When I was thirteen my mom deemed me old enough to wear makeup. I embraced the frosty pink lipgloss and electric blue eyeliner of the day, regardless of the fact that it looked completely ridiculous on me.
Over the years I bought and wore many unsuitable shades. I tried everything from pale-pale 60's nudes to bright autumnal orangey-reds. I didn't know myself and my coloring well enough to know that I looked best and felt most confident in a specific color group.
I have pale skin with pink undertones, dark brown hair with reddish highlights and deep brown eyes. I realized in my late twenties that I look best in creamy berry shades, blue-based sheer reds, or glossy raisin hues. I can do pinks as long as they aren't too pastel, when they make the leap into fuschia territory or when they match my lips almost exactly.
My skin looks brighter and my spirit is cheerier when I bring out the pink flush that rises on my cheeks when I'm flustered, embarrassed or have had too much sun.
I stumbled stubbornly through my twenties wearing colors that were too orange-garish, too pale, too matte or too muddy. I thought that as a makeup artist (and a woman!) I shouldn't limit my palette, that I should be flexible and try whatever trendy shade came my way.
I did the exact same thing in my relationships with men. I didn't stop to really get to know myself and what I liked or disliked. If someone was attractive to me in some way and seemed to like me I let myself be carried along with the current of their preferences and interests.
Inevitably these encounters ended and left me feeling dazed and disconnected from myself, having no idea of who I was and what I liked.
Slowly I started to drift towards colors that suited me, disregarding what colors the fashion media crowned the "It!" colors of the season until I realized that I owned about five different brands of more or less the same color. Some of them worked slightly better than others: one was maybe a bit too dry, one was a touch too light, but they were all much, much better than all the random shades I had tried over the years.
When my marriage ended I realized that instead of figuring out who I was and what I needed from a relationship I had routinely chosen men who were not at all what I needed and forced myself to fit into their lives.
Maybe it's a daddy thing--during my childhood I was used to having to work hard for my father's attention and I carried that with me into my romantic dealings throughout my twenties and early thirties.
When I left S I had a very clear sense of self and knew that I could never again change myself to fit with anyone. Either I would meet someone and our goals, ideas, dreams and passions would mesh or I would be alone. Then concept alone was ok with me...I relished the freedom and silence at the end of my days, was thrilled by time alone time that wasn't consumed with bickering and tension.
My ideas and hopes of a love that came easily and felt right had long since been crushed. I really did think that either that sort of thing didn't exist or at least would never exist for me.
But I had realized that only by limiting my scope would I ever find what I needed. I am old enough to finally know who I am. I'm not perfect and I'm not always awesome and I can be flexible on some things but there are just some "types" of men that just don't work well for me.
I knew that there would be a huge group of people that I would be avoiding in my future dealings with men and I had a vague but hopeful list of qualities that I would be keeping my eye out for..
"must be funny, love good food, have fond memories of the 90's, enjoy music, have something concrete that they are passionate about, must love their mama and adore women in general, must be attractive but not full of themselves, must have a good idea of who they are and what they are looking for, must be spiritual in some way, it would be nice if they were a Texan, must have a career path figured out, must be loving and affectionate and social, must be through 'sowing their wild oats' and ready to be stable, must be comfortable with feelings and connected to their emotions..."
But most of all, I was hoping to find (eventually, in this lifetime...) someone who unabashedly adored ME. Who accepted me for who I am and didn't want to change or control me. Needless to say, I had zero hopes of finding this person.
That's why meeting C took me completely by surprise. I thought getting to know him might be fun or a temporary distraction from my life and responsibilities. I had no goals or hopes for our time together. I liked him and I wanted to find out who he was. But I was ready to cut any ties immediately if there was any hint of the type of behavior or treatment I had fought so hard to escape, or if at any time it became apparent that he was not cut out for hanging out with two four year olds.
But those times never came. Despite my bruised emotions and years of poor choices, things blossomed and flourished with this man. We effortlessly hurtled over huge milestones, amazed when we landed with both feet on the other side.
Against what seemed like insurmountable odds he revealed himself to be quite close (if not spot-on) to my ideal lipstick shade: he is my Snapdragon, he is my Black Honey. With him my life is rich and rosy and smooth and bright. Everything you need in a man...and in a really good lipstick. I am grateful single morning when I get to start my day with a kiss from him.