Mirror, Mirror

I’m so tired of worrying about what I look like. I’ve developed a new strategy and so far, it’s working well. I’ve stopped looking.

I’m not very good at hygiene or any kind of self-care, for that matter. When bedtime toothbrush2shows up, I have the dexterity of a drunk ready to pass out and lose the ability to use my arms. The urge to go to sleep comes on me so suddenly, so swiftly, I can barely drop my clothes to the floor, much less operate a tooth brush. In the morning, my breath smells like a fart on amphetamines and the stink wafts out of my mouth as I do the clean up. Mint toothpaste is my friend.

I admire the woman who washes, shaves, plucks, blow dries, and paints herself up and leaves her home looking like a damsel from a romance novel. The only ones who’ll be present to admire my fussing are a couple of dirty-faced kids and, well, me. I’d have to be looking in the mirror all day, handmirrorthe microwave door, and the toilet bowl to make it worth my while. Furthermore, when the result is that I’m comparable to the better-looking ugly stepsister as opposed to the butt-ugly one, I don’t see the sense in it. I go through phases. “It’s important to look your best everyday” spirals down into “who gives a gray hair”. I probably reside somewhere in between. I’ve decided to leave the glamour to the girly girls.

By the way, those women’s magazines slay me. I was reading a tips column from a makeup artist. He, being someone who I assume doesn’t wear eyeliner himself, was explaining how to apply it.

“If you can’t manage a straight line, don’t even bother,” he wrote condescendingly.eye-881902_19202

Thank you, makeup master, for putting me in my place. I’ll remind myself the next time I go to smudge midnight black eye pencil on my upper lash line that I’m a hopeless bumbler and should throw my makeup kit, the thing I’m incapable of using because I’m not a professional, in the trash.

Or, when reading a magazine article quoting Super Model Cindy Crawford’s take on makeup application from her book, Cindy Crawford’s Basic Face (1996):

“Makeup should never take more than five minutes tops! 15, if you’re going to a black tie dinner.”(pg 21).

Five Minutes? Is there a “put your face on with Kung fu” technique I’m not aware of? Cindy, Cindy, not all of us have your bone structure, your dermatologist, your cosmetic surgeon, your millions of dollars, and your experience with some of the top makeup artists in the world. Cut us some slack, star sister! Some of us need a little more help than you do.

Or, the always incredible looking woman on any magazine cover. We now know she looks that way for various reasons (e.g. good genes, a hair and makeup team, an expensive outfit, a starvation diet, a personal trainer, plastic surgery, a famous photographer, digital shaving, etc.). They tell you in the contents to turn to page 250 to “get the look”. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, right.

Mine is a low maintenance look. I wash my face on a good day. I brush my teeth and visit oldwomanhands2the dentist, but my teeth have yellowed like an old piece of paper and they’re slightly crooked. They also chew food and I’m not afraid to use them to smile. My hands look like my grandmother’s (she’s dead), but they work. My feet are callused, but I use a foot file to keep from fraying the carpet. I force myself to shower regularly. I do the hairdo and put on makeup when I go out or feel so inclined. I pluck a stray hair here and there and there.

Once when my mother was visiting, she had some hair removal papers with her. She was demonstrating them on her own face, extolling their virtues for a good 15 minutes.

catfish2It took me awhile to realize she was trying to tell me something, like maybe, “You look like a catfish”.

I listened politely, but with no enthusiasm, and she stopped.

I’ve read that what a person looks like on the outside mirrors what they’re like on the inside. I don’t agree. Mother Teresa was no pin-up and she was positively radiant. Most men don’t do much to decorate their trees and nobody seems to care. A friend says that fixing her face and hair and wearing nice clothes helps her feel better about herself. That’s fine, it works for her. I don’t need to look in the mirror to feel good about myself. I feel good about myself every time I’m loving, kind, and creative. I’d like to spend my mirror moments doing more of that.

Author’s note: This piece was written when I was running a day home and this was my reality. Since I’ve begun working outside of the home again, I’ve had to do a little more work in front of the mirror to become and remain employed. I still strive to be as low maintenance as possible. Got any tips for me? Put them in the comments section. Thanks and have a happy day!

I appreciate Cindy’s honesty in this article. “I owe the quality of my skin to my cosmetic surgeon.”

Complete the experience. Listen to Bethany Dillon’s Beautiful.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Mirror, Mirror

    1. The older I get, Joan, the less I seem to care. Ha ha. This doesn’t bode well for me in old age…but I truly believe it’s about the soul. I’m betting my life on it. Thanks for reading and commenting, soul sister! Hugs to you on this fine Sunday aft. 🙂


  1. Oh this is so good…I do the 5 min makeup routine and it looks like a 5 min routine. But I like it, I like the natural look. I have never had a pedicure or manicure and my hands and feet are evidence of that. I recall loving my parents working hands as a child and I like my ”working” hands. I painted my nails the morning of my daughters wedding and ended up smudging them. I glanced at them a couple times during the ceremony and what might have felt like a disaster and disappointment to others… I loved it. It reminded me of all the work I invested in the day and it was never about me…but my daughter and her new husband. Beauty is the laugh wrinkles and the imperfections. I have laughed hard..and I am so imperfect. thankyou for the great read. I need to go and brush my teeth before work.


    1. What a beautiful piece you just shared with me. You have a writer in you, Carolyn! Every time I’ve laid eyes on you, I thought you were beautiful. Whatever you’re doing or not doing is working. I look at woman’s painted fingernails with longing. They’re so pretty. I just don’t have the patience for it. For some time now, I haven’t even cared about jewelry. Beauty is more about the inside or at least that’s what I’d like to think. 😉 Thanks for reading and for your kind words and for sharing your gifts, your beautiful pictures with all of us. 🙂


  2. Yup, 5 minutes for me. Mascara is a must for us blonds. I do find it amusing (in a sad way) that the sponsored ads on instagram and pinterest all have makeup tips for older women. What are they trying to tell me? 😉


    1. I’m trying to pare down my makeup routine. I’m pretty laid back and so seem to move in slow mo most of the time with whatever I do. I have to draw in my eyebrows, they are so fair. I should have said that I admire those women that go without. I wish I was brave enough to just chuck the whole lot, but I do like makeup, the way I look in it and how it makes me feel. I think the best tip I’ve read for older women is that less is more, so it sounds like you’re on the right track to me! 🙂


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