Who am I?

**Please be aware that there is strong language in this article**

So, this week I decided to perform an experiment.  On myself.

You see, something has been troubling me for a while. Firstly as a woman and secondly as a Make-up Artist.

As a lover/ addict of social media, I spend many happy lost hours scrolling through mostly Instagram. Being an artist, I am stimulated mainly by imagery. The image subjects I frequently peruse are varied, to say the least, but my staples revolve around animals, food, men, travel, spirituality, quotes and make-up. I think these are pretty standard topics of interest for us girls and guys. The biggest, most trending area right now seems to be make-up, a subject close to my heart and also my job for the last 23 years as a Makeup Artist.

But something here doesn’t sit right with me……. the endless heavily made up faces, the sultry pouting where every other photo is posted by an MUA.

Ummmm…….what is it with this picture or pictures that make me feel sad?

Yes……I feel sadness when I see these pictures of young women and men plastered in make-up, brooding into the camera lens…….in fact, it breaks my heart.

It seems that there are two perspectives on offer here…….the maker and the model. The maker is the MUA (Make-up Artist) showing off their creations, and the model is the person showing off the creation, self-given or otherwise created by the maker, then shown by the model……..does this make sense?

It is in both maker and model that I find great sadness. So, I decided to become both maker and model and make myself over in the fashion of heavy, very heavy make-up with very posy pouty pics.

I applied extremely heavy foundation/ concealer; I baked……, I contoured, I did full on heavy eyes with lashings of eyeliner, I overlined my lips, way outside my natural lip line. I then did the pout, the slight squint, the head tilt and took a shit load of pictures.

I then retouched/ filtered my favourite pictures and ta-dah…..OMG…….WOWEE……I could now grace the cover of an album or be the new face fronting a new eyeliner…………FUCK ME……..I’m absolutely gorgeous. SHIT……..I can’t stop looking at myself!!!!!

Just as I’m drooling over myself in adoration, I look up into the mirror on my dressing table and realise I don’t actually look like that. The makeup looks heavy and caked. The under eye baking has made my 42-year-old skin look even more lined. My sharp symmetrical eyeliner creases, my lips resemble that of widow twanky when I smile or talk. Oh god……this isn’t me……I look weird……I look dirty……I look older than my years.

As I look back and forth between my doctored picture on my phone and my true reflection in the mirror……the sadness hits me……who am I??????????

And that is the sadness that I feel when I see every other similar picture of this look…….who are you……who are we……who am I?

Over the years I have made up many beautiful faces, models, actresses, singers and sometimes just a regular person that has naturally beautiful features.

Don’t get me wrong even the most beautiful among us have open pores, blemishes, dark circles, hairy faces, lumps, bumps and such. It’s the very nature of being human. We all share these things. All of us, even Kate Moss and Kate Winslet, whom I’m sure won’t mind me saying as I have done the make-up on both women. We as humans are flawed!

We’re being mislead

We’ve been sooooo misled by countless images of beautiful make-up on beautiful faces, retouched to sometimes unrecognisable and impossible lengths that we actually believe that people look this flawless and perfect from every angle, at any age, in any light………..it is an illusion……I should know, I’ve been helping to create such illusions for 23 years.

And that’s just it, in a nutshell…….I know….I know what’s real and what’s fake because I work on faces and I know what is and isn’t possible on the human face.

But this image filled world we live in is very powerful. Even by my own eyes, I am sometimes seduced.

But it isn’t this pursuit of the impossible perfection that saddens me. I actually find this side of things amusing, in that, most of us have the ability to tamper with images of ourselves on our phones and we nearly all understand that images of famous faces have been digitally perfected. We really should know and understand that only a mannequin or an animation can emit such flawless perfection.

My sadness is this……we are all stunningly….. gloriously ……unique, one-off, unalike, different, opposite, flawed, imperfect, distinct individuals and that is our beauty and yet we’re all trying to change ourselves into someone else.

What is a ‘type’ anyway?

Has someone ever asked you if you have a type? I don’t have a type……I’m a lover of eyes, of any colour that speaks to me with a deep soul connection….that’s my type. But I do find things physically attractive on people, male and female. I love good teeth, any shape……I especially like slanted top teeth, that slightly invert back on themselves, like David Bowie’s before he had them fixed or Debbie Harry’s. I also like a large nose on a man, even better with a crook to it. I like men’s forearms, strong veined and hairy, or no hair. I like scars, especially on the face of a man, even acne scars make a man look rugged and battle worn.

I’m drawn to people with quirks and oddities. I find them infinitely fascinating and strangely beautiful. A tic, a physical deformity, Tourette’s and a good case of now well managed mental illness are all attractive to me, they say; I’ve fought, I’m still fighting and surviving, and I’m strong.

I have suffered loss, grief, depression, anxiety and alopecia. I consider these additions a gift to my human journey. I am blessed to have suffered these things, not by what I have lost but what I have gained.

These are my kind of people. Why? Because I’m one of them. I also have additions……I have suffered loss, grief, depression, anxiety and alopecia. I consider these additions a gift to my human journey. I am blessed to have suffered these things, not by what I have lost but what I have gained. I know who I am and what is important in life. I am grateful for all that I have. I am truly blessed to have some incredible beautiful souls in my life. I have a stunningly gorgeous, wonderful son and an awesome family; I know what my purpose is here on this planet, and I’m living it.

I rejoice in my differences. I consider them blessings. And it is that mindset that lies yet another blessing; that I am not only able to embrace my uniqueness but positively glow with pride and honour to be this way.

Please, just be YOU

I wish and implore that you all do the same……be YOU…..rejoice in YOUR quirks. Learn to accept and adore your uniqueness, allow yourself growth in the challenges that you face either physically or mentally.  Don’t over shade your wonky nose…..somebody out there loves it. Don’t overdraw your thin lips……someone loves them. Don’t pout at the camera…..smile…..a big toothy real smile.  Don’t slim down your curvy figure…..instead kick out that sexy full hip and put a fierce swagger in your walk, smile with your eyes, and let those laughter lines ripple free.

The moral fibre of who I am is what I have chosen to put my absolutely all into, all the rest is merely table dressing.

We all need to realise, truly realise that it is our differences that are beautiful. We need to learn to accept and be ok, in fact, fuck that, more than ok, absolutely kick ass mother fucking love the skin you are in! The face and body that you have.  Stand up and fucking own that shit! Make it work, improve, tweak the bits you can, but don’t don’t try and be anyone else other than you!!! You are a walking miracle!

We all face adversity and challenges during our lives, some of us more than others, but we all share one thing: We all have a body and a face. Thank the lord we all look so very different.  Remember your type of favourite human features is another’s complete opposite, and that’s how we manage to procreate and continue life. ‘Tomarto’/ ‘tomayto’, Picasso/ Monet, cats/ dogs and so on.

Please don’t try and change how you look too much as it’s this unique thing that makes you, you! Don’t try to look like every other pretty girl and feel less of a human or less attractive if you don’t.

Most of the imagery we see is an illusion and everybody’s perspective is different.

Use make-up to make you feel good about yourself, not to change yourself.

I use make-up to help me feel like a woman. As well as having no hair, alopecia means having no eyebrows or eyelashes. Using make-up allows me to draw these back on and wearing a wig allows me to look ‘normal’. But when I take my make-up and wig off at the end of the day I don’t look at myself with loss or sadness……I feel lucky. Lucky to be able to have these things like make-up and wigs, lucky to be able to know how to use them in the best way and lucky that I am happy in my own skin.

Unless I choose to go under the knife….I’m pretty much stuck with this face and body for hopefully a full life time. The way we look changes with the passing of time. My baldness, lined face and slightly overweight frame haven’t always been how I look, but the woman inside remains the same. The moral fibre of who I am is what I have chosen to put my absolutely all into, all the rest is merely table dressing.

Appearances change, sometimes through age, illness or other factors.

Please please learn to accept and love yourself as who you are now, how you look now, and every, wonderful, beautiful version of yourself to come.