Saturday, August 16, 2014

On makeup, depression, and feeling fragile

I used to wear a lot of makeup.

Today, I was rearranging my room, and I needed the space where the boxes of makeup have been sitting since I moved in here, and as I was shifting it all from the boxes to one of those plastic drawer-things, I sort of paused, and looked at it all, and marveled.

This is a lot of makeup.
I hardly wear it at all anymore.
How did I get so much and when did I stop using it?

Several years ago, I worked at a hip jewelry store at the same time as I worked as an Avon Rep. I had to look nice every day, so I wore makeup, and I really liked it--I usually "put on my face" after I opened the shop, since we were in a secluded corner and no one ever came in the first hour or so, and I'm so not a morning person. It was a way to face the world, since I'm also very introverted and working a sales position was sometimes hard; the girl who wore all that makeup was braver than the girl there before the makeup went on, and I was working on being braver in general.

Then, we moved to a different city. I can't say I was happy, really, in the first city--I lost that job and started one with half the hours and less than half the pay, all my savings were eaten up by a roomie that ditched us and didn't pay her third of the bills, and there was no non-tourism jobs to be had. But I loved our house, and I loved all the little shops, and I really loved being known. I wasn't a townie, but I'd been there long enough that I may as well have been one; I had friends, I knew almost everyone who worked downtown with me, I didn't have to act like I was more normal or more cheerful than I actually was, because we all knew what it was like.

But I was definitely not happy in the new city. I didn't know anyone. The job I had was harrowing and annoying and, ultimately, very unstable, and evaporated only a few weeks after we got up there. I never did find another job. School was getting harder and harder, funds were getting tighter and tighter, and my roommate, who I'd thought I'd just live with forever, didn't need me anymore. I got low. Then I got fully depressed, like I hadn't been since I was fourteen and it was sort of expected of me.

And then I had to move back home, because that unstable and unhappy life was not feasible anymore.

I stopped wearing makeup in that unhappy new city.

It was too much trouble.

But as I was moving all the stuff over today, I looked at all those lipglosses, and all those piles of eyeshadow, and for the first time, almost three years since I felt normal, I thought, "it's not really that much trouble, is it?" And then I thought, "it wasn't really trouble before, either." And it wasn't. I was the trouble. I felt raw and useless and unwanted, and who wants to put makeup on a raw nerve?

Lately, I've been feeling fragile. Like I'm just keeping my head above water, like the ground is just starting to go under my feet, and I've spent three years getting to understand that feeling: it's the feeling of just realizing you're depressed.

It's also the feeling of just realizing you're not as depressed as you were.

I know some ways to deal with it now, instead of drowning. I draw pictures, or paint, or write. I should always be writing more, anyway. I blog it out. I focus on eating better and moving more. I take supplements that help with mood and balance and counteracting nerve-problems, which also counteract the panic attacks and migraines, which, really, are just nerve problems at their base.

I'm not lost like I was.

And maybe I'll start wearing eyeliner and sparkly lipgloss again.

Maybe I'll be okay, after all.
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