Thursday 6 October 2011

For Your Eyes Only

Eye makeup! How I love thee. How I love turning up to the work Christmas party wearing corn-on-the-cob yellow MAC pigment.... discovering I can cover my whole lid with turquoise glitter liner... or experimenting with red eyeshadow whilst everyone else screams and runs away (from me)... ahhhh, memories. Smoky greys, chocolate browns, mossy greens, I love them all. Soft and natural or strong and punchy, I am naked without a wash of colour, a slick of liner and enough mascara to sink a cruise ship.

But for the last month my eyes have been dry and itchy. I spent my honeymoon in my specs, unable to wear contact lenses, largely free of makeup and feeling like a hideous four eyed monster from the deep. Not exactly the confidence boost you need on what is supposed to be the romantic holiday of a lifetime.

Anti-bacterial drops have done nothing, and nearly a month later I am no better. This weekend I am packaging myself off to weep on the shoulder of our family optometrist down in Nottingham. Unfortunately, I suspect it will not be good news.

Blepheritis is a eye condition that hails from the same joyful family as eczema. If you get it once, you might be safe. If you have it twice, you're probably stuck with it for life. This is my second bout, and it means business. You can't wear contacts or makeup until it sods off (anything from 2-4 weeks) and unfortunately this irritating little condition does not have the consideration to take into account honeymoons, birthdays and other special occasions I might not want to spend avoiding mirrors and cameras.

Now I appreciate vanity is considered a mortal sin (it sent you back a fair few spaces if you landed on it in my edition of Snakes & Ladders), but I genuinely hadn't prepared myself for a life largely free of makeup. Without it, I want to shrink into the wall. I suppose we all have things that make us feel confident - superficial or otherwise - and having this particular crutch taken away is, for me, frankly terrifying. I say I feel naked without make-up. In fact, I would rather be naked than completely bare of face. Honestly. Stark bollock naked.

Maybe I should invest in one of these.....
It's made me think hard about how much our ideas of being a "proper" woman are connected to being well groomed. I have tried very hard to distance myself from it, but the sad fact is that people at work(I deal with the public, and work in the health and fitness industry) do react to me differently now. The members who know me already don't - they just see Penny. But new people are wary of me. I can't say I blame them - I am trying to impress upon them that I hold the secrets to a healthier lifestyle. And yet, hilariously, I only ever look pale, exhausted and squinty eyed.

I am not sure what the answer is. I would love to say I don't give a shit, and power on regardless, but it's just not the case. For now, I am concentrating on buying the most enormous pair of spectacles, in a bid to cover as much of my face as possible.


  1. Oh Penny, I feel your pain as a contact lense wearer. Last year my eyes suddenly didn't like contact lenses. I'm now able to wear dailies but save them for going out and am purchasing cream eyeshadow so there are fewer bits to get in my eyes. Now on the search for a lovely pair of glasses - but oh it takes forever and one really needs to wear contact lenses to judge. Hope you get good news this weekend and can go back to lenses soon.

  2. Just a few weeks ago I had my third corneal abrasion (yeah I've been wearing contacts for 2 decades...) and was in the same boat. It SUCKS. Although, when your eye is better will you please post a tutorial on how to use eyeshadow? I'm serious!! Every time I try I just look dirty and sad. My saving grace with makeup is that I can put on a set false eyelashes in under a minute.

  3. Ahhh, I'm not alone! JHD, that sounds very similar to what I have. Last time I had it, a month of wearing dailies sorted it out. They're far too expensive for every day wear though, so frustrating.

    Charlotte, I assure you a smoky eye post has been planned for the last 6 weeks, but I haven't been able to take the blimmin' pictures for it! So DEFINITELY when it's gone, I'll be on it :)