Two Weeks Without Eye Makeup: Here's What I Learned
Two weeks ago, I came down with an eye infection. On a Wednesday morning. In the middle of a week, with at least four important client meetings that I needed to lead. Not to mention several social gatherings, where I hoped to make an impression on new friends.
The first couple of days, I wore my glasses with no makeup. I was so embarrassed to have my camera on. I even told a client, "If it looks like I've been crying all day...I have! Only not because anything is wrong."
But if I'm being honest, something was very wrong. I think I accidentally discovered a tipping point between defining myself and trapping myself in a box. On the one hand, I know that I enjoy makeup and dressing up—it makes me feel confident, sexy and seen. I don't feel any shame about this, and I'm happy to budget my time and money accordingly. On the other hand, what happens when this piece of myself is paused? I found out I don't have a contingency plan to source these feelings another way.
Slowly, I reintroduced face makeup and, eventually, contacts. I spent $80 replacing all my eye makeup and tools, but I'm still scared to use them. Last week, I tried wearing mascara alone, and my eye was so irritated it felt like I was sent back to square one.
So, where are we now?
First of all, I can't believe I did this. Am doing this. I was becoming so dependent on eye makeup recently that I would wear it on a Saturday in my small town in which the only person who knew me was my husband. I've proven that I am perfectly capable of participating in a lot of life without eye makeup. That feels good.
Second, I have a new perspective on how I want to approach knowing myself. One that includes a little more leeway, because it's often not possible to do everything that makes me feel like me 100% of every moment of every day.
How else can I feel confident, sexy and seen without eye makeup? Here are a few alternatives off the top of my head: going for a run or working out, rocking the athleisure aesthetic, rocking the youthful aesthetic, making plans with my favorite people, doing something I'm good at like writing or cooking.
And of course, part of this is acknowledging the thing, right? I needed to talk about this with people as I was going through it, which helped a ton. A good reminder that addressing problems is almost always more useful than pretending they don't exist.