I was never a particularly still child. Except when I was reading, I was a little twitchy, a little all over the place and a little lost in my own head (not much has changed).
So, for as long as I remember, I have been told that meditation would really benefit me. To be honest - I make it a few days of guided meditation and then it goes to shit. I get bored real easy and I know that is something meditation and mindfulness is supposed to fix but I don't think I have the patience to let it. At least, not yet.
My mental health has not been at the best of places in the last few years. To put it simply, I am not as happy and as self-reliant as I used to be. This to a part, I feel has been pathologized by the people around me. Yes, I am not always very happy and yes I need to be healthier in a number of ways but I don't think I quite on the brink of anything terrible just yet. However, I have learned (obvious though it may seem) that you don't need to wait to be on the brink of disaster before you do something about being happier.
So I am learning to be more mindful of my moods, my feelings and my days. This does not come easily to me. I love to talk and I especially love talking about myself but I am not a very introspective person. I do think a lot of my troubles do stem from a subconscious refusal to look at myself clearly.
This is where my 3 shade days come in. I have spent months and years rolling out of bed at the last possible minute, putting jeans and a sweatshirt, brushing my hair quickly and running out the door. So on the days I look somewhat put together and actually put on some makeup - those are the good days. I woke up early, I wasn't rushed, I had time, I had space, I could breathe. And on the rare days, where I pull out my Naked palette and use not one, not two, but 3 shades (experimentally and like an absolute novice), you know that day is going to be good. Or at least, it started real good.
Doing my makeup is kind of like meditation for me. It forces me to stop and breathe and actually take a minute and only do one thing at a time. I have to stand in front of the mirror and just look at myself. I can't watch TV, I can't talk to someone. It's just me and my face and my hands and the mirror. It's more mindful than you would think.
It also forces me to look - really look - at my face. I live in so many parallel worlds in my head ( I always have, always will: Maladaptive Daydreaming) that being forced to look at the reality of my physical existence - it's very centering. It forces me to look and see what actually exists, what actually is. It doesn't usually come with self-loathing. I look at my face, with all the flaws and strengths and I just have accept it and accentuate it as much as I am able.
Doing my make up is a reality check. Mirrors are important. I realize I live my life as a series of what ought to bes. In some ways, that is grand. I believe it makes me a very aspirational person. But it also leaves a huge gap between what is and what ought to be and a lot of my sadness and anger and rage emerge from that difference. People ought to be kind because I am kind. I ought to look better. I ought to study more. As a former IR student, I cannot resist in making the comparison - I am very a normative person, always obsessing with what ought to be - both in myself and how people around me treat me. Doing my make up, it forces me to be more empirical. I have to work with what is there, not what should be.
Sometimes, I am not happy with what is there. That is alright. But I need to know what is there before I can figure how to change it. I don't how to change a lot of things in my life right now. In parts, I am lonely, broke, anxious, unemployed and unfit. I want to be none of those things. But I am recognizing some of those things are symptomatic of my age and my place in the world. So makeup does help me realize what really is. I already know what ought to be. If could build a bridge of 'how' between the two and traverse it - I think I could be happy then.
For the moment, this is where I am. This just is. Today was not a 3 shade day, but today was a red lipstick day. It's tiny bridge from what was (unbrushed hair and a guilty lie in) to what ought to have been (decent outfit, eyeliner and lovely red lips). It's a bridge. I'll learn to build others.
Till I do, I look forward to my 3 shade days.
I hope you do too.