I'm not sure what to call this round of random musings, and I'm not really sure how to begin - so I'm just going to start typing and see where we end up. This post is about me trying to change my attitude towards wearing make-up, and generally speaking, my lifelong habit of 'saving it for later'. Does this sound vague enough or should I muddle it even further in the preamble?
Well, here's the gist of it. As a stay-at-home wife who lives very far away from most of her friends and all of her family (husband excepted), I spend a lot of time alone, in our apartment. When we moved here to NYC from Bellevue, WA, and I transitioned from working part/full time to just hanging out at home, I decided it would surely be silly to get dolled up every day to do the dishes, read books and occasionally pop downstairs to pick up packages. It's just me, right? I don't need to prove anything or try to impress myself, so why bother?
It turned out to be a bit of a slippery slope. First, I decided against putting make-up on every day (I'm letting my skin breathe!), only reserving it for the times I was going out to run errands or having some sort of social obligations. Then, I couldn't get out of loungy pants (ok, pajama bottoms) and stretched out t-shirts, and often skipped brushing my hair in the morning. And then recently, I've noticed around lunch time that I forgot to eat breakfast that day, haven't touched some nicer pieces in my closet for well over a year, and haven't been to a hairdresser in a year and a half. Wait... what?!
Before you start judging along the lines of 'Wow, she really let herself go' - no, you wouldn't even notice my gradual decline if I didn't just tell you about. Because when I did go out, I still applied my make-up meticulously (come on, I'm a beauty blogger, remember?), spent some time putting together a nice outfit, or even attempted a hair style. I did not suddenly start looking like a bridge troll; I maintained a pulled-together exterior, just became very, very lazy when it was just myself I was keeping company.
What really got me thinking about my attitude towards my own appearance on my 'days off' was my mum, who's been retired for about two years now. I've noticed that she probably now takes MORE care in her make-up, hair and clothes than she used to when she had to get ready for work every morning. She's constantly experimenting with her fashion style, doesn't miss a hair appointment with her stylist, and she's even started to do her nails (big deal here, folks)! So... if she can look nice just for herself, why can't I?
Not an easy answer, that. But I guess what it boils down to is that I generally tend to think the person I am at the moment doesn't deserve the effort of making herself presentable just for her own enjoyment. That the current me isn't good enough to look and feel pretty just because - no, there has to be a reason for me to pull myself together, which usually involves being in the company of other people. So, other people (like, strangers in the street?) deserve not to be put off by an au naturel Monika, but Monika can absolutely make herself feel bad about her messy reflection in the mirror.
You may gather from this that I'm not a very self-loving person, and you're right, I know that, and I AM trying to work on it; I did go see a hair stylist this week, ok? I also realize that self-love extends beyond one's appearance, but since this is a beauty blog after all, I just thought I'd share this shallower aspect with you, hoping that some of you may have similar experiences, and even if you don't, knowing that you're sensitive, emphatic, amazing people and you feel me. But yeah; my first step towards accepting myself as I am now is making the effort to look and feel pretty on the regular.
This also includes (FINALLY!) not saving stuff for later (later, when what? I'm bigger and badder?). Just to clarify, this is not the good kind of delayed gratification like in the famous marshmallow experiment; what I do is more along the lines of: 'Let me torture myself with the crappy stuff right now, and then be so miserable that I won't even feel the gratification of enjoying my favorite products when the times comes to finally pull them out'. But - NO MORE!
So if I feel like slapping on my most expensive foundation to take out the trash, I'll do it, and even if I don't feel like doing it, I'll still make myself do it, just to prove a point. If I feel like wearing a cashmere sweater just to read my book, I'll put it on, and enjoy its warmth and fluffiness. If I crave the spicy scent of my newest Serge Lutens perfume, I'll spritz it on and sniff my wrist every couple minutes while I'm typing up a blog post. Because you know what, my 'good' stuff won't last forever, and I should enjoy it while I have it, and not make myself endure mediocre things in anticipation of using my favorites some day in the unforeseeable future. Right? Right.
I've also been thinking that lately, I want to wear my make-up pretties more often precisely because I don't have to. What I mean by this is that for years, I'd been mostly wearing base make-up to conceal breakouts and hyperpigmentation scars. But in the past couple of months, I've been getting a lot less pimples and clogged pores, the texture and tone of my skin looks more even, and I'm not even as incredibly oily on my nose and forehead as I used to be (have I just jinxed myself? Will report back!). So now that my skin looks alright - not flawless by any stretch of imagination, but really good for me - and I don't need to hide as much, I can enjoy make-up just for the fun of it: the beauty of the products themselves, the variety of textures and colors, the tactile pleasure of putting it on, the experimentation with different placements and shapes. Not that I didn't enjoy all of it before, but without the stressful element of 'Holy crap, pizza face, where's my concealer?!', wearing make-up makes me even happier.
Tell me, do you also struggle with the 'save it for later' attitude towards your clothes and beauty products? I sometimes feel that my stash-reducing projects like empties and Project Make A Dent make it even harder for me to enjoy my bestest things, forcing me to reach for blah products over and over again, while in the meantime, my favorites just sit there gathering dust at best, or even expire and have to be tossed at worst. I also recently realized that my beauty and fashion needs and preferences really change quite often - or, uhm, I'm growing and becoming more discerning, I hope? Either way, this means that something I've just bought thinking it the best thing ever may turn out to no longer hold my attention when I finally start using it couple years down the line, because I'd been so focused on using up other stuff first. Oh, first world problems...