I decided to step back and let my middle daughter approach me at her own pace with her requests. Today, she asked me to help her put on makeup. That was actually a lot of fun for me, since my oldest daughter never really let me do that.
I also gave her some of my skincare, which I suspect will likely work for her because her skin runs toward the oily type like mine does. I asked her if she wanted me to just show her how to put on makeup or if she wanted me to walk her through the skincare routine first, and she wanted both.
In that regard, I also feel like I missed out on similar bonding moments with my own mom. My mom didn’t let me start wearing makeup until I was 14 or 15; I don’t remember exactly when but I just know it was much later than I was interested in it. Even then, she said I could only wear mascara and blush. She didn’t show me how to apply it and she didn’t tell me anything about skincare.
As a result, I walked around through my entire 20s wearing foundation and powder (with no blush) that were way too light for me. I see pictures of myself now from that time and just kinda cringe. Someone really should have told me that I looked like a ghost.
On a similar note, I didn’t start doing much regarding skincare until like 2 or 3 years ago, which is extremely late in life. I had two Sephora marketing reps come to my house 3 years ago to watch me put on makeup and I took up much less than the allotted time, most likely because I didn’t start with a skincare routine. Again, I just didn’t know because nobody had ever told me.
This stuff may seem shallow and I’m sure that on some level it is. But at the same time, I figure that if my daughter is going to go to the effort of wearing makeup, I want to show her the right way to do it. It would be much different if she wanted to be creative or dramatic with her makeup. But because she wants to learn how to apply it and look natural, I want to spare her from looking back at her past self and cringing if I can help it. Being trans, she’ll probably experience that enough already. I just want to share with her some of the things I learned the hard way, and she seems to genuinely appreciate the lessons.
At first, I gave her a shade of foundation and concealer and blush that were too light for me, thinking they would work because she’s much more fair-skinned than I am. But it turned out that even that was still a shade or two too dark for her, so I ordered some in a lighter shade and am going to pick it up tomorrow so she won’t have to wait for it to be shipped. Wearing makeup seems to give her more confidence and I don’t want to delay that any further.
I also ordered some more clothes for her because I don’t want her to have to be cycling through the same three outfits. I was really clear to solicit her input about everything I ordered to make sure she really liked it and I ordered from stores geared towards women her age. If any of it gets here and she doesn’t like the way she looks in it, we’ll return it. I just want her to feel as good about herself as possible.
In that regard, I also feel like my mom failed me, though I don’t really hold a grudge anymore. But my mom always chose my clothes based on what she liked, maybe giving me a choice between two things she liked and telling me to pick one (when the truth was often that I didn’t like either, but I didn’t feel free to say so.) We always shopped together at stores that catered to older women her age, which had very few things that appealed to a teenager. Maybe that’s why I can relate somewhat to the dysphoria caused by not wearing clothes that really reflect you.
My daughter has decided that she thinks a different name suits her more than Autumn does and I know what name she’s considering, but she wants to sleep on it a few more days to be sure it feels right.
In all, I see a new confidence emerging in her gradually, as she realizes that the transformation she seeks is really possible. I just think it’s so lovely to watch her blossoming and I’m so honored that she’s allowing me to be a part of it.