Monday, February 27, 2012

Because It Is Important

Normally, my skin crawls at the idea of putting my face on my blog. This was important though.

And trust me, it was a lot harder than you might think. It was a HELL of a lot harder than I anticipated!

I don't normally think much about my face, because (as they say) I am behind it. I don't have to look at it all day, you know? but for this, for this Barefaced and Beautiful campaign... well, things just really came together. I'll ess'plain.

Recently, I went out to see some friends and I did put on a little touch of concealer here, a little swipe of powder there, some color on the eyelids, a hint of mascara, you know... the basics. Nothing even remotely noticeable to anyone but me. By the end of the night, and even though I use the most basic, hypoallergenic products I can get my paws on, my face felt hot and itchy and within about three days I had a fresh bloom of horrible red blotches and squidgy red spots all over.

Now, honestly, it wasn't like a highschool level "all over" but for a girl in her thrities, it's CLOSE ENOUGH.

So today was hard. I had to really convince myself that it was okay to go without makeup today. And I did. And it was. Not a soul noticed or said anything. Or if they did notice my blotchy red face, everyone was far too polite to say anything about it. I smiled at people, and they smiled back. I said "good morning" to people, and they said it back. I had lunch in the sun, with two people I had just met (at an INTERVIEW of all things) and we had a lovely time and not a single soul stood before me covering her mouth and pointing at me and screeching "DEAR GOD KILL IT WITH FIRE!"

I was horribly self-aware the whole time. Nobody knew the difference though. And where does that leave me? Even ten years ago, regardless of others' reactions, I'd have felt a flush of shame and guilt. I'd have been laced with nuanced little discussions in my head about how my pathetic skin quality and that horrible, humiliating double chin made me look like a poochy, diseased yokel with bad teeth and stupid squity eyes. I'd have listened to those discussions, too, like recorded tapes in my head. Over and over it would have played.

"Look at all those lines!" it would say, that tape in my head. "Look at those fatty-splatty eye pillows and your stupid soccerball cheeks that make you look more like a swollen appledoll than a normal human person!" it would moan.

And it still plays. And I can still hear it. And it's hard to ignore.

Really, really hard.

It's no surprise to any of you that I've dealt with self confidence issues from just about twenty seconds after the conclusion of my twelfth birthday party.

Doing this today was important to me. Going out in public, warts and all, blotches and curves and backfat and too-long legs and too-short torso and my twee little neck struggling under the weight of the ponderous boulder of cranium that balances precariously above it... taking the entire unmasked sideshow that is yours truly out into the fresh air today was a big deal.

The only cosmetic changes I'd have made, admittedly, would have been miniscule. Would likely not have made a difference. Except to me.

Maybe, for the healthiest of us... emotionally speaking... makeup is just that little white lie we tell ourselves. It's that little "okay, NOW you're good" lie we tell ourselves to get out the door and face those judgements and staring eyes that we KNOW we are imagining all day long.

Most of my friends don't use a lot of cosmetics. I'm so honored to be surrounded by so many strong, powerful women. Not a bad one in the bunch. Not even you crazy ones. Of my friends that do use makeup daily, they're absolutely using it as a means of accentuating their favorite features, and NOT in anyway trying to mask their imagined flaws.

We all hear the tapes in our heads. We all hear that voice that says "you can't cut it, Jack." We all know, on some level, that some day someone is going to find us out for the frauds that we are.

Doing this though, on a red and splotchy day like today... added another voice to the tape. This voice says "so what if you can't cut it, honey? who out there really can?" It says "So you're not a supermodel. Neither is anyone except for the %.000000000002 percent of the human population that IS a supermodel. and even SUPERMODELS don't like the way they look."

It says "so what?" and it took 36 years to hear it. Plus today.

And then right behind that voice is a verrrrrry soft and quiet one.
and it says "I'm proud of you baby."

And I like that voice a lot.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I used to wear make-up in high school (a little, and only after attending a modeling course to learn how to put it on properly).. and a little in college. .. for me, at that time, it was about feeling and looking good. It was about attracting a future mate. ... Then I started wearing less.. .and less... and nothing happened. I didn't melt, I didn't turn into a frog, I just felt BETTER! .. Why? Because you can only conceal who you are on the outside. Make-up may fool those who don't know you, or even those who think they know you, but you are still you underneath.

I find I can no longer wear make-up. Sometimes it would be nice to add a little skin-tone to my pink-toned eyelids... but, to wear make-up will make my eyes red and itchy. The crap chemicals inside make-up apparently don't agree with my skin. I am who I am. If people can't like me for me, then they aren't worth my friendship- and this is what real beauty is about: knowing who you are, and not caring what others think of you..its empowering to go make-up free, and know that it suits me just fine.

That said, I think women would be unfairly judged at the senior management level if they came in without make-up for a job interview. The problem is that society has been trained to think "make-up makes a woman beautiful and look more confident", when really it's not true. Women may feel more confident-but that, personally, is a mask of insecurity. Not that women who wear make-up are insecure, but that's the projected image society brings -- hide your insecurity with our concoction of toxic chemicals that we don't have to list because FDA doesn't require us to list toxic chemicals...

It's malicious advertising (make-up ads), as far as I'm concerned, and does nothing to help young women feel good about being themselves. They always have to try and be someone they aren't -- especially at the middle school/high school level when it's all about trying to fit in. I think it's a shame that Hollywood feeds this folly. I think more female stars should come out and be true positive role models--by NOT hiding their imperfections.