Johnny’s World: Make-Up

September 26, 2013 9:46 AM10 comments

jworldThere’s something about the first time you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning that is so revealing. It isn’t something you necessarily think of as you’re staring at the wombat/black-eyed ghost creature that peers droopy eyed back at you after one too many “snoozes” on your alarm clock. What I’m talking about is the moment when you stare yourself down and decide what lies you’ll live that day. It’s a topic that doesn’t get much attention in your day to day, because lying is a sin, but even on the best of days, I think it’s safe to say we lie to ourselves at times and those lies beget more lies we tell to the outside world.

As a defender of all that is true and good even if unpopular, I unfortunately catch myself in this day-to-day possibility of lying. As I slap on the first coat of moisturizer I wonder what I can wear to minimize the weight I’ve gained over the past couple of months. The concealer comes next, and with that gentle middle-finger tap of application over a blemish that evilly brewed itself overnight, I realize that I’m tricking the world into thinking I have perfect skin by the construction of a small, clay mountain. When the first spritz of fragrance hits my wrists pressure points I wonder how to not only conceal my natural scent, but also how to fool the world into seeing me as happy and confident when I am miserable.

I know, I know, this seems super heavy and depressing so far, but it is absolutely true. There are little white lies that happen in everyone’s lives and if you don’t agree, I don’t believe you. Covering up the bad or unsavory is something I’ve become well versed in throughout my life. “No mama, the cat totally opened the door to let that fly in the house.” Even at a young age I learned that a lot of skaters use heaps of chiffon and organza to cover up bad body lines. I learned in tough times, that it may be easier to blame a failed performance or a bad test grade on the weather or having a bad aura color that day.

As I became more followed and well known, I learned that when you have bad or sad news to break you have to do it thoughtfully, and with process. You have to omit or lie to conceal the truth to the people who don’t know you personally, yet know you quite intimately, just until you’re ready, and while that may seem understandable, it’s still a lie that you must live with on a daily basis until the news can splash forth from your swollen eyes and puffy, reddened face.

There is a certain taste of propaganda that we all use when dealing with different people. The overbearing grandmother gets to know that you are working three prestigious jobs who all want you for your wisdom and work ethic and you make over five million a year, when in fact, you’re another one of America’s unemployed.

When you’re hanging out with your girlfriends and they hate your boyfriend, but you love him until proven otherwise, you have to omit certain character traits or situations regarding said boyfriend just to make them shut up. You have to slightly alter the course of the barrage of insults you accept on your boyfriend’s behalf just to allow yourself to make your own decision regarding your relationship. Propaganda is yet another method of concealing what is true in this world.

I am someone who speaks from the heart 95% of the time, however, there are moments when I have to omit, fluff, conceal or propaganda the hell out of things. I assume most of you reading consider yourselves quite the straight shooter as well, but think about the amount of times this week when someone asked “how are you?” and you said “good” just to end the conversation when in actuality, you felt horrible. These little lies are life’s make-up and while necessary at times, they are exhausting. Starting with myself, I vow to speak from the heart, not the mind, and I’m washing off the make-up. Who’s with me?

  • jenn k

    Loving your recent columns. Looking yourself in the eye in the mirror is never easy. Thanks for sharing the process. I’ve always admired your ability to remain open and vulnerable in the face of the intense scrutiny you’ve received throughout your career. Bravo for continuing, both your self-examination and your sharing.

    PS Clay mountain notwithstanding, you have beautiful skin!

  • MeredithMiner

    It”s making me unbelievably sad to read this, but… I know you’ll get through this and much more like you’ve always done. You did however just make me feel like it’s okay to feel miserable when in fact I don’t act like it. Good to know I’m not the only one putting on the mask, both physically and mentally.
    I’m sure it’s overwhelming and at times a huge pain in the ass to live up to it, but, you’re loved – whether it be shallow adoration for your outfits and pretty face, or deep
    un-penetrable love like you’re given by your husband and family. We’re with you.

  • Puma J

    I’m with you:-) No worries.

  • Beatrix Zenk

    You make me think, Johnny. I love your latest columns.

    Before I continue to rant on, I will stop right now.

    Still, I am with you.

  • Lady Lisa

    I guess my foundation is a little bottle of lies I open everyday!
    It’s true, we ALL have to gloss over the truth, and you’re right when you say it’s exhausting. I have a family friend who was recently saying how his knees were hurting him badly, and he “just can’t think of what he did to hurt himself”, and I ever so sweetly glossed over it and suggested he try a certain pain medication, but what I really wanted to say was to “loose fifty pounds because all that extra weight is hard on your joints”. Because I know if I say anything from my heart in this situation, it will only come back to bite me, that’s just how life goes sometimes, sadly. Johnny I admire the way you speak from your heart, because I know this usually means more work, and not less. One thing I’ve learned, not matter how much make-up I’ve ever worn, or how much glossing over the facts I’ve ever tried my hand at, I’ve learned you’re never going to please everybody, and you know what, that’s okay, as long as I’ve done my absolute best at something and I try to be fair with everybody, that’s all I can do.

    Johnny, I’m sad (and in tears) that it doesn’t look like you’ll be competing in Sochi, but this column is not the place to write about that.

  • Sariel Gv

    Me! Lets do it!!

  • TJ

    I’m with you:)!!!

    Must say I feel like such a monster because the first thing I thought when I finished the article wasn’t “Damn, poor guy,” but “Wow, beautiful writing!”:/ I love this piece – it’s deep, it’s funny (love the cat line – so cute); it’s thought provoking – I also love the use of the word ‘propaganda’. I’d never thought of it that way before, but we do individually propagandize on a daily basis don’t we? And I love the spirit of direct honesty in an article about lying, too;) Just beautiful.

    But getting back to me being a monster again (thank god there are so many *nice* people and replies on this page to make up for me <3)… I don’t know if it’s the busybody fan in me or the or the wannabe creative writing student or actually some semblance of an empathetic human being… But this article really makes me want to know what he is sad *about*:/ I can totally identify with that feeling he is describing.

    For the record I like to think for the important things in life I do tell the truth (well, most of the time… Okay eventually… Hmm:/….). But for the “little things” – makeup, Spanx, “The cat did it” – I admit I am a pathological ‘propagandizer’ of *note*.

    Thank you for the excellent article Johnny Weir!! I hope you feel better and I’m so sorry about whatever is getting you down. Don’t worry, it will be okay!!! Promise!!!

    And for the record… The only thing more beautiful than Johnny Weir's writing (and skating for that matter)… Is his face:)!!! You don’t need makeup anyways; you’re gorgeous:)!!!

  • Mimi Dzyacky

    Me…so true and no matter what be you! Will always always LOVE LOVE you Johnny Weir-Voronov! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • Ida Helene Aspenes

    I’m with you. Definitely. I don’t wear make-up on a daily basis, but of course; the public doesn’t notice me in the same way it notices you. But yes…. Being polite often takes priority over being honest with oneself. And that’s bad.

  • teasingmecrazy

    I’ve never been good at putting on the make-up. Although I’m very tempted to try at times. You can’t deny that in a culture of non-deep-thinkers, the make-up and lies really are rewarded. I like to think of it as survival skills for whatever environment you’re in. It doesn’t necessarily make you a good or bad person – just human.

    I had a conversation with co-workers the other day in which they were surprised to find out that on weekends I sometimes wear camo, enjoy camping, and my entire family is solidly blue collar. I don’t intentionally hide these things, but they rarely come up in the office. Did it change their perceptions of my intelligence and ability?

    If you’re ready to wash off the make-up, I support you 100%.

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