Letting myself go? Are you kidding me?

If you’ve been following this blog then you know I have suffered with acne for a very long time. I always made this promise to God that if He cleared my skin, I would only wear make up on special occasions. Just some background on this blog, I started wearing makeup when I was 15 to start hiding scarring left from picking at pimples. I’ll never forget stealing my mother’s M.A.C foundation powder and putting it over my scarring and boom! Just like magic, the scarring was gone. That was the day I discovered full coverage and I never went back. It was like this magic coat I could put on every day that would let me be normal and not be so self-conscious.  I also started working when I was 15 so I could afford to invest in my own foundation and that’s how my makeup journey started.

Last year I came up with a skin routine that cleared my skin like crazy! And true to my promise to God, I stopped wearing makeup. I went from wearing a full face every single day to nothing at all. It was such a liberating phase in my life. I expected people in my life to be taken back by my sudden Alicia Keys philosophy but the kind of reactions I received were nothing but heart breaking. I can’t tell you how many times I was told or gently pulled aside to be told that I was losing myself. For those of you who don’t know, “letting yourself go” is a passive aggressive term people use to tell you that you are dropping your personal standard or that you aren’t as kept as you once were.

For the first time since I was 15 I was completely comfortable with being myself bare face in front of people. For the first time I wasn’t trying to keep up to an unrealistic standard I had created, I wasn’t waking up two hours earlier to bake my face and for the first time I wasn’t giving a fuck! This year I fell in love with myself. For the first time in a long time I wasn’t falling in love or getting over someone. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t self-medicating with cigarettes and bottles of wine.  I dedicated a whole year to healing, growing and going for my dreams. I’ve accomplished so much and taken everyone by surprise but despite all my accomplishments all people could only see a bare face that needed a contour to prove she was winning at life.

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My bare face made people uneasy because vulnerability is an uncomfortable emotion. I don’t know when a full face of makeup became a symbol of having your life together. To be really honest, all the times when people saw me ‘beat to the Gods’ were the very same times I was at the peak of my depression. When I hadn’t left my res room for two days and was living for cigarettes and sleep. I was so good at hiding the mess with foundation and lashes. I wore make up evey.single.day of varsity. Whether I had one lecture or just a tutorial, my foundation never stayed at home. This year I just couldn’t keep with my own standard and I had to take off the mask. Letting people see me and truly see me for who I am!  Hyper-pigmentation and all. My bare face was a symbol of liberation.

I was not losing myself in any sense but instead I was actually finding myself in a world that had tried to tell me that scars and imperfections are unacceptable. This made me realise that we need to more supportive of our loved ones when they aren’t being who we expect them to be. Let me elaborate, if someone you’ve known for years decides not to be that person anymore your job is to adjust and adapt and not hold them hostage to your idea of them. Stop telling people that they are losing themselves but instead help them to find their new identity.

Life is personal experience and it’s important that we encourage people we know to become people they are happy with. If wearing make up every day is your thing that makes you happy then do it but don’t make the next person feel less for ditching the mascara. Working out makes me happy but it does nothing for some of my friends but that doesn’t make them any less happy or kept. If you have someone in your life right now who is acting out of character, your job is to sit down with them and LISTEN. Don’t be so quick to judge the quality of people’s lives by their exterior.  A few extra kilos might mean a new dose of self-love, quitting a high paying job may mean peace of mind and a bare face all week long might just mean that there is nothing to hide anymore.

With love, Nollie!

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