I’m nearing the end of my second full week without makeup. I have to say, I feel so supported and happy with this challenge. I was unsure if the positive momentum from the first week would last, but it has, and here’s how:
Unsolicited Positive Feedback: This is the biggest, best, most impactful part of this experience. It is so uplifting to hear the overwhelming amount of support that has been coming in, but this week took it up a notch. I actually started getting complimented on my appearance this week. My best friend told me I looked younger, another grad student said I looked more refreshed, my faculty advisor said I looked better but couldn’t figure out why, an undergrad student I advise told me I should make the look permanent, one of my oldest friends reminded me that I have a timeless beauty, and even the lady at the grocery store told me I looked ‘light and airy’.
GUYS! SERIOUSLY. I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE IT.
I am so grateful. I don’t know if people are paying extra close attention or being extra supportive because they know about the challenge. But either way, it doesn’t matter. I am taking in all of this positive energy and I keep feeling better and better. I had written at the beginning of the month that one of the reasons why I wore make up, other than habit, was because I didn’t think I was one of those girls who could get away with not wearing makeup. After two weeks, I’m starting to see that that whole mentality is crap. Your face IS beautiful. My face is beautiful. And no one gets to tell us otherwise. I’m lookin’ at you, Cover Girl!
Cue Christina Aguilera…
Self-Care: In addition to the support of others, one of the things that is keeping me happy is the degree to which I have been taking care of myself, both physically and psychologically, for the past couple of weeks. I’ve had to pay attention to myself and my propensity to fill my thoughts with negative self-talk. I have a tendency to criticize myself, overemphasize my shortcomings, and underemphasize (and ignore) my strengths. But in the context of a challenge where I would be disrupting a habit so close to my sense of self and beauty, I knew that I would have to manage those self-criticisms. Making a change is hard enough without that critical voice in your head. So in continuing this challenge, I think one of my biggest strengths has been recognizing negative thoughts when they come up, challenging them, and replacing them with positive ones. Rather than obsessing on a ‘flaw’, I turn my attention to something that makes me feel better about myself, not worse. Many times, those positive distractions have been other physical features that I feel confident about. I also put attention into my non-physical characteristics that I appreciate about myself, like compassion, thoughtfulness, or intelligence. Either way, I’m choosing to re-frame or recast negative thoughts into positive ones. And in the end, that positivity almost always wins out.
I’ve also taken better physical care of myself in the last couple weeks. This one I can’t quite figure out, and there may be other reasons beyond the makeup challenge that are making this happen. But in general, I’ve been sleeping more, drinking more water, eating balanced meals more regularly, and exercise more frequently. The timing of this is still a bit mysterious, but I don’t think its a coincidence that at the same time I take away something I had relied on to feel beautiful, I started doing other things that make me feel strong and healthy.
The confidence continues: Do you remember last week how I said that I was going to stop ‘dressing down’ because I didn’t have makeup on? Well I have, and I love it. I’ve been my normal, fancier-dressing self this week. Also, last weekend I went out to dinner then to a couple clubs without ANY makeup on! I couldn’t help but feel a bit out of place, but by the end of the night I felt empowered and even more confident than I would have predicted. On one hand, I was grateful to not have to deal with my makeup getting all nasty after a night of dancing. On the other, I had just as amazing a time without makeup, if not an even better time. Because, again, I was just putting myself out there. I’m glad the confidence carried through onto that setting. However, I did notice that I found myself talking about the challenge to people, partly because I wanted them to check out my blog and also because, more-or-less consciously, I wanted to ‘explain’ my lack of makeup. One goal I have for the next week is to stop talking about the challenge, and to live my life as if makeup had never really been a part of it. Wish me luck!
And one more thing: By far one of the biggest perks of the challenge has been how quickly I can get ready in the mornings because I don’t have to take the time to put makeup on. But what I noticed this week was that I also love how quickly I can get ready for bed because I don’t have to take the time to take makeup off. Seriously, that was my least favorite part of the day. I love that I can quickly wash my face and hit the sheets! What liberation!
Here are some pictures of me from this past week (no filters!). Thank you so much for your continued support. We’re almost halfway through the challenge, and I’m loving it so far!