Waking Up Beautiful

By Judie Schaal

My mom and dad met while acting in a small town little theater production. In fact mom was the director/producer. Graduating from college with an education degree in the 30s, she wasn’t able to find a teaching job as the country was slowly recovering from the Great Depression. But she did find a job with a producing company out of New York City. Organizations such as Rotary or Kawanis would employ her to travel to their town and help their members put on a play to raise funds for projects in their community. It was one of those win/win situations for everyone. She made a paycheck, the group loved putting on the play, and the town benefited from the proceeds. And, of course, she was the big winner for she met and married my dad, both settling down in the small town where she had put on the show. But as much as she loved acting and directing, she really loved doing the makeup. I can still remember, in my early years, watching her in the production dressing room. She would meticulously choose the right colors of lipstick and eye shadow and then apply them to each actress. When she added fake eyelashes I held my breath. The transformation was unbelievable!

But she never wore makeup at home – not even for a special party. Maybe my dad didn’t like it for one day he told me, her daughter, to remove the bright polish on my fingernails that I thought looked beautiful. So I didn’t wear makeup either. I didn’t feel plain or unadorned; I just never thought about it one way or the other.

Fast forward to being married and having a party for friends. One gal that we invited was a real beauty. I think all the wives were a little jealous of how she always appeared as if she had just stepped out of a Revlon commercial. The morning after our gathering, I realized she had left her purse at our house. I decided I would drop by her home to return it to her on my way to a doctor’s appointment. When she answered the door, she looked terrible. I said, “Are you okay?” She answered that she was fine. “Were you up all night or are you sick?” Again, she said more firmly that she was definitely fine.

I left puzzled but as I got in the car it hit me that she was fine, she just didn’t have any make up on. I wondered if she knew why I had drilled her like I did. Sheepishly, I felt as bad as the day I asked a distant friend when she was going to have her baby only to hear the reply that she’d already had it! Then I had another thought. Could I…could all of us…look better wearing make up? Could we all look that beautiful?

I started being more aware of my friends and how they appeared. They definitely had a scrubbed clean look at exercise class or running a marathon. But at night they were all dolled up for neighborhood parties. The makeup was off again while playing golf, but I noticed the sunglasses remained on at lunch to disguise a face void of embellishments. And how ‘bout those few friends who had face lifts, noting that if you had one early enough you never appeared to age.

So, I started wearing a little make up…some mascara here, a little eye shadow there. But what a mess I looked like in the morning. Even if I’d taken off those additions the night before, I still had black raccoon eyes in the am. And now, when I didn’t wear makeup, the mirror reflected someone who looked tired and old.

That’s when I heard about tattooing…not roses or butterflies on your ankles, but as permanent eye liner. I couldn’t drive fast enough to the nearest skin care clinician. And now having under gone this relatively painless procedure I wake up in the mornings to someone who looks halfway decent. And there are now more beauty procedures available. Tattoos for eyebrows, tinted eyelashes and laser treatments that can eliminate patches of dark skin, spider veins and even wrinkles.

But that raises more questions. If I’d initially never started wearing makeup, would I still have felt drab in the mornings? Would someone coming to my front door have thought I was sick or been up all night? And am I still the same person or have I become vain and more interested in my looks than in who I really am? I guess it’s a personal choice. I think my mom would agree that makeup can transform how a person looks on the outside as well as how they feel on the inside. And when one feels completely good about themselves they can truly wake up beautiful.

About this writer

  • Judie Schaal Judie Schaal lives in Murrells Inlet with Gary, her husband of 50 years. She has written for On The Green magazine, the Sun News as a tennis columnist and is currently copy editor and photographer of a local color 28 page newsletter.

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