Thursday, March 14, 2013

The béguinage goes to Sephora

Several years ago, E and I were in a show.  There we were in the dressing room, before the performance, getting gussied up, laughing, carrying on, pooling our limited makeup supplies so we could each slather on the requisite amount of stuff to appear under bright lights.

And a Diva-In-Training, nearly a decade younger than the average age in the béguinage, joined our conversation, remarking that when she was a girl, her mother had insisted that if she was going to wear makeup, she was going to learn to put it on properly.  So the mother had taken the early-teen Diva-In-Training to some place where she learned all about the stuff.

This did not happen in my house.  It did not happen in E's house either.

(And, for the record, I am EXTREMELY glad it did not.  Thanks, Mom!  Thanks for valuing my brain and teaching -- and living -- that the worth of a woman is about far, far more than her appearance.)

But this meant that I was in my very late twenties before I had ever learned the first thing about makeup.

So the lack of knowledge and lack of confidence make me nervous.  But I am slowly learning that I can  decide to be confident.  I am as beautiful as any of the women in that store... or at least my money works as well as theirs does.  Buying eyeliner is not an act of betrayal of the feminist sisterhood.  And it really is ok to ask for help.  I tell my students that one of the most important lessons they can learn in college is how to ask the relevant people for help.  In Sephora, the relevant person is the woman with the nametag and apron full of makeup brushes.

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