This week's assignment in my photo class was to make a self-portrait that reveals some inner thing about yourself. These are mine.
When I was in high school (and even junior high), I wore make-up. My mother used to take me to the Clinique counter to buy eye shadow and foundation. I always felt so embarrassed, sitting in those high seats as the make-up artist brushed blush across my cheeks. Do it just like this when you go home, they'd say.
I was never good at putting on my make-up. My mother told me women are supposed to wear makeup. If she wasn't wearing hers, she said she didn't have her face on. "Every old barn needs some paint," she said.
I felt like I'd never get used to putting a mascara wand so close to my eyes. I would never know how to make blush look natural, how to blend foundation in so that it looked like your real skin, only better. So when I went to college, I just stopped wearing it. Secretly, though, I always suspected I would be more beautiful if I wore makeup. Some nights, after a few cocktails, I would ask sorority girls to put makeup on me. Outside and done up, people would tell me how pretty I looked.
I don't wear makeup now. But the reason isn't because I don't like makeup, or because I think I look better without it. The reason I don't wear makeup is because I know I'll never be pretty that way. I know I'll never be good at putting it on, at being the kind of woman who would make the South proud. A beauty.