Saturday, 21 March 2015

Day 20 #BeRealMarch

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. BeRealMarch selfie

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

#BeRealMarch information

Day 19 #BeRealMarch

8 comments :

  1. It's interesting, isn't it, what peoples' expectations can do to you. In the past when things like this have happened to me, I've been pretty mad too. I feel like it's really indelicate when people say, "Oh, wow, no make up today?"
    And then there are so many women, at least in my family, who will tell you that they literally can't go out without makeup. Or that they look hideous without it. That's a terrible thing for someone to say! I don't want to go through life feeling like that; I don't have words to express how sad that makes me when a woman says something like that. I'm really glad that you don't feel that way and that you've stated it publicly.

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    1. I sort of feel like I'm coming across as anti-makeup here, but that's not the case! I wear it on the weekend for fun (i.e. when I'm not at work). I even do "natural" makeup for job interviews or very important meetings because it's "the look". I just hate how much pressure is put on women to look good AT ALL TIMES and how much we get the message that what's most important for us is being nice to look at.

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    2. Exactly and I wouldn't dare say that to someone else, but so many people have said negative things if I don't wear makeup. So I've just had it instilled in me, that I need makeup to look good. It's the way I've thought for years and years and I agree, it makes me sad that society or the people around me, have made me feel like that.

      Absolutely. I think some people mistook that as my opinion when I started this, but I love makeup and the fancy clothes and shoes and would love to get back to it, but I just don't think we should feel forced into it. Or that we should be made to feel like we've "let ourselves go" if we are less than perfect at some point. That's why I feel us bloggers are just perpetrating that cycle and further enforcing that anything less than perfect isn't 'good enough' when all of our posts and social media pictures are carefully edited and selected. That's why we need to break it up (not every day, but just once in a while) with something NOT 100% perfect or people are going to start thinking we are unrelatable and super-human!

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    3. I think you're so right. Posting no makeup pictures is so bold and refreshing. Thanks for this.

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  2. Well, I am very glad that you feel able to go without the makeup and not feel under pressure. It's not good to feel that so I'm glad it has become apparent. For the record, I think you look great without it. X x

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    1. I'm hoping it's a turning point and not something I go back on, once I do start wearing makeup and clothes again more regularly. It's years of feeling like I NEED makeup to be pretty, instilled in my brain, so I suspect that's not a quick or easy process to un-do. Thank you x

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  3. I totally get what your saying but I also think that when people comment and admire your shoes it's not to put pressure on you but rather that they are genuinely trying to be nice and they want to connect to you so they comment on something that is obviously something important to you.

    I have no problems with comments as these about shoes or hair or tattoos if the people are genuine and aren't creepy. Comments from sleazy guys, no thank you. :)

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    1. I think it's great too...but I feel there is a certain expectation of me, that they expect me to be slammin' every time I see them, which is hard to keep up.

      I think I'd be naive to assume nobody (friends or otherwise) will stop mentioning the fact I'm not wearing makeup etc, but I suppose I just have to try and not let it bother me and perhaps over time they'll get used to it.

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