I am not entirely sure how to approach this post. But, one thing I want to include is total honesty. I am always honest on my blog but I don't always expose myself so freely when it comes to personal matters. You could be sitting there wondering why I'm slightly stressing about talking about makeup - well, it's because for me, it's a bit bigger than that.
I think like most things makeup has its pressures linked with it. It seems like we struggle to go bare faced without having to explain why we haven't 'made any effort'. It's true that when I don't wear makeup, it will usually be within the confinements of my own home. Without it I feel a little bit naked. My body is dressed so why isn't my face? Hence, I generally avoid waltzing around with no makeup on my face. I don't really rock the, 'I woke up like this' kind of look. For starters, I am even paler than Queen Elizabeth I back in the days when powdering your face to near transparency was the fashion. Secondly, I get affected by the concerned faces that look my way as they think I'm ill or 'looking tired'. Peeps - this is my face, I'd love some acceptance when it comes to being 'au naturel'. Being a red head, I am naturally quiet pale - I'd like to think that I don't look insanely ghastly because of my complexion. I envy the handful of people who are so confident in their own, natural skin that they can take morning selfies. Being wholeheartedly comfortable with in my skin is something that I am still learning to do.
I come across as a confident person as I've been told by teachers, friends and family. I think that my participation in Drama activities really helped me with my confidence - starting from a young age, presenting myself to other people and just 'letting loose'. Acting is exposure but essentially you are hiding behind the character of another person. Acting taught me how to apply different aspects of a persona and apply them to my own life. I don't mean that I designed my personality (creepy), but with every character I played, I learnt a little something about 'coping', life and what makes someone the person they are. Confidence was one of the things that I learned to apply and develop along with my acting. However, I've always been a mixture of confident and shy. I was at my worst when I was in High School (ages eleven through to fifteen) - never quite getting the balance and overall, being reserved and shy as I experienced changes (hello adolescence).
I suffered with spots, like most teenagers, but mine only seemed to get worse. This is when my interest in makeup really excelled. I wanted to use it to hide my hormonal skin. I think that this can be one of the beauties and flaws of makeup. I never had 'acne' per say, but my skin also went through a really 'rough patch'. I slapped on more and more makeup along the way. Thankfully, my hormones became far more balanced as I waved goodbye to those awkward teenage phases. However, my confidence in my skin remained knocked. I still felt like I needed to be plastering on my 'face paint' to hide my ex-flaws. I took me a while to realise that I no longer needed to hide behind my foundation.
Recently, in hospital, although I was pretty conked out on intense pain medication - one of my worries was my appearance. Call me crazy but I was worried what the nurses and doctors thought about my 'bare face'. Could they see any marks? Did may face look red? - all they wanted was to check my pulse and do some observations. Obviously I was looking ill (no brainer), but a part of me was anxious about my extinct spots. I know it sounds a little bit paranoid but I felt like I needed my makeup - just to feel better. This is when I knew that hiding behind my makeup was a bit of a problem. I was scared of my own skin, despite the fact that it no longer had any major flaws. I was also taken aback when people complimented my skin. Were they being sarcastic?
I don't mean to be insensitive towards people who have serious 'acne'. I haven't ever had major, unshakable spots. So, I'm sorry if my worries seem petty or insignificant in comparisons to people who have worse skin experiences than mine. But, for me, my skin was a major problem growing up and caused my confidence to plummet. I felt an insane pressure to have perfect, glowing skin. I understood that no amount of makeup could achieve that for me. But, I just felt like makeup got me closer to the goal of 'the perfect skin'. Plus, a girl never forgets when a boy points out that her skin looks 'lumpy', pointing and laughing. Although it was many years ago, that comment still dances around in my head. It was the worst stage of my skin and my makeup wasn't hiding it enough. I went home and cried. Then, I punched my laptop keys furiously to find answers - my skin problems needed to go.
A near three years later after that google session, my skin is all clear. Whether it was down to my diet change, the addition of facial products or simply my hormones balancing out as I grew older - I finally had that 'perfect' skin that I'd always wanted. The problem was, I still wasn't confident enough to show it. Makeup had become such a major part of my life. Makeup was my safety harness, the stabilisers for my confidence. In addition, I enjoyed experimenting with my makeup looks. Watching YouTube tutorials and trying out some new routine was fun and I'd come to love it. However, I haven't ever used makeup to look like a different person. I am really bad at 'contouring' and making my 'nose look slimmer' or my 'eyes bigger'. Personally, I am content with my features - it was only my skin that I ever had confidence issues with.
Since coming out of hospital, however, I have worn makeup less and less. I've also started wearing no makeup around friends - something that I hadn't done since I first put foundation on my face and never turned back. No one really noticed my 'skin problems' or if they did they never commented (except for that insignificant boy). They never saw my skin as 'bad' and certainly not ever natural. Now they only see my skin with very few flaws (none of us are 'flawless' unless we are Beyonce - hey Queen Bee). I get comments about how radiant my skin looks makeup-free and how I look no different without makeup. These comments give my confidence a major boost - especially because the comments are unprovoked. They knew nothing about my skin problems in the past, so I knew they weren't complimenting me to make me feel better.
Giving up makeup for a few months wasn't a choice that I made. Being ill forced me to worry about my wellbeing rather than my appearance. I am not self-obsessed, I promise, but I do like to look 'presentable'. Makeup makes me feel more ready for my day. It makes me feel more fresh and less like a Seuss character. But, taking a break from makeup was probably one of the healthiest things that I have done for myself this year.
I think that makeup is awesome. It makes women feel better - giving them a boost of confidence as they have fun with their outfits, hair and makeup (generalisation, I'm aware). But sometimes, women also hate makeup and the pressures of appearance we're put under. Please can we be allowed to look a bit like 'Hagrid' without being shunned? I really don't know how Kim K can be arsed having her 'beauty squad' fussing around her hours before she's exposed to the fresh air.
I depended on makeup to make me feel better, look better and to shake off any insecurities for the time that I had it on. Taking a break from my 'mask' meant that I could really come to love my face with and without makeup. Plus, I suppose I don't look that different, it's still my face! Yes my eyebrows are less prominent and my lashes lack a bit of volume but those are problems of a ginger with fine hair. As far as my skin's concerned - it's nearly glowing.
For years I felt compelled to slap on makeup. For years I missed out on an hour and a half's sleep as I woke up early before school to look the best I could. But now, as 2016 approaches, I hope to greet the years that I can be bare faced in and still be confident. People wear makeup for all sorts of reasons. Thankfully I can say that I no longer wear makeup to hide my skin insecurities - I wear it because I love it. However, I am really glad that my relationship with makeup was 'on a break' for a couple of months. My skin was left to breathe and my confidence was left to grow. I would never have chosen to take a break from makeup if it hadn't been for getting ill. Everything happens for a reason and although I'd like to think that my confidence would have increased gradually and naturally going 'makeup-less', I'm not too convinced. 2015, you have been tough for a copious amount of reasons. But I've learnt to love my skin wholeheartedly and shake off my old, longstanding perceptions of my face. People change, people grow and so do your attitudes and your perception of yourself and others. I know that vanity isn't everything, but, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care about my own.
One of the major things that I learnt last year? Be comfortable in your own skin. Accept your imperfections and learn from them. And it's ok to put down the makeup brush.