I feel like a completely different person since the last post I wrote. It’s hard for me to read it, actually, because I hear a girl who is in so much pain and does not know how to get out.
I feel like I’ve finally reached a turning point, so I wanted to write again in case anyone who identified with it was wondering what happened next. I wrote that post back in March. The day after I wrote it, I showed it to the people closest to me- my mom, my boyfriend, and my closest friends. Being that open is scary. My mom cried, my boyfriend didn’t really understand (but was supportive), and my friends… well, some of my friends were awesome, some not so much. But- it shows you who you really want in your life, right?
After that, I decided to just give up on controlling what I ate. Obviously it wasn’t helping, and I was honestly just sick of it. But it was terrifying to me. And for the first month, maybe two, I overate on junk food and pretty much whatever I saw that I wanted, just because I finally could. Instead of freaking out, though, I decided to just be okay with it. I read a lot of articles written by Matt Stone, which helped. I somehow knew that it would all balance out, and even when I gained 5 pounds I just stayed relaxed. I started exercising more to counteract the food, and I did balance back out with my weight and with the way I ate.
It’s not that it was easy… It wasn’t. Sometimes it was really, really hard. But know what happened? My skin got so much better. It was like all my bad acne had been related to my stressing over food, and it just kind of went away. Definitely not completely- I still would not be seen without makeup. But there were no more huge cysts, and it was good enough that I could cover it up and not worry.
A few things happened at that time that could have contributed, so in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll share. I stopped worrying about food. I also stopped wearing my normal mask of makeup that took at least 15 minutes to put on in the morning. This consisted of washing my face, moisturizer, letting that dry, cream foundation, letting that dry, powder foundation, and then whatever else I wanted to use. I’m not big on makeup, and I rarely use eye makeup.. But makeup on my face seemed necessary and I hated it. Then I found a powder foundation that was full coverage, so then my whole routine was reduced to washing, moisturizing, and putting on the foundation. It seems simple… But was so much less stressful. I also did start taking Estroblock, but I am hesitant to say that helped, because I’m really bad at remembering to take supplements. It was more like I took it every other day for a month, then once a week, then just kind of stopped.
So, I basically did nothing for the past 7 months. My diet was decent until something else really stressful happened in my life and I thought that maybe going vegan was a good idea. I knew my tendencies, so I thought if I told everyone I was doing it and explained it, then it would be fine. I also honestly did not think I was doing it because of the stress. But they happened at the same time. I lasted 6 days until all my old thoughts started coming back and I realized I just needed to stop. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to control my diet. I don’t know that I really need to. Right now, my diet is terrible. I eat anything. Eventually I want to make it healthier again… But that is a lot lower on my list of priorities. And through it all, my skin has been completely fine.
That’s where this story kind of takes a turn, and it’s why I’m writing now. Before, the story was mostly about my diet, and not really about my skin at all. But yesterday morning, I woke up, and was about to wash my face and put on makeup… And I just all of a sudden was sick of it all. Maybe I could go to school (I’m in college) without makeup. My face always looks better in the morning when I haven’t washed it yet. So I left. I brought my makeup with me, just in case, because I was so anxious. I got in the car and looked in the mirror, and saw all these little red scars everywhere, and all these little pimples around my mouth and chin, and I wanted to pull out the makeup and cover it up. But something happened yesterday… I just couldn’t. I felt like if I put it on I would have failed, and deep down, I didn’t even want to put it on. I teach yoga, and I spend so much time encouraging people to be themselves… And I just thought, who am I if I don’t even truly follow my own advice?
So I went to school. Nothing happened. The world didn’t end, people didn’t stare, and no one noticed. Actually, I felt like people were nicer to me, probably just because I felt nicer. I felt more authentic, more real. It was so freeing, like I was shouting, “This is who I am, look at me!”
It got a little more scary when I knew I was hanging out with my boyfriend later and that he would see it. I knew he wouldn’t care, since he doesn’t even notice if I have mascara on or not, but it was still extremely terrifying to face him. I don’t know why; that’s just how I felt. And it was fine. Finally I told him that I might try the caveman regimen and not wash my face for a month, and not wear makeup, and he just kind of looked at me, confused. He said, “I don’t even notice a difference, so it doesn’t matter.” Which I did not believe, because if you’re a girl, you know- you look different with makeup on! So after trying to explain this, I finally went into my bathroom and put makeup on half my face. Just half. Foundation, blush, mascara.. And I looked in the mirror. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a difference, except the side with the makeup just looked… Tired. Older. Not young and free and glowing, which was how I saw the other side of my face, minus all the little red dots. So I showed my boyfriend (under a bright light! I was so nervous) and he just looked at me… studied my face… and said, “I don’t know… it doesn’t really look different.” At which point I gave up, washed it off, and stopped talking about it.
My friend told me a funny story about her boyfriend watching her put makeup on. She was putting on foundation or concealer, and her boyfriend said, “Why are you doing that?” She told him that she was covering up any spots. And he said, “Yeah, but your face is all one color now.” And she looked him, like… Yes.. That’s the point. He just looked confused and said, “But why?” To which she did not really have an answer.
What happens when the people you are really trying to please with your makeup are the ones who never wanted you to have it on anyway? Magazines and other girls in society told me to wear makeup, not boys. We wear makeup because it makes us feel more attractive, because then we believe we look more attractive to other people. If you can get over what other people in your gender think of you, then really, you’re just wearing it to look more attractive to the opposite sex. But what if the opposite sex never asked for that? In my experience… They don’t care. If they like you, they like you. Not because of your perfect complexion or big eyes. They just like you.
Look… I have been wearing makeup every single time I was out in public since 6th grade without fail. Every. Single. Time. It became part of me and necessary to the way I looked. It is hard to explain this to someone without acne, because they will not understand the way you feel because they cannot totally relate. When away at camps, or the first time I was away at college, I would take foundation with me into the shower because I did not want anyone to see the way my face looked. I don’t know if I fooled anyone. I would freak out if anyone wanted me to go to breakfast with them without me being able to put my makeup on first, and I would figure out a way to put it on without them noticing. I don’t think I could have gone without it two years ago, especially not when my skin was so terrible. But I finally feel like I’m at the point where I accept myself. I feel like I’m ready to let go of it.
It’s been two days, so you’re probably thinking I can’t have much to report. It’s the opposite. I feel amazing. I went for a run in the woods with my dogs and was able to sweat and then let it dry without thinking about it. I went to bed without washing my face. I woke up and got ready… Which meant that I put on clothes. I tilted my face up to the sun this morning because I wanted it to hit my skin. I was nicer to everybody today. I feel free. Honestly. I feel like the way I am acting is finally in line with everything I believe. And I’m coming to terms with the fact that me putting makeup on every day to hide myself was probably because I still didn’t like myself, even though I thought I did. I think I identify too much with being “pretty.” I let that dictate how I act. Now I let go, and it will be okay.
I don’t know where it will go from here… I don’t know how the caveman idea will work out, and I don’t know how my skin will react. All I know is that right now I feel better about myself, even if I don’t look as good to other people. And that’s all that matters.