I always say that I am a farm girl, I am not a “born tao” and like all the village kids, there were somethings which I saw on television and newspapers, like make up, ice cream, pizza, and chocolates , which belonged to city dwellers.
When my cousin Rose went to college in Nairobi and on weekends she would come visit there is one thing I remember I always admired in her; make up. While she was dressing up we would surround her and watch her,as her fingers gently swiped the colors on her eye lids and lips. “One day I will own my own collection, the day I will be able to buy my own stuff and have my own money the first thing I will buy will be my own make up.” I would tell myself as I admired the elegantly packed colors.
I lived up to my words, my first pocket money while in high school was spent on eye shadows and lip gloss. My dad loathe makeup. I recall a time when we were kids my cousin Mary and I stole our house help’s nail polish and applied it. Unfortunately dad spotted our finger nails at supper time and order us to get rid of it. We didn’t have nail Polish remover so we had to scrub it off with a pumice stone.( I never applied nail polish again until I was in campus.) So on Sundays I would apply a mild layer of eye shadow so that he wouldn’t notice. At one point I stopped playing it safe and I would just apply any color and dad would complain that we wouldn’t go to church together with “all those stuffs” on my eyes and mum would always tell me that I looked like a statue. With time they just got used to it and dad would look at me and ask,
“ríu ní matúú mau wíhakanagia?” What are those things that you smear on your face?
Growing up,I was a tomboy; climbing trees, playing football and slide on rainy days with the boys and generally a naughty one. My first day in campus I was dressed in a pair of jeans, t shirt, a jumper and a pair of oldskool sneakers and carrying a back pack. Did I mention that my head was clean shaven? My love for makeup had a big effect on my character, behavior and dressing style. I had the freedom to experiment as much as I wanted with all the different types of make ups I had read about in magazines. Fair&lovely was replaced by moisturizers and ponds, I discovered the mascara( which I can’t get out of the house without) eye liners,lip liners, I discovered the power of lipstick but my dressing style was not rhyming with my make up trend, so I traded my jeans with short skirts and girlie dresses, my t-shirts with sexy tops showing a bit of cleavage, my comfortable sneakers with heals and sandals and the back pack was replaced by an assortment of handbags . I even started braiding and weaving my hair! I became the girl that I am today. While waiting for campus bus in the morning girls would whisper behind my back asking whether I usually go to the saloon every morning or where I got the time to do my make up every morning. Some would ask me and I would tell them that make up application is an art it requires time and concentration.
Over the years my make up style has changed, I no longer color my eyelids with all the colors of the rainbow(yes I used to do that) or use shiny glittering lip gloss on my lips( it’s funny how I cannot stand glittering lip gloss) but I cannot get out of the house without makeup because I feel naked without it. I like my eyes when they are smoky, red lipstick or pink and a touch of blush or bronze and I know that this is not a cup of tea for everyone.
Why do you do all that? Why can’t you remain natural ? You are beautiful , you don’t need all these stuff to make you look good; it’s a waste of money and time.
Well let me say I understand and I know that in life one has to make a lot of compromises. So let me say darling, pumpkin, love of my life; I will change my hair style for you, get rid of those weaves that you hate and leave wigs with the costume manager for my costuming, I will never again shave a Mohawk or color my hair white or red because it attracts a lot of attention when we are walking on the street( things I do to my hair).
I look at the mirror sometimes and I am surprised by the image looking back at me), I will put on more concealing tops and knee length dresses, I will even wear the ground sweeping maxi dresses and skirts just for you but darling dear, my makeup is here to stay it is a part of me that I am not willing to let go, not just yet .