I’ve never been a makeup wearer so I have been able to keenly observe the changes in my face over the years.
When I look at pictures of myself when I was young my face looks fresh, flat, light, and smooth.
In recent years my face has suddenly developed a bright red glare. The dermatologist tells me it’s rosacea. I’m not 100% convinced it’s not an autoimmune disease rash. My blood work is inconclusive. I have lots of symptoms but nothing diagnosable. So I push forward in life- with pain, with exhaustion, with odd symptoms, and with a bright red face.
There is some speculation that autoimmune diseases tend to pop up in middle aged women due to stress. If you’re stressed, the body produces a lot of cortisol and iif your body is producing a lot of cortisol, eventually it convinces your body that something needs to be fought back against, so it mounts an immune response against nothing which becomes an immune response against itself.
The red face, the butterfly rashes, the slapped-face look, seem to speak of the internal workings of so many of our middle aged bodies and hearts: We are burning internally, a constant simmering rage at all that is wrong with the world, all that is wrong with us, and all that went wrong in our lives.
We are also bleeding internally from so much heartbreak and loss and grief and grinding exhaustion. Our hearts gave and gave and gave until the hands bled from the strain.
There is a huge temptation to get out the makeup to cover up that red face, but as I’ve never worn makeup before and I find the entire concept of makeup to be boring and annoying, I’m not starting.
So I go forward with my red face.
I go forward