It’s All About the Confidence

In October, while on a weekend getaway with the women of my family, we rented the movie, The Greatest Showman.  I liked it.  It was good – not spectacular.  The title might have hyped up my expectations.  I did quite like the music, and the songs decided to camp out in my head for the next few days.  One of those songs was sung by the bearded lady, This Is Me.

I think it spoke to me as I had an inner self-confidence struggle that had been going on for the past couple of months.  You see, I hate wearing makeup, but I follow the social norm that part of a woman looking her best is putting makeup on her face.  I know I don’t have to, but I’m not much to go against the flow, and honestly I feel more confident when I do. 

This summer when I was home recovering from surgery, I got out of the habit of putting makeup on as a part of my regular morning routine.  It was very freeing to leave it behind.  I never have a spare moment in the morning anyway, so saving time was great.  I liked rubbing my eyes whenever I wanted and not worrying about smears, and it’s great to fall into bed when I’m tired without worrying about taking off ‘my face.’  When I went back to work, I was still not fully recovered, so using that as my excuse, I made my return to the work-a-day world, very hesitantly, without makeup.

No one openly stared, no one shrank back in horror, but I was still very self-conscious.  Of course everyone knew I was still recovering and there were a number of inquiries about my health and my fatigue level.  But I soon forgot I wasn’t wearing any makeup and went about business as usual.  I admit I was startled a time or two when I pushed open the ladies room door and saw myself in the mirror above the sinks.  Wow!  I thought to myself, you look haggard.

And although it wasn’t long before I felt like my regular self and I was going to work each day with my fresh face, I still had an inner turmoil about my appearance.  Our society judges on appearance.  Heck, I know I’ve done it myself.  It is one of the areas that I’ve worked on self-improvement.  Ugly people, fat people, people who wear Crocs; people who are not like ‘us.’  Why do we make assumptions about people based on the way they look?

When I saw women at work or in social situations, I began taking note whether they were wearing makeup or not.  For somebody who was trying to not care about makeup, I was getting a little obsessed about it.  I started asking my friends why they did – or didn’t – wear makeup.  I began to think of those not wearing makeup as brave.

I recently had brunch with two longtime friends.  They are both younger than me, thinner than me, and more accomplished than me.  But they are great friends and I feel confident in our relationship.  I’ve seen them both without makeup and so I bravely went forth without my makeup, thinking maybe they would do the same.  After all, it was Saturday morning brunch with non-judgmental friends. 

I was a little self-conscious without my shield, especially when they both looked so great.  But we had a great time talking about work, family, and shared memories.  Feeling less than confident, but not wanting to miss the rare opportunity of the three of us together, I summoned my strength and suggested we take a picture together.  I’m glad I did.

As we were leaving I couldn’t help but ask the question.  Why did you put on makeup for our friends brunch?  “I just feel more confident when I’m wearing makeup,” was the resounding answer.  But I hate it.  I hate that I have to cover my face to feel confident and I hate that other women do too.  But they do, and so do I.

And I finally decided to quit railing against the machine.  I’m giving up the inner turmoil.  I still find it perplexing – I’m not smarter, or funnier, or kinder when I wear makeup – but I’m not spending any more time on it.  If I need it to feel more confident while meeting with a client, or even just facing the day, I’ll wear it.  And if I don’t want to – I won’t, knowing it shouldn’t matter, and won’t matter to people who know me, respect me, or love me.  And I’ve also been listening to the words from the song of the bearded lady…

I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, This Is Me

View the official lyric video of This Is Me from The Greatest Showman Soundtrack

4 thoughts on “It’s All About the Confidence

  1. Love your blog, Sue. Wearing makeup seems habitual. It is automatic with me, even if I’m going out to do yard work or staying in to clean house. It is good to self-reflect on why do we do what we do‼️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love that you changed your blog photo to one without makeup. You are beautiful. I stopped my usual make up routine when I retired 4 years ago. Granted, I did not wear much to begin with and it was quite painless for me. I do put on a quick swipe of lipstick when I “go out” so I don’t look colorless but I love not having to fuss. In my humble opinion there is way too much emphasis on the way women look and the beautiful young women of today are covering their pretty faces with far too much makeup to the point they don’t look natural. I Googled “celebrities with and without makeup” and almost without exception I liked the “without” photos better. Good for you Sue! Go forth and be you and love yourself just the way you are. A smile is what really makes a person’s face beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. Thanks for noticing. and thank you for the compliment. Speaking of young people and makeup, I have some pictures of myself in college where I had on enough makeup for three people. I thought it looked great! I cringe when I see those pictures now. Fashion is like that as well. Peasant shirt anyone?

      Liked by 1 person

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