Lipstick and loose powder, those were the two make-up staples that she always had on. I would see her swipe a bright red lipstick and put a powder (possibly from Avon) on. I never thought anything about it and wasn’t to keen on following suit. However, these all changed this year.
As I grew older, more and more people had told me that I looked like my grandma. I was even mistaken a couple of times as her daughter! We both have the same curly hair and wide nose that is distinctive from the side of her family. I was never offended though. I actually felt proud about it and felt like I had something big in common with my grandma. She was the person who taught me the basics of taking care of my appearance. She would always make sure that I always wore a clean uniform and appeared presentable. Even for herself, she always made sure that her clothes were properly pressed and her hair was on point. She wasn’t vain but she did care about how she presented herself.
Her red lips were always a staple on wherever she goes. Party? School? Funeral? She’s on it. I used to take some of her lipstick and put it on mine. I got red lips now, just like her. She never approved though. Apparently, I was always too young for it. I was only allowed to wear some make-up during parties and when I reached college.
One of the things that my aunt told me as she tried to comfort me was, “You look like just Nanay”. Those words were enough to make me bawl my heart out. Everytime I would lool at the mirror, all I could think of was my grandma looking back at me. I would touch my curly hair and remember those times when she still had long hair and she would brush her hair after she brushed mine. She would put mine and hers in sleek ponytail, our go to hairstyle.
Now, a few months later, I could look into my reflection and not cry anymore. But the ache I have towards my grandma still lingers. I still wanted to feel a part of her in my daily life. And that’s why I started using lipsticks, the red-coloured ones specifically.
Today was the first day that I’ve finally put on lipstick again after many months. A lot of my co-workers probably felt weirded out about it but that’s okay. This was about me and how I felt. This was one of the few things that I could connect to my grandma and I’ll be damned if I loose that connection.