I tend to be an emotional and emotive person. I cry. Lots. A mentor once told me that 1.) she had never met anyone who cried as much as I did, and 2.) that my free-flowing tears for my own pain and that of others gave people permission to cry as well.
Which is why I got my tattoos – permanent eyeliner.
Yes, it hurt. A lot. But repetitive needle pokes on my eyelids were nothing compared to childbirth with no pain meds and then nearly bleeding to death. It’s all relative.
But I must say that spending a few hundred dollars to permanently “apply” eyeliner made me wrestle a bit with my own vanity, my values, my theology of makeup if you will. There are enough images in the media to argue away most everything I do in the morning to get ready for the day. Did I really want to permanently attach myself to a standard of beauty?
Buying a trendy piece of clothing is one thing. Buying a bottle of nail polish seems like a much lower level of commitment. Even hair color fades, and now the gray hairs are insisting on equal time as the drugstore box red #660. But a tattoo?
There have been plenty of beauty/vanity missteps. Um. 1988-1995 had several bad perms, cuts, close encounters with hairspray and gel, heavy handed makeup and MIA tweezers. (Seriously, why didn’t anyone tell me?!)
I tend to over-agonize about a lot of things. I have this tiny problem. I want to do the right thing the right way, and my moral compass tries to weigh many things simultaneously. Somehow I was able to make the decision and do it.
I don’t remember how long the tattoos took. The guy was meticulous, making sure the lines were even, the color just right. But immediately after the procedure, which sounded a little like being at the dentist’s office, I would have to describe it by paraphrasing a line out of “Good Hair”: I didn’t feel as beautiful as I thought I would. My eyes were puffy and then scabby. I looked as if I had been crying for days and then covered my eyes in antibacterial ointment.
Fortunately for me, after molting for a week my vanity had paid off.
A friend of mine confessed (and I use that word because that’s what it feels like sometimes when we share our deepest, most vain moments) she was curious about dyeing eyelashes. I’ve known other women who have lighter colored hair mention their addiction to mascara. We all have that one beauty product we’ve sold our souls to. Without it we feel washed out, unkempt, unfinished.
I don’t regret the permanent eyeliner, but it’s definitely a decision that makes me stop and think every day about how God sees me. God meets me everyday in the mirror when I skip the eyeliner and go straight for the lipgloss. Where in your vanity does God me you?