Last week, I had a bit of an epiphany.
I’m a member of a Facebook group made up of my due date moms from when I was pregnant with my oldest son, Miles. We started on WhatToExpect.com’s message boards but migrated to Facebook a few years ago. We’ve been chatting and sharing with one another for almost five years. We’ve shared in joys and sorrows and most of us know one another quite well. One of the moms suggested that we post photos of ourselves to the group. Not an unusual request, we do that all the time – photos of ourselves with our kids, photos of our kitchens when we ask for remodeling advice, photos of pregnancy tests – we’ve kinda seen it all. But this mom was suggesting something different – a photo of us, without makeup.
For some people that isn’t a big deal. I hear moms say all the time, some of them almost bragging, how they never wear makeup anymore since they had kids. For others, it’s a very big deal, as they wrestle daily with new and old insecurities. For those of us who think twice about taking and sharing such a photo, wearing makeup gives us a chance to present the version of ourselves that we want to show. It allows us to control how much of ourselves you get to see. Do I want people to see these wrinkles? The stubborn chin hair that manages to pop up at inopportune times? The dark circles under the eyes from weeks of poor sleep? Or do I want to cover it up and show you how perky, well-rested, happy, and vibrant I am?
I think you can guess which one I choose. I rarely, if ever, leave the house without makeup. Sometimes I think if I died at home without makeup, even my friends would struggle to identify my body – that’s how rarely I’m seen with a fresh, natural face. It’s oddly comforting to go through the ritual of carefully painting my face with creams and powders. Certainly the irony of it isn’t lost on me, the time and effort I spend to make my face look as though I’m wearing no makeup (thank you, My Girl – or was it Full House?, for that timeless piece of wisdom). Sometimes I’ll look at my face in the mirror after showering and think “Isn’t this good enough?” Why do I care so much how even my skin tone appears? Who would notice if I didn’t wear mascara today?
Whether or not you wear makeup every time you leave your house, I think most people can identify with this line of thought. Maybe it isn’t acne scars you’re hiding, but there’s usually something people don’t want others to see. For some, they wear loose clothes to hide their body shape (big or small). Others might have a streak of anger they struggle to control in public. Still others hide years of feeling that whatever they are, it isn’t good enough. We all wear a mask, be it by Revlon or just a forced smile, and I think it’s time we begin to peel it off.
When we hide, we encourage others to do the same because we’re not showing the real us. When we show a false version of ourselves, the better version, we tell everyone around us that the real version isn’t good enough. Your real version is good enough. The real you is special and unique and the world wants to see it. The moms at work, at preschool drop-off, at your church, your mom’s group — they all want to see and hear from the real you.
This week, I’m challenging myself to living in reality and I invite you to join me. Each day, I’ll challenge you to make a step toward becoming more real with the people and moms around you. I’ll have a Reality Challenge and a Super Challenge, if the regular Reality Challenge isn’t tough enough for you. For those of you who want to continue the Reality Challenge after this week, sign up for Reality Check, my new and free email newsletter that will deliver two full weeks of additional challenges starting next week!
Are you ready to get real? Well let’s begin!
Today’s Reality Challenge is to go out in public with ZERO makeup on your face. No concealer, no lip gloss, nothing. You can have your hair fixed, but NO MAKEUP.
No makeup is no big deal? Then let’s try the Super Challenge: Take a photo of yourself with no makeup and minimal hair styling (dried but not curled) and make it your Facebook/Twitter profile picture for the day.
Are you in? Join The Reality Challenge and leave a comment telling me what you’re going to do for the challenge today and come back every day this week for more!
Ready to go on to Day Two?