Today I left a cold drink for the mailman. I hope he enjoys it.
If you have looked at my makeup page, you will notice I obviously enjoy “tinkering” with cosmetics. I wanted to be a spy when I was a child, and I loved the idea of disguises. That’s what happens when you grow up during the Cold War. Anyway, I have some photos to add to the makeup page, and I will soon. I feel like I need to give some background on my usage of makeup to enlighten any that may be interested.
This is not a Hallmark story, or even a story really; it is more of a recollection and an explanation. If you are familiar with my former blog posts, you may be aware that my biological mother was a horrible influence and/or role model. As a child, I had coke bottle glasses in the cheapest frames, crooked teeth, and dirty dishwater blonde hair cut short like a boy. I played with boys, dressed like a boy, and I never wanted to be a boy, I knew I was a girl, but I didn’t see how that affected my ability to build a good fort. My point is that being feminine was foreign to me. I did not think about having babies, or getting married. I daydreamed of being a scientist or a spy, and mostly I daydreamed of getting away from there.
As I grew up, the mother began to push cosmetics my way, and I liked the idea of masks and disguises so it seemed fun. Until she began giving me veiled insults with the cosmetics, like a fucking blanket with small pox. “This will help your skin look better…are you sure you are washing your face…why aren’t you wearing the makeup I got you…”
These remarks escalated in time, and the one that I remember with the most frequency is “you’re looking rough–put on some lipstick or something, GOD.” Mind you, this from a woman that looked and looks like she put her makeup on in the dark: the bright red lipstick smeared out of the lines, the dark brown penciled eyebrows with their completely unnatural arch, black spots and smears around the eyes from poorly applied mascara.
The remarks about my appearance did something. It made me feel less than, it made me feel like makeup was my only option. I became a bit obsessed with makeup because it did something–it made me look different. I could of course look like the mother wanted, but it is just not in my programming. She gave me cosmetics, and I wore them my way. I got to look like I felt–angry and brokenhearted. In time, makeup became a sanctuary. I could escape into it and it was a sort of protection. I whited out my lips and rimmed my eyes in as much black as I could muster. I used cigarette ashes as blush, so basically I created a blank slate with big black rimmed eyes. I see now the minimizing of my lips was not just because I felt they were too big, it was also because I felt I couldn’t speak. Or if I did, no one would listen.
Eventually, my style changed but I didn’t stop wearing makeup. In fact, I became a makeup artist for Estee’ Lauder, wearing my little perfect outfit and donning perfect lips. In a sense, I took what was a painful thing, a thing thrust upon me, and I became better at it than the woman that forced it on me. What is it like to develop a skill that is based on inadequacy? I know many skills are mastered due to that impetus, however, I am speaking not of a decision on someone’s part to develop a skill chosen by the individual. I am speaking of unconsciously developing a skill to avoid punishment or humiliation. I’m good at putting on makeup because of the same reason I am a good mimic–to hide.
Today I feel like a casualty. I am happy I woke up this morning. I love my life. I also have a weird pain from all the fucking shit that seems like it was all a dream, a horrible and exhausting nightmare, and the realization that I behave differently than many because I have severe PTSD. One of the first things I do when I see someone is ask myself what they want of me. I may have known the person 10 minutes, 10 days, 10 years…but I have to size them up to see what the motivation is. And that is fine for now.
I would like to sit down to write about some stretch of time that has been relatively uneventful, or some trip I took, or something that belongs in a photo album. I am not doing that. That is not what I do here. I hunt down the pain here, with every intention of destroying it. I can say from all that has played out before my eyes that I still feel, deeply, compassionately, empathetically, and I feel ferocious in being entitled to my feelings. My feelings don’t make me act irrationally, they are just feelings and they come and go. I know I survived for the reason to be here. I don’t need to feel guilt about surviving, and I don’t need to feel guilt about feeling.
I am here to be, and to be happy I think. I have always believed that happiness is a birthright for every living thing. Even me.
I feel so much squandered fragility. Seeing a history of a time past when in a delicate state I put myself into something like the hands of a medieval blacksmith, or offered myself like an exquisite entree to be consumed leaving only skin and bones behind. How I undervalued my worth because of a belief I held. One that was enforced by the only female figure available with which to identify. She enforced the belief that rape is sex, not an act of violence against another human being. I grew to see that she envied me because I received sexual attention, although it was not sexual attention. It was rape and molestation. For a long time I have confused these two very different things because in the microculture of my family of origin, being raped was having sex. Sex is voluntary. I never really believed that before. I believed that perhaps it could be enjoyable, but for the most part, sex was an expectation placed on all women. Therefore, it had to be done. I realize most of my intimate relations involve some “lost time” because I was dissociating. There is a Swiss lace quality to my memory regarding sex and intimate encounters because I checked out. I checked out because I believed that rape and sex were somehow interchangeable, and if I didn’t want to be raped I better just have sex, like a preemptive strike.
While these conclusions have broken through the dense fucking dome that is my conscious, alpha wave mind, I have experienced massive physical disruptions. Basically my body has purged about everything I have put in it and I have had to eat food that is very simple to digest, and replenish myself physically. I’ve been trying to ignore signs of needing a bit of TLC, like my dizziness and lack of physical balance. My beloved, however, is keen to my ways and sees my slip ups. I know I want him to at the end of the day, because it feels unlike anything I have known to have someone care so much that they FUCKING NOTICE. Gifts and compliments are lovely, and damn do I love a lipstick, but nothing equates to feeling like if I fall down, he will help me. I think I have finally learned it is okay to let him. He loves me, and people that love each other do not do violent things to each other. They express love for each other. They help each other, too.
I wrote this yesterday.
After deliberating and and padding things, I just decided to spill. An older man that lives nearby told me he has a crush on me. Not only is this grossly inappropriate, but it is an insult to me, because now any interaction I have had with this person now seems like merely an opportunity to study me. Yes, I am triggered, and yes I am reacting in a way that may be overkill. This person is over 70, knows Ihave PTSD, knows I am married, and still made a stupid remark and added that I should not share that information with my husband, whom he knows. This is an outrage to me. I don’t keep creepy secrets, or withhold things from the most important person in my life. Does this individual know what his lack of adherence to boundaries has done? Like a fucking game of mousetrap, a series of things happened after I received this text message of which I speak from my neighbor. I began to calculate what he could use against me, what I could use against him, and who would most likely come out the winner. Then I have to reflect on all previous information that has been collected on him–all the interactions and bits of conversations that revealed potential weaknesses. Like a switch has been flipped, because it has, I am powering up the red light saber and pacing, waiting for my prey to appear so I can study it. This is how I survived in unfortunate situations. Listening, observing, and being quiet when you walk are all things that have gotten me out of plenty of jams. Listen for Intel, observe them in different emotional states, remember details, and don’t”t wear loud shoes. Sounds calculating and weird maybe, but when this gets activated I cannot also feel tangible emotions regarding the person. For years I struggled to get away from dangerous people because when the horrible truth oftheir actions was too much to bear, my drive to run wasundermined by acknowledging their humanity, and putting their worth above my own. From that I have learned that I need to practice compassion for such individuals in an abstract way, asanimalsthat are rabid and sick, starving and desperate. I cannot feel anything for them because I put my safety first. In doing that, Imust reject the nuances that can explain irrational behavior, because if I don’t, I feel a need to help them and be tolerant. There are times when it is not good to be tolerant. That is why I have to regard them as sick things as opposed to people, so I don’t get sucked into some pity party. A mother like mine will do that. She will make you mistrust, she will make you look at everyone with a second glance, she will make you the victimizer and usurp your role as an injured person. She makes you feel like everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
That is why I have to allow myself to compartmentalize certain people, so I maintain my worth in their midst.
Today I am fortunate enough to be featured on www.kindovermatter.com . Please click the link to go to the site, where you will see one of my poems previously unpublished. It can be found under Poetry Corner. Thanks!