Good job I actually want to be single for the forseeable future because if I don’t do a good enough job in repelling the opposite sex by just being myself, this post is about to gloriously tip me over into completely and utterly undateable.
Bare Naked Me
When I came out here I decided that one of the things I wanted to continue to focus on was giving myself a break from my harsh and often deluded inner critic which has existed way before the days of Instagram perfectionism. Basically, I wanted to stop looking in the mirror and hating everything I see.
So from day one, I’ve stripped myself bare.
And no, I’ve not been walking around the temple stark naked, I’m pretty sure I’d get beaten with a Buddha statue if I did that. I’ve just ditched every single thing I do to “beautify” myself at home.
I’m hitting Brow Gate level ten, I’ve not worn a scrap of make-up since I arrived, not even mascara, which at first made me feel like a little mole. I’ve swapped every cosmetic or pampering lotion and potion for something much more simple; essential oils. I haven’t shaved in two weeks, which is a statement I can’t believe I’m making publicly, as even saying it to myself makes a little bit of sick rise up in my mouth. My hair hasn’t been washed and I haven’t even used deodorant or soaked myself in Stella McCartney.
What’s that noise? oh it’s the thunderous stampede of testosterone headed in every direction but mine.
The Law of Attraction
I remember watching a documentary on what we tend to find physically attractive, quite oddly it was presented by John Cleese who I couldn’t take seriously having overdosed on Basil Fawlty growing up. Anyway, for the female, allure comes in the form of a symmetrical face with plump red lips, flawless skin, large captivating eyes and rose tinted cheeks.
Why? In evolutionary terms, these are all physical signs of youth and fertility, making for a suitable babymama. Nowadays, I’m not sure popping out baby is necessarily what’s on a man’s mind when he’s drooling over a ridiculously pretty girl in a bar, but his thoughts are no doubt somewhere in that direction.
And so I guess this is how make-up came about in the first place; to attract a mate.
It’s getting taken to the extreme now though – botox is now available on the high street, girls are getting lip fillers before they even pass their GCSEs and you hear people casually talking about bum implants like they’re going for a routine check at the dentist.
Make Up Break Up
Apart from a brief phase of powdering my face with a Scouse orange glow using a Body Shop bronzer when I was fifteen, it wasn’t until my days at L’Oreal that I really started wearing make-up. This was when my bare face with only a few flicks of mascara started accumulating more and more lotions, potions, primers, concealers, foundations, lots of brightly coloured eyeliners and every shade of lipstick there is.
I loved it. I still love it. It’s art for the face. It can turn any day of the week into your own little masquerade ball. It can be a confidence boost, an embellishment, a disguise or empowerment and it’s actually quite a lot of fun.
But after years of playing with unicorn hair colours and veneer for the visage, I realised that when my face was bare it didn’t feel right to me. And that in itself, is not right.
Lotions & Potions
Apart from wanting to accept my face, the other thing I’m conscious of is all of these synthetic salves we coat ourselves in. Surely they soak into the pores and pollute the body, surely the benefits are only temporary and surely we can live without them?
My plan is waste not, then want not – so at home I was already in the process of using up all of my chemical cosmetics; a Christmas stocking’s worth of Soap and Glory bath stuff, Nioxin hair treatments, Dermalogica face washes, Elizabeth Arden creams, Yves Saint Laurent serums and everything else in between. Once they’re all gone, I’ll be whisking up some homemade organic concoctions to smother myself in.
As I was coming away for six weeks with the contents of my life to be housed inside a single backpack, I decided to leave all these precious potions behind and swap them up for my latest liquid obsession.
I’m learning as I go, but I know that massaging jojoba oil into your head gives nutrients to your hair, moringa oil works magic on crêpe pan scars, almond oil on a cotton wool ball is good for cleansing the face, tea tree oil soothes mosquito bites, lavender oil helps you sleep and absolute rose can boost your mood.
For the first few days I was adjusting to a new environment, new sleeping arrangements and altering my body clock to early nights and early rises. The anticipation of this new lifestyle and the hurricane of thoughts inside my head were all visible to see in my eyes, my skin and every expression I made.
It wasn’t what I’d call a pretty sight and with this self-deprecating view of myself I was a little bit more reserved on introductions than I normally would be.
After fourteen days of an extremely healthy routine, hell loads of cycling and a drenching of vitamin D, my face is starting to light up naturally. The puffy eyes from a lack of sleep are becoming less noticeable, my eyeballs are whiter, my irises a more vibrant shade of turquoise, my cheeks are naturally rosy and my summertime freckles have started to decorate my cheekbones.
I know it’s easy for me to do this out here being surrounded by a load of monks, miles away from reality but I’d like to keep this up wherever I go next. And I’m genuinely not just saying this for the sake of a story – if I still felt like The Ming Behind the Mask, I’d say it outright….but I don’t…I genuinely feel like I love myself a tiny little bit more each and every day.