A Lenten Update
March 9, 2013 § 4 Comments
I have had a few people ask me how my makeup fast is going, so I thought I would share an update with all of you.
I have gone 21 days without makeup.
I am a little over half way done.
Let’s be honest, do I feel more comfortable today, on day 21, than I did on day 1?
Yes, because today I have only interacted with Forrest and Juniper, whereas on day 1 I was still working at the library and was nervous about a lot of “are you tired?” comments.
No, because I still really, really miss makeup.
Despite my desire to swipe some mascara on my pale eyelashes, I have had some thoughts about the use and purpose of makeup.
I think that makeup is a medium that we, as women, can hide behind.
Now, I don’t believe that is the sole purpose of makeup, but I think it is definitely part of it, at least for me.
When I used to put on makeup I could control how people perceived my well being. Putting on makeup tells the world, “I’m doing great! Look at how put together I am!”
When I don’t wear makeup I am presenting my true self, my vulnerability.
For instance, earlier this week Juniper went to bed earlier than normal but then woke up about 4 hours later. I fed her, she fell back asleep, but then proceeded to wake up every 1 to 2 hours after that. Miserable, miserable night. I think Francie is the only one who slept through it.
The next morning, I went to work (work for me right now is one morning a week at a software company where I help out with office work) and saw a few dear friends. I left feeling a little discouraged because I definitely did not look my best. My tired face had nothing to hide behind, and that made me feel sad and embarrassed.
As I write and reflect on that morning and those emotions I think, “Geez! It’s just makeup! People still like you for who you are!”
True, but do I like me? Embarrassing to admit, but true.
Sometime around puberty, most girls/women start to paint their faces and learn a new normal.
A new normal.
I have to wonder, if I do not wear any makeup what will strangers or possible employers think about my personality, ability, and competence based on the first thing they see – my face?
You might say, why should you care what strangers think about how you look?
Well, here is another for instance: I had a job interview last Monday for an On-Call Librarian position at the Clackamas Library. When I got the interview, I immediately wondered, makeup or no makeup? After a conversation with my sister-in-law about first impressions and societal norms, I decided to wear makeup for the interview but wash it off as soon as I got home. But I wonder, if I had gone sans makeup would I have presented the same professional impression, or would it have looked like I was not trying my very best? Who knows.
Maybe I am making too big a deal of this, but I am frustrated that making up our faces can hugely determine our success. It makes me wonder, why don’t men have to wear makeup? Why do women, at least some of us, feel like we have to? Why do we need or want to look a certain way, and who determines what the ‘certain way’ is?
All this to say, this commitment to go 40 days (not including Sundays) without makeup is a lot more exhausting, vulnerable, and discouraging than I thought it would be.
It is also eye-opening, thought-provoking and a darn good thing for me to do.
I am thankful for the last 21 days and the next 19 days because I am still reminded daily about the reason for my sacrifice – small and silly though it may be. Even when life gets busy, any time I see my face I can remember the beauty of the gospel and the sacredness of this lenten season.
I am also thankful for these days because I am learning more about myself, and, more importantly, I am able to reflect on the message I want to share with Juniper someday about self-worth, makeup, and the beauty of a face that is au naturel.
Thanks for listening.
How is your lenten fast?