War Paint


My husband and I carpool to work and we drop my son off at his daycare on the way. In order to save time, I usually put my make up on in the car. I was applying my eyeshadow the other morning when Zane piped up from the backseat.

"You going to battle, Mama?" he asked. I snorted before I could stop myself.

"Yes, son," I told him. "Mama is going to battle."

"What do you think Mama is going to battle, Zane?" My husband was curious.

"A big giant ROBOT!!!!" was the answer. We all laughed as we pulled into the daycare parking lot.

Later, I thought about what Zane had said. The kid was actually on the right track. Unlike most women, I often think of makeup as my war paint. There are some days when I don't see eye shadow and blush as enhancements, but as weapons.

My ritual application of color to my face each morning seems to prepare me to face whatever enemy has made an appointment on the field of engagement. When I apply a particular color of lipstick, there's often an intent on my part to "put on" a particular face, or a mask, in order to convey a particular message to people who see me. This message might be "Hello!" or it might be "Get the F--- away from me before I rip your arms off." Or both, depending on the agenda.

People who know me understand that I have social skills issues. My attention to the social niceties is extremely short, particularly when I have a goal in mind. I'm just as likely to say the wrong thing as I am to say the right thing. Even when I make an effort to smooth things over, things tend to get messy. Throw an angry parent in there, and blood may get spilled.

My "war paint" provides me with a feeling of protection as well as a sort of confidence. This is all very necessary for my daily 'battles'. Once my 'mask' of makeup is in place, I have a shield between me and the rest of the world.

That includes big robots.

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