Sorry this post is so late, time got away from me today. Anyway, yesterday I spoke about the wee breakthrough I had regarding wearing makeup and today I'm looking at where that pressure has come from. Firstly, I love makeup. I love playing with it, applying it, buying it, just looking at it. I can remember being so excited when I was younger and my parents let me order from Yves Rocher (which became an extremely regular thing) and that anticipation of waiting for the order and opening that huge box to see what lotions and perfumes and makeup items were inside. I'm no psychologist, but I had grown up with two stunning sisters and always felt like "the ugly one" in comparison. I was the odd one out, the one with freckles, the one with glasses, the one with mousey, wavy hair, the one with small eyes. They were beautiful and cute (respectively) and I was the weird one. So wearing makeup, changing my hairstyle (constantly) and even the clothes, not only reflected me as a person (like I say, I do love beauty and fashion), but it was a way to make myself feel and look 'prettier'. Makeup is a powerful tool at enhancing beauty and can also mask (a little) those parts you aren't so fond of. I wouldn't go anywhere near saying I was trying to be somebody else or not being "me", I just loved getting dressed up and expressing myself that way.
Though that comes at a price, because everyone then expects it of you, all the time. My friends at school would bet on what my hair would look like that day, so I had to do something different or better each day. Random people have stopped me to tell me how much they admire the way I dress or my hair or shoes. The old ladies at church used to love me walking up the aisle to get the hymn books, because it was like a wee catwalk where they could see what I was wearing. Complete strangers know me as 'the girl with the shoes' or 'coloured hair' or 'fancy outfits', so they expect me to 'dazzle' them each time I see them, even when I don't know I'm making this impression on them. Look even at physio now, they actually phone other staff members up to come and see my shoes! I have to wear a different pair each time and just last week the receptionist told me it's the highlight of their week, when I come in. I actually think that's really sweet that something as simple as shoes can evoke that in strangers and I do enjoy it, I genuinely do. There's no doubt, it's a huge pressure though. One that's become all the larger because I've felt the need to keep it up, even over the past 13 years of illness.
I mean that sounds ridiculous when I type it, that I'm ill, every single day, yet still feel pressure to look a certain way. The message I get though is it's expected of me. On the few occasions I've not made an effort or worn makeup, friends have looked at me like I'm dying. Seriously! When I went to my best friends house on her wedding day to get my makeup done, she laughed and said "she forgot what I looked like without makeup" and couldn't stop staring at me (making me feel hugely self conscious). When I was extremely hungover with only a couple of hours sleep and had a 2 hour lecture at 9am (seriously who thought that was a good idea on a Friday?), I rushed into Uni with clothes thrown on and no makeup and a girl from my class told my flatmates (who weren't even in our class) that she'd never seen me look anything less than perfect and that I must be really ill. When I first fell ill and my old flatmates came to visit, they've still never gotten over the shock of how 'terrible' I looked and refer to it even now (13 years on), with the notion that I must be feeling "much better than back then, because you looked terrible". Ok, I get it, I get it, I look like death without makeup!
Of course the 'sensible' part of my brain wants to protect me and tell all those people to P off for enforcing their opinions of me, on me and making me feel like I had something to be embarrassed about by not being 'perfect' all the time. Do I expect that of my friends? Hell no. Yet, I expect it of myself. There's a fine line between their pressure and my pressure. When did their opinions become my opinion too? Last year when I had hospital appointments, I was honestly embarrassed at people making a fuss of my lovely shoes when my hair was a mess and I had no makeup on. Had I gotten away with wearing a paper bag over my head, I'd have sooo done that! So, yes, being able to look my friend in the eye and now go to these appointments without chastising myself for "looking so bad" in the mirror before leaving the house, is massive. I do it without even thinking now. Of course I've had over a year to get used to my face without makeup, so it's been a long and gradual process for me. I thought doing these posts would be harder than it's been, but I'm kinda proud of myself for just going for it and trying to make a difference, not just for myself but everyone. Nobody should feel 'forced' into keeping up appearances and backed into that corner where they can't be less than perfect. I figure if I can do it, with all that pressure I've had, then anyone can. See you tomorrow x
Day 19 #BeRealMarch