I Refuse to Wear Makeup: Notes from a Bare Face Beauty

Because she’s bad and she knows it 😉 #barefacedbaddie

The craze was kicked off by Alicia Keyes some may say but I was with this craze long before she went public with it. I have sworn off makeup completely for several years now. Slowly baby stepping my way down over the years from wearing full face to no contouring to no blush, to no foundation, to no mascara, to no eyeliner, and now I am here completely naked in the face. From formal functions and interviews to chilling with the homies, this face is always naked 🙂

This post is not to bash the rather nice young ladies who prefer and enjoy to beat their faces. Not in the least. I am simply pointing to my own reasonings and logic in the case that maybe there is someone out there tossing around the question, “to beat the face or to not beat the face?” I guess I owe you an explain of why and then how, in that order.

The Why

There are a few reasons why I ditched the makeup:

  1. The money — Because initially at the time I was struggling financially and had to chose between buying food or buying foundation. And because I’m a self declared fatty, I always choose food.
  2. Amount of effort — Call me lazy or just plain inexperienced but I hated spending the extra time in the mirror in the morning. Just saying. That extra hour of sleep would do a lot more for my puffy eyes than trying to cover them with foundation.
  3. The feminist in me had an uprising — I think I was single and going through one of those independent, feminist phases where I wanted to feel the rawness of my prowess.

“If you bad and you know it then photoshop ain’t gotta show it.” #Teamnakedface

The Results:

  1. It. Feels. Amazing. — Lets start the results off by saying that I feel sexier and more feminine than I have ever felt before. Just a freeing feeling to be purely your naked self. Besides, there is no better feeling than hugging somebody without worrying about leaving your face on their shirt. No need to worry about the dreaded raccoon eyes midday. Party and dance all night without fear that your face will melt off. Forget having to sneak out before the guy you are dating wakes up because you don’t want him to see what you look like without make up on. And for sure, just jump into the pool…the water’s fine.
  2. Healthier skin and lifestyle — I started devoting more time to taking care of my skin and eating healthier. Instead of covering up blemishes and relaxing into bad habits, I took a more proactive approach and decided to work on the root of the problem from the inside out. Facial reports show that my face is thankful for it. I experience wayyyyy less breakouts and irritation. My acne has cleared up and my skin is even.
  3. Saved Money — less money spent on beauty products meant more money to save or to spend elsewhere like on books or traveling. Uh yea, I’ll take that.
  4. More time — Less time spent beating “le face” meant more time devoted to something else in my morning routine like meditation. Mental beauty matters too.

So, to the brave ladies who dare enter a corporate office in the nude, be strong. To the young woman who desires to love all of herself, flaws, blemishes and all, be strong. And to those wondering what a certain liberation feels like……a makeup wipe or a wet nap is only an arm’s reach away 🙂

 

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The Essence Within

Closing my eyes, I am wrapped in velvet darkness that caresses me. The darkness transforms into the light of peace, calming the storms of my mind. Racing questions, instantaneous thoughts, self deprecating feelings all wash away here in this space. Like my secret retreat. Silent tears sleigh down the hill of my cheeks as I relish in this peace and calm, closing the doors of senses, letting the world fall away. I am grateful for this space. I sit asking the Infinite for strength to continue in my mortal form with its finite intelligence. I ask him to let the peace of this place remain with me when my eyes open. I dread opening my eyes and rising from my meditation pillow before realizing that this feeling in itself is a form of Maya. So I sit a bit longer, praying fervently for me to believe in true stillness and peace of mind. I pray for greater faith in the unseen— Peace. For me, I know not of peace. Not of what it looks like, what it feels like, or how it sounds. It takes much faith for me to believe that sitting here is okay, that this moment is supposed to be okay. That each moment is perfect and peaceful as it is.
No matter how difficult it is at times, I find comfort in meditating. My most favorite places to meditate are in the shower or in the woods while it is raining — because no one can distinguish the rain from the tears falling from my face. I cry often. Gut wrenching sobs that cripple my back forcing me to my knees. I have always cried when I pray, even from a young child. I cry out of sincerity. Out of sheer will for a greater, deeper faith for that which I am praying.
Most of my mediations, I am asking for strength and fortitude to continue with life. Pleading with God to arm with me his blessings of peace and fortitude for nothing else in this world is worth having. I beg Him to equip me with whatever it is that I need to complete this mission called life. I remind Him that I am suffering in this human form and need his help. Stretching my hands to the sky on my knees with tears streaming down my cheeks, I remind God how hard the suffering is. I bare my flesh to him, exposing deep ebony skin. I cry to him, saying “Master, Infinite Creator, please remember me. Remember that I am in this black girl form. This black skin is drenched in suffering, in past pains, past hurts. Though I know I have a mission here on earth in this body to complete, please be with me. The cross of this black skin is heavy. walk with it I must. Times come when I want nothing more than to meditate on you and practice your teachings when this brown skin fails to believe. This brown skin and the pulsing blood in my veins carry with it the sorrows of a thousand slaves. This brown skin knows little of peace and trust. Lord, you know I have the faith to believe in you even though I lack the faith to believe in myself. Lord, God, please give me the love of all loves — the love of myself. For if I am able to love myself, I am able to express that love to others, as it is your will Lord.”
I pray this prayer and have been praying this prayer for as long as I can remember. Not exactly in those words. I find it difficult to meditate deeply or to enjoy life as fully as I can because my mind always seems to get the better of me. Growing up Black, I was always told, “You have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to get half of what they get”. This philosophy became the backdrop for my life, filling it with fear and anxiety. I overworked myself to the point of exhaustion and then would get depressed when I physically couldn’t go on because to me, if I was not working like a slave, I was worthless. At work I would arrive early and leave late, working overtime even when I wasn’t paid for it. I didn’t mention any of the injustices that happened to me because I was taught that suffering injustices is the norm for my life as a black girl and that to speak up for myself would attract attention, and attention was bad because I should just feel grateful they even allowed me to be there in the first place. I was inadvertently taught to expect and accept a life as a second class citizen both in this country and in my thinking. Was I groomed and primed to hate myself?
I continued through life always trying to prove myself and denying the luxury of knowing peace. I got to a place in life where I questioned the point of any of it. I asked God why did he make me? I felt ugly, worn, and insane. I wanted to know why God was so unmerciful to people with dark skin. We were brought out of slavery only to have physical chains be replaced with mental ones. In my thinking, I was sure that physical chains could not hold a match to mental chains, for who has the key to free a man in mental chains? Oh, how I felt conned again. I felt once more like a loser as if the pains of suffering would go on forever.
After a very dark episode of depression that landed me into a mental hospital for a week and after quitting my job, I began to get heavily involved in meditation. It was through this meditation that my pain and suffering made sense. I learned about reincarnations and the purpose of this physical body. I began to believe that I was not my body nor my mind but I was an essence that was temporarily residing in the current earthly form. It gives me solace for when times are hard. For those times that the color of my skin causes me to doubt and hate myself, I remember that I am not this black skin, I am the essence within. And if God selected this particular earthly form of black skin with all of its pains and suffering for me to reside in during my mission on earth, He must have also known that my essence is already well equipped.

The Power of the Individual

As news reels roll tape after tape and radios play session after session of all the chaos that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder that some of us are starting to feel a bit insane. Or if you are like me, you may be feeling completely insane. For those of you who are also like me and are not currently connected as the rest of the world, you still get your dose of updates from friends, family, and co-workers.

The swirl of chaos I hear makes me question where I stand in all of this. I am a human being. I am part of a collective whether I chose to be affiliated or not, whether I voted for a particular party or not, I am still part of society. I am part of the collective. We reflect society. Individuals reflect the collective. Amidst all of the chaos, I can only think more deeply about the truth behind such a statement. I can think about this in two ways.

#1: If individuals reflect society then our individual change and progress will make a great impact on society. The power lies in our hands. We can make an individual change that will be reflected by society.

#2: If individuals reflect society then society would therefore reflect the individual. If that is true then what we see in society is the truest reflection of ourselves.

Upon accessing all of the uproar and protests on the news today, I am not upset at any one candidate or any particular party affiliation. I look at this new world we live in with eyes of curiosity with the above statements in mind. What must be going on in the state of the individual for us, the collective or society, to be in the state of chaos that we are in? Are individuals more fearful, mistrustful, and depressed than before? Individually, are we in more of a chaotic state than before?

The most important fact is that real change and growth for the collective or society rests in the hands of the individual. The individuals make up the collective. There is no one else to blame as life is not a game of blame. This is not about where to assign responsibility. This is about accepting your power as an individual.