, because I didn't need it then. Now, when I could probably do with a slathering of foundation I just don't have the patience for it.

In fact, the older I get the less I care about my appearance. Used to be, if I looked good I felt good. Anymore, how I look plays much less of a role in how I feel which is arguably the healthier approach to living. But I can't help remembering how, when I was a teen or in my early twenties, when owning fashionable items boosted my self-esteem, I remember how I'd look at women who didn't seem to care about their appearance and promise myself that I'd never "let myself go". But I just don't care as much as I used to. Whenever I go through the full spackling routine, foundation, eye make-up, the full nine - the sight is so rare - I'm damn near tempted to do a photo shoot with myself to commemorate the special occasion.

My apathetic attitude toward make-up has gone so far I secretly judge women who look like they spent an hour in the bathroom getting ready. Oh I'm not trying to be supercilious, I admire them too! Admire them for gliding around looking so fabulous all the time. But just like the gals that insist on wearing sky high-heels on the subway, I don't get it. The pros of looking good, for me, don't outweigh the pain in the ass it is to get there. There is a girl here at work whose make-up, especially her lipstick/gloss is always, always expertly and freshly applied. As if she has a secret team of stylists who yank her into a corner and do her up when no one's looking. Don't get me wrong, she's beautiful but Jesus, what a time suck. Witness her concern in her body language - moving about stiffly so as to always look freshly starched and painted, constantly fussing with hair strands and checking for shine in her little compact.

Back in the day, I'd spend hours getting ready with girlfriends, sharing and applying make-up, creating hair-dos and many, many hair donts. And when we arrived at whatever destination, the party or club, I'd silently compare myself with every other girl in the room. She's prettier than me, I'm prettier than her, she's skinnier than me... and so on. I feel no competition with other women anymore. I am who I am. It is no longer feasible for me to spend a half hour carefully applying eye make-up, artfully blending foundation. I guess that's called growing up. Kind of. I don't want to take it too far and become a prime candidate for one of those horrendous makeover shows where some british accented bitch ambushes you and painstakingly explains why what you are wearing is shit, darling, simply horrendous... but I like not caring. It's easier.