All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
from The Story by Brandi Carlile
There is me. And then there is me.
And neither one of these versions is more valid than the other.
And, yet, something happens sometimes that makes us think that the only version of ourselves that we should present to the world is the made-up version. The “pretty” version. Somehow having make-up on and our hair done has become the only sociably acceptable version of ourselves to present in too many environments.
It is not that I am saying make-up and hair products are wrong, but I am saying that they aren’t right- as in the only right way to be. You can practice self-acceptance and enjoy make-up or fashion, but if you are truly practicing self-acceptance than there is something you inherently know to be true. Your style and make-up don’t make you. They may just be a fun way for you to express who you are and someone else’s way of expressing who she is- through endurance events or not enjoying fashion or style or through tattoos or whatever- is just as valid.
Just like anything, it begins with a balanced approach where you inherently understand that your style does not create your worth, it simply is one of many expressions of how you see yourself. You also inherently know that others’ are not defined by their style either. When you are operating from a self-accepting place, you understand that style does not change your capabilities. You can go without make-up without feeling like you’ve lost yourself. Your abilities or cofnidence don’t change when your outfits or make-up do.
Sometimes, though, it takes some time to really learn that lesson and so I like to hold an all-naturay day every semester in my body image classes. This Friday, March 15, is this semester’s all natural day, and I want to invite you to join me and my class in going all natural.
What does going all natural mean? You can shower, put on moisturizer (as long as it is not tinted or light-reflecting), brush your hair and your teeth but that’s where the primping ends.
Here are some things that should not be part of your All Natural Day:
Contacts (yep, wear your glasses!)
Weave or extensions (the clip in kind. If it’s sewn in, you can keep it there!)
Hair products (shampoo and conditioning in the shower are fine– no leave in conditioner, de-frizz or straightening products)
Flat Ironing/ Curling/ Rollers/ Blow Drying
If you are a trans or gender-variant person, participate by not using items that you would consider appearance enhancements but please feel comfortable using items that are part of your identity.
Want to take the challenge one step further? If you are on a social media site, change your profile picture to feature one of you without the enhancements and encourage your followers/friends to do the same. If you do it, please send me a link or copy of the photo! Want to tweet about it this experience? Do so under #allnaturalday.
A few caveats for my blog readers: if you can’t completely go all natural in your life (for example, you can go make-up less to work but it would be frowned upon for you to walk in with wet hair from the shower, then, by all means, do what you HAVE to do but don’t do what you WANT to do).
Here’s to loving the skin we’re in, as it is.
What is your relationship with doing your hair and make-up? Are there places where you feel like you can’t go natural? Are there place where you feel like you must go natural? Are make-up and fashion part of your creative personal expression? How do you take a balanced approach?