Skin Journey

Nails done, hair done, everything did?

…my secret obsession with Drake?…sadly no

So I was at a loss for what to write about, as I’ve just been going through the motions and with a recent aggressive flare up, I’m currently not in the best head space. Then it came to me.

Makeup.

When it comes to makeup, I’ve never been fully invested or committed to it. Not for any other reason than simply not being bothered enough. There’s no conviction or deep seated reason for my position on it, neither for nor against. I have an appreciation for it but my nonchalance is a somewhat luxury, which I’ve been made aware of by my sister, a makeup enthusiast from an early age. My relaxed and almost dismissive attitude goes beyond a lack of interest but is evident in my daily life and with how I present myself. Being blessed with ‘good skin’, on my face, that is unproblematic and not acne prone, has allowed me to successfully exist and conduct life comfortably without any push back, that would in turn probably steer me towards a more vested interest in makeup.  From work to dating life, my bare face has never drawn negative attention or enthused a conversation around makeup. I was just labelled, whether directly or subconsciously, as the friend/colleague that didn’t need or wear it, and inadvertently I was the spokeswoman and advocate for ‘natural beauty’. Both of which were untrue. Then if on the odd chance a conversation around makeup did arise and I was drawn out as a spectacle, I’d fervently defend my ‘nonchalant’ position. However, besides getting my face made-up by my sister for specific ‘special occasions’, where it would be offensive to the status and nature of the event, I never wore, let alone owned a makeup item. 

Fast forward to now, where the world has been locked up for close to a year, life has moved at a slower pace. A concept foreign to our modern western world. There’s a lull or more free time, call it what you will. There is an evident change in the pace of our lives that has exposed what was once perceived as the ‘norm’, as is in fact, a lie. The world can continue and function at a slower, less intense rate successfully. Rather than the exploitative fashion of life we’ve been indoctrinated into and subjected to – capitalism is a no.

With all this, at the end of last year I decided to leave my job to pursue endeavours more in line with my degree and ultimate passion. Something that I’d unsuccessfully been battling with as the opportunity to step into my ‘career’ hadn’t arisen. Nothing had become of the efforts I made in my downtime either. This new direction released me of my commitment to work and its unliveable routine. A vicious cycle of leaving at the crack of dawn, a 12 hour day due to a ridiculous commute, a strenuous role, both mentally and physically, in a very hands-on work environment. This left me with little to no time for myself. So not only was I not living, I was barely surviving. All of which are excellent ingredients to exacerbate my long term aggressive chronic illness, which affects my skin and my insides. Prioritising the pursuit of opportunities in line with my interests, provided me a much needed break.  

The expression ‘a healthy mind is a healthy body’ never rang truer.  

From there, my new love and understanding of makeup was birthed. With the encouragement  and practical help of my sister, a credited and skilful makeup enthusiast, combined with my newfound commitment; a new awakening was born. I discovered a connection I hadn’t experienced before. With the backdrop of the pandemic, the time to recentre my health and my worsening condition, everything just began to make more sense. Makeup made me feel good. Contrary to its perception as frivolous and superficial. It resonated deeply with me. Using it when I felt my lowest, challenged by my skin condition, helped me to feel good about myself and less like a failure, or that my body was letting me down. 

My sister’s teaching and nurturing focused on highlighting personal beauty. An area of constant contention that I struggle with. A feeling of otherness that the very nature of fashion and clothing draws out. Whereas makeup met me where I was and used my body to create beauty. It didn’t focus on what I was lacking but married products, technique and my face to again…create something beautiful…that I was proud of. 

I wasn’t ‘hiding’ – another concept faithful to fashion, where only careful and skilful technique could curate looks that make you feel good about your body and self. 

Again only achievable by those blessed by the fashion gods and also fortunate enough to have a decent steady income with ample disposable income. As the ever changing nature of fashion would have it there is deliberate exclusiveness, where one can never quite be in tune with the latest trend. This keeps most of us regular folk outside of it altogether. Unlike purchasing makeup proves to be a more of long term investment – a win for all parties.

This ‘thing’ that I had never given any interest, had provided me with an outlet to express myself, feel beautiful, and somewhat worthy or valued by myself for myself. Separate to the positive affirmations of a third party. I was proud of what I saw, and that feeling radiated throughout. My usual damning thoughts that plague me, seized for a moment. I subconsciously started to think better of myself and not be constantly weighed down by my lack. The moments become longer still, as the thoughts start to take root. 

The expression ‘a healthy mind is a healthy body’ never rang truer.  

I am forever grateful to my sister for teaching and showing me the cathartic beauty that is makeup, and as I continue to learn and grow, so does my understanding of personal health and wellbeing and the need for it in all areas of life, no matter how seemingly irrelevant. 

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