I went out the other day. To a restaurant. For real. We ate outside, but still. I decided that I would wear make-up and jewelry. I hadn’t looked at any of my jewelry since . . . well, you know.
I’m not talking about anything fancy or expensive. Just what we used to call costume jewelry. Do they still call it that? I chose three bracelets, two for one arm and only one for the other arm because there is already a watch there. And two rings. And two necklaces to wear together. It was so exciting to see all those old treasures again. They looked lovely in a way I didn’t remember. I wanted to wear even more. I put them all on. I looked ridiculous. I wore them anyway.
And make-up. You don’t need much when half your face is covered. And you need zero for Zoom calls because you won’t look good anyway, so why bother? At least I don’t ever look good on Zoom. I have these two little “beauty” marks on the side of my face. They are a recent acquisition, due, I suppose, to aging. I don’t like them. They are located under the mask. Whenever I put on make-up in pre-covid times I put a little dab of concealer over them. Just so they wouldn’t be so obvious. But there was no need to bother during isolation, and when I went out they were always covered by the mask. No need to bother then either. Close to a year into the pandemic I realized that the spots were noticeably lighter. It turns out I wasn’t covering them; I was staining them darker. Don’t tell me there’s nothing to be learned from this horrendous experience we’ve all been through.
In the years to come, there will be plenty of assessments of this time we’ve just passed through. People will write about how family relationships and friendships changed or didn’t change. What did the kids lose from a year without school? How many people are left with holes in their hearts because of lost loved ones? How should we fix the damage to our economy the pandemic caused? How can we take advantage of what we learned about the earth and the climate from the slowdown of human activity? And on and on. We have a long way to go in sorting this out. But for the moment, I am just happy to be able to say hello to my bracelets again and reassess my make-up routine.
Norma Libman is a journalist and lecturer who has been collecting women’s stories for more than twenty years. You can read the first chapter of her award-winning book, Lonely River Village, at NormaLibman.com.