“So, since that whole twitter conversation with B and your blog post, this whole MAKE-UP topic has been in the forefront of my mind. Not because make-up itself is a big deal (okay it kinda is b/c it’s fun and I love it) but because of my reaction to those conversations. I sat on the other side of the computer crying. When I was talking with B on twitter, I was crying. When I posted to your blog, I was crying. It wasn’t normal. It wasn’t okay. Clearly something was wrong.So, I’ve put myself to a challenge…. to go with less. Not WITHOUT yet, but less. My goal is to eventually go with the bare minimum…. or even without. I want it to be a lifestyle change for me… not just a goal to meet and then move on from. My feelings and reasons why I wear it are not healthy… and I haven’t even shared the ugliness in my heart of why I love to wear it. :o\Jake and I talked about it a lot actually. I shared with him what I shared in the comments of that post and since then I have seen a change in him about how he compliments me, and it’s been just what I needed to hear to not only have that boost of confidence without the make-up….but for my heart to begin healing from what recently happened between us.Not sure exactly why I’m telling you this, but I know that without those two conversations, I wouldn’t be processing this at all…. because this is a huge heart issue for me…not just a make-up issue. So please, share this with B too? Love you guys.”
That was part of an email at the end of October last year. In one of my posts I talked about some heavy hearted life changing choices God was putting on me. This was it. Through what was happening with Jake and I, the very ugly fact that I was struggling with my self image and self worth came to light. 28 years worth of negative memories about myself came flooding back to me. My friend Brent asked a SIMPLE question on twitter about why women wear make up and I couldn’t answer that question without crying. Why? Because I was in the middle of something life changing and telling MY real answer to that question revealed some very deep parts of myself. So I did what anyone who is scared and ashamed would do….I sugar coated and said I did it b/c it was fun and I felt good wearing it.
Here’s what I didn’t say:
-I wear it because it gives me an identity
-it makes me feel confident and without it I feel worthless
-I can be someone else when I wear it
-I can be prettier than you with it, but without it there is nothing beautiful about me
-if I don’t have makeup on, I can’t argue with my husband. If I look beautiful, I have power over him. If I don’t wear it, he’ll wonder why on earth he’s fighting to save a marriage with someone who looks like me.
-People notice me when I wear it and it makes me feel good and for those brief moments it gives me my self worth.
-etc, etc, etc…..
I could go on and on and on about all the superficial reasons I wore it. The bottom line is that it was always used as a mask. Always. Never to show the real me, never to bring out any real beauty, but always to cover up something. Always. Whether it was to cover up blemishes, or my own self doubt, or whether it was used to change someone’s perspective of me or have them believe things about me I didn’t feel were true. I laugh at this now, at the thought that I could control what someone thought about me based on my makeup. As cliche’ as it sounds, beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder. I know that now more than ever…. and if I don’t see myself as beautiful in my OWN eyes, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Everyone has such a different view of what beauty is.
So after I started realizing these things, God brought back certain memories that triggered some very bad feelings I’d been harboring for years. YEARS. These feelings were playing out in my marriage in a bad way. I was holding on to things that were said to me 15 years ago and projecting them onto my marriage and onto my husband…. and everyone else who looked at me. At this same time I was certain I was getting a divorce. So of course, my natural reaction while feeling threatened was to LOOK MY BEST 24/7. I never let Jake see me “undone” and if by chance he caught me that way I felt shameful. Like I had done something wrong….. like I was weak. Unworthy. God took this time to show me that I would never be able to fix my marriage until I fixed my heart first. So, literally, my marriage was put on the back burner on auto-pilot until I figured out just exactly what God was wanting me to do.
Go without makeup until He said otherwise. I could have died. Seriously. I fought against it with everything in me. This is the very last thing on earth I would ever want to do on my own. EVER. I couldn’t even check the mail without wearing makeup…and forget answering the door to anyone and feel confident about anything. Forget it! No. I wasn’t going to do it.
Funny thing when you go against what God is calling you to do…. you become quite miserable until you comply.
So I did it. Not totally, but enough to be so far out of my comfort zone I cried in public from shear embarrassement. I wore foundation and that was IT. I’m a natural red-head and we aren’t exactly known for our exotic coloring and dark eyelashes. 😆 Top that off with the fact that my body was going through some horrible hormonal issues and I was having the worst skin issues I’d had since I was 12. As far as I was concerned I was in a living hell. I remember one day Jake and I were at counseling, I had on NO makeup. The plan was straight there, straight back. Jake wanted to eat after so we went to Burger King on base. I sat there crying while I ate. I told Jake I felt so ugly and that people would stare at how ugly I was if I turned around. I faced out the window the entire time. I went home and cried. That was a huge hurdle….. because after that, it got easier, and easier, and easier. So much easier in fact that I was able to do just about anything without my makeup on. I still didn’t like it, but it became easier.
I didn’t really tell many people what I was doing or why so I’m sure to some it seemed strange. I know my mom thought it was strange when she came to visit…… since I was allowed to wear makeup I’ve hardly been seen without it, let alone to allow pictures of me taken without it. Even still, I pressed on without knowing how long this would go on or when or if I’d ever wear it again. I had no plans of my own.
Slowly but surely my self image began to change. I gained confidence I never had before without the makeup. I began to see myself as a person and not a fake image. It’s true, makeup makes everyone look prettier, more glamorous, more put together….. it makes everyone look like they have less faults. But underneath that makeup we all have the same imperfections. Well, some of us. 😆 I’ve seen some AMAZING all natural skin and I just think “can I have what you’re having?!” The point is, I started to feel good about myself without my mask on. And without that kind of love for myself and confidence in myself, I couldn’t repair my marriage or my family authentically. God knew that my heart needed to heal first….. and the first step to healing for me was stripping away all the things the world said made me worthy, and focusing on how God made ME without any help. I started to realize that by complaining about how I looked and not feeling good enough, I was slapping God in the face and saying that what He had given me wasn’t good enough. God doesn’t see us the way we see eachother, the way we see ourselves. During this 3 month period I began to see myself and everyone around me how I imagine God sees us….. and that is as gloriously beautiful in our own ways. Not in the same way as everyone else.
So why do I wear it now? I don’t always. If you came over you’d find me bare faced with my white eyelashes. And I’d be okay with that. I might have even forgotten that I didn’t have it on. But when I do wear it, my worth isn’t attached to it. There have been times when I’ve caught myself obsessing and thinking “okay if I don’t have on enough makeup I’m going to look AWFUL and FEEL AWFUL” then I reign it in. I make myself go with less than I want and I find my worth and courage (some days it takes a lot!) through God and what He has given me. There are days too where I feel so great about myself already, I just willingly go without. It has not become an obsession again. I felt like once I had learned what I needed to learn, God said “okay, but you know the rules.” 😉
I realize this is long so if you’re still with me, bless you. 😆 I had promised in a previous post last December to talk about this…. and I wanted to make sure I did that. Mostly for my sake, but maybe for someone else’s too.
If you’re wondering what got me to a such an ugly place….. Other peoples words and actions did. Completely. Well, maybe “completely” isn’t a fair statement because I did harbor those words and actions for years. I maybe even took them to mean more than they meant….. and right now I want to share exactly what words and actions those were…. but I don’t feel I’m supposed to. I feel like in doing that I’d just be tattling on things that were said and done so long ago, and I know that the intent those people had was never to bring me to a place where my worth was wrapped up in self image. But I will say, our words have so much power. So much. They kept me in a prison where I felt worthless and ugly without my masks, and with them I felt powerful and worthy. So so twisted.
So, if you see me without my makeup on, for me, that’s like waving a victory flag. However, if I am wearing it, now it’s purely just because I like to once in awhile. I am a girly girl after all. 😉