SOL 22: letting my skin breathe

In May 2007, my mom, sister, and not yet year old nephew snuck away to Florida for a long weekend. I called in sick to a job I was leaving at the end of the year and we just enjoyed some time in the sun. It was so great to play hooky.

We went to the pool every day, shopped and so many dinners at touristy restaurants. I can remember exactly 2 times that we ever did this. In the Spring of 2007 and before that we all went away in February of 2005. That time it was both of my sisters and no babies. We went to Galena and had a spa weekend. I don’t know why we didn’t do this more often but I sure wish we did.

Anyway, while in Florida, my mom had decided to let her face “breathe”. She didn’t wear makeup the entire time we were there. For months…even years later…when she wasn’t wearing makeup, she would fall back on the letting her skin breathe excuse. It was funny to all of us—like a little side joke. Actually—she pretty much stopped wearing makeup entirely after that trip except for the occasional special event. She had amazing skin thanks to genetics and could 100% rock a bare face.

I think that at this time, she was still working. I remember her getting some test results back that where pretty unusual while we were eating ice cream by some dock. I had completely forgotten about this part until right now. We had no idea what the results meant but I know we ended up taking her to Mayo Clinic in the fall of 2008. It was pretty significant. Makeup was probably the last thing on her mind.

Over the last six weeks, I have been letting my own skin breathe. It started with a stubborn stye in my right eye. That thing wouldn’t go away. Or it would pop up in a new place a day or two later. I blame my grimy 19 month old who loves to put his hands in his mouth, floor, shoes, garbage and any other place he can fit them and then explore my face. After throwing out my makeup multiple times, until I decided I would just let my skin breathe until I was sure it was gone. But once my eye didn’t look like I lost a boxing match, I realized I liked the ease of my new morning routine. I loved being able to run out the door taking just a brush to my hair and teeth. Separate brushes of course.

But if I really admit it, I was in a funk. I’m not sure why. Just lots of different shit piling up on the shit below it. Multiply that with many nights of sleep deprivation and you have yourself a bit of a [depression] funk. Today I woke up, showered, dried my hair, and then tossed on a little makeup. I had to open a new mascara, eyeliner, and makeup sponge. I had thrown out all my makeup brushes a few weeks ago anyway so it was a good time to use the beautiful set I got as a gift from my SIL for Christmas.

It felt good. I felt less…funky. Looking back in time and thinking of all that was going on in my mom’s life when she started to “let her skin breathe,” I can see maybe she was in a similar funk. No one would blame her. There were a lot of unknowns. There still are a lot of unknowns about her last years with us. Things we will probably never have answers to regarding her health.

I wish I could go back to that time in Florida in the sun or to Galena for a spa weekend with just the girls. We would have to add a bunch more now if we were including the grand daughters and daughter-in-law that weren’t yet twinkles in eyes of her children. What fun we would have as a group of loud boisterous McKenna ladies.

I am writing for the 15th annual Slice of Life challenge presented by Two Writing Teachers.


  1. I started ‘letting my skin breathe’ when I had to wear a mask all day every day at work. I hated how my face felt with make-up constantly rubbing against the mask. So I stopped wearing make-up. When I was finally able to take the mask off at work I forgot to put make-up on that first day. I was out of the habit. I decided to stay out of the habit and still don’t wear it.


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