Monday, October 6, 2014

A Week Without Makeup


I started wearing makeup in 7th grade.  I didn't wear much, but I started wearing "just a little powder" and the occasional lipstick/gloss. This was the same year that I started shaving my legs, despite my mom's protests, and despite having virtually no hair on them. I was grown up--or, at least, I felt that way, in a way I hadn't felt since I used to clop around in those little plastic heels you can find in the toy aisle, always marching on tile, pretending I was my mom, and going to an important meeting.  Now, I don't really wear heels (and I actually don't think I've been to an important meeting, either), but the makeup stuck.

I still don't wear very much--I don't cake it on, and much to the chagrin of every Sephora employee I've encountered, I don't want makeup that "gives me a little color."  Usually, I stick with the old 7th grade standby: "a little powder." Nowadays, I pair that with a bit of blush, maybe some mascara if I'm wearing my contacts (a rarity these days, since I've been having ocular problems when I wear them).  It is an even rarer occasion that I will put eyeshadow/liner on, though I do have various shades tucked under my sink.

But, despite the fact that I really do wear very little makeup, it's come to my attention recently that I feel like I need it.  If I am not wearing makeup, I feel self-conscious about it.  So, after that realization, I decided to go a week without makeup, and post the results on my blog. 

More or less, this was me for the week:
Me, sans makeup, X-Large for all the world/readers of this blog to see.

Sunday: Day One.  This was a lazy day, filled with light cleaning, Netflix marathons, and trimming up Cash to look like a pretty boy. Tom and I went out to dinner, and then we went to a movie.  This wasn't that much of a stretch for me--there are days when I do go without makeup (or use just what is leftover on my brush from the last application), and Sundays are typically pretty good candidates for this.  So, I didn't really experience any problems with this on my lazy Sunday.

Monday: Day Two. I was actually really nervous to go into work for the first time EVER (save the occasional Sunday, when I don't put any on and have to come in to work) without makeup on. Since I wasn't telling anyone what I was doing, I kept waiting for someone to mention it to me--to tell me how tired I looked, or that I looked different, or something like that.  Alas, no one did.  I kept going into the bathroom, however, to gaze at myself--I was really self conscious, and kept trying to stay out of the fluorescent lighting as much as possible.  I also became suddenly obsessed with my oil levels, and kept checking those in the bathroom mirror as well.

Tuesday: Day Three.  I didn't have quite as much anxiety about it as I did on Monday, but I was still super self-conscious, and I was certain people were looking at me and thinking I looked terrible. Several trips to the bathroom were made, and I had to keep myself from putting on a little concealer (unfortunately, even though I am 28 damn years old, I still suffer from breakouts). I held back, though, and made it through.

Wednesday: Day Four. Better known as The Day From Hell. This was one of the worst days I've had in a long time-- Murphy's Law was in full effect.  I still stuck to my word and didn't put a stitch of makeup on my face. Overall, it was relatively easier, although I still found myself thinking irrational thoughts--that things wouldn't have happened to me the way they did on The Day From Hell if I had been wearing makeup, or if I would have been "prettier." I also had a meeting at work and felt really self-conscious, and really thankful that the lighting was dim.

Thursday: Day Five.  I hardly noticed it this day, truly. Occasionally I would notice when washing my hands and looking in the mirror and thinking 'I don't look that bad.'

Friday: Day Six. Again, I hardly noticed-- and Thursday & Friday I really appreciated how little time it took me to get ready in the morning. It doesn't take me too long to put on my makeup, but it was nice to not have to spend the extra few minutes.  Then, it was time to take the picture--and I got freaked out and annoyed all over again, ashamed of the way I look.  Truth be told, I even thought of taking a picture with a little bit of makeup on and lying about it. But, then I just thought 'screw it,' I've come this far--so, there's the picture up there. Me, completely and totally without a stitch of makeup on. That's my 'screw it, I've come this far' face. Enjoy.

Saturday: Day Seven.  I didn't end up doing it on Saturday. I went to look at wedding dresses, and I'm already rather annoyed at my girth lately, so I decided to go ahead and wear makeup. So, not quite a week. Oh well, close enough. (And I went without makeup Sunday to make up for it).

What I learned: I learned a lot, actually.  I learned that I'm pretty dependent on makeup-- I learned that I can be okay without this odd little barrier between my face and the world, even if I have to work at it.  I've learned that I'm braver than I knew--and more self-conscious than I knew (didn't even know that was possible). I learned that people don't really notice, or if they do, they don't say anything, if you're not wearing makeup.  I've learned that everyone is not walking around thinking about how ugly I am and wondering why I don't do something to improve it.

And I learned something totally unexpected: It's okay to wear makeup--it's okay to use makeup to boost your self-confidence every once in awhile.  If a little bit of makeup is what you need to make you feel okay being in the world: go for it! Do I think I want to rely on makeup to feel that way? No.  I want to work on being comfortable in my own, unadulterated skin--I think this week, painful and scary as it was, was a big step toward that goal. Do I want to abandon makeup completely? Absolutely not.  I think I'll stick to makeup free Sundays, with the occasional Saturday thrown in--and I'll try to not be so scared of being seen without makeup by passersby on the street, coworkers, friends, etc.

Letting my face speak for itself (even if I felt it was yelling 'look at me!!!' all the time), was a great exercise for me, and one I think I should practice every now and again.

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