My name is Mara and I have a progressive condition called mitochondrial myopathy. I have an implanted mediport for daily infusions and I use an electric wheelchair. Besides that, my condition is invisible to others. When I wear makeup, people tend to assume that I must be feeling great. The most common response I get from other people after explaining my health situation is, “but you don’t look sick at all!” Others think that if I look good on the outside, I must be feeling good on the inside as well. For the majority of the time, it is actually the complete opposite.
I typically put on makeup when I am feeling the most ill because it feels as though I am reclaiming some control over my body. I do not have control over my physical ability, symptoms, or flare-ups, but I do have control over how I want to look and how I feel about myself.
For me, putting on makeup is a time to relax and focus on self-care. Spending time with myself, appreciating my beauty, and creating art on my own body to enhance my natural beauty can be the emotional boost I need on the days when I am feeling the worst.
A bit of makeup always boosts my self-confidence. My favorite style of makeup is the natural glossy look. I enjoy putting on shiny lip gloss, shimmery eyeshadow, bold mascara, and glowing highlighter on my cheek bones to create a subtle look that enhances my natural beauty.
I am unable to spend too much time doing my own makeup because my arms, wrists, and fingers give out and go limp after a small amount of exertion. I have learned some ways to work around this by adjusting my makeup routine.
Instead of putting on foundation and then concealer on top of it, I only use a full coverage concealer. I apply a small amount under my eyes, in between my eyebrows on my forehead, and on my chin. I then blend outward using a damp beauty sponge. This gives the effect of having fuller coverage around the T-zone and eye area while still evening out the skin tone on the rest of the face. By using a full coverage concealer by itself, I skip an entire step in the makeup routine and save myself a lot of time and energy.
For eyeshadow, I like using a shimmery liquid eyeshadow that I can quickly and easily dab on with my finger. For extra dimension, sometimes I will add a darker powder eyeshadow in the crease of my eye. The powder blends with the liquid eyeshadow very well as long as the liquid has been given a couple seconds to dry.
Although applying makeup does take some extra effort and energy, it is such an important part of my personal self-care. It is necessary for me to feel confident and comfortable in my body. It can often feel as though my body is fighting against me, and to be able to adorn myself in glitter and gloss helps to remind me that my body and I are still a team.
Written Mara (Margie) Volle