I love make up but I don’t know if I love it in the same way as other people do. Actually I don’t think I do because I don’t really love wearing it all that much, I really hate the physicality of it on my face. But I love doing it and what I love more is the feeling I get wearing it, I feel like Lizzo…
Right now, make up, particularly eye shadow is my creative outlet. I did art all the way though school and it was a constant place for me to go, plug in my headphones and just create and I really miss that. So for me, doing eyeshadow in very non neutral colours on me and anyone else who wants it is so much fun and I love it. Recently I was talking to someone who wanted to change up their make up and to me it seemed they felt obliged to wear their make up in a particular way – like everyone else. And it led me to a rather preachy place where I wanted to make sure they knew that makeup isn’t about looking like everyone else, but reflecting who you feel you are.
Makeup shouldn’t be an obligation
And this is so important. People have a natural tendency to fall in line and do what everyone else does because it’s harmonious. But expressing yourself and being different doesn’t equal disharmony – if anything I think it adds to it. On the rare occasion I see someone walking through town centre wearing something that’s different or bold or bright, it always makes me smile, without fail because seeing someone be themselves and express themselves makes me think that in some places in the world at least, there are environments where people can feel comfortable and at ease in who they are. And that’s a brilliant thing something I want to foster more of in the world.
But what I love about makeup, and this goes for other outlets of expression is that they don’t define me. Just because I wore blue eyeshadow on a night out doesn’t categorise me as a certain type of person. If anything it opens me up to a multitude of opportunities to express how I feel that day. And in the same breath, it doesn’t force me into anything I don’t want – I can take it off in one wipe.
I’ve seen a lot of debate on whether make up is a mask. Whether using it is a way to cover up and hide yourself and honestly I think it’s a load of crap.
If you want to wear anything to either hide OR reveal anything about yourself you have every right to do so. Yes, makeup can be a literal mask but who’s to say anyone’s hiding anything. Makeup comes from a place of covering up things but it doesn’t mean that resonates thousands of years later. I think it’s rather an opportunity for acceptance from the person who’s wearing it to the person who sees it. Those who express themselves “unconventionally” push the boundaries for others to do so and dare to be accepted. And those who watch have a choice of judgement whether to accept it or not. Acceptance isn’t tolerance, and whilst there are still people who won’t accept and welcome it with warm arms, our acceptance and conventions are changing through generations. This is exciting, this is hopeful.
“what we say has two meanings; what you say and what’s heard”
I heard someone wise say the other day: “what we say has two meanings; what you say and what’s heard” and I think that applies here. Although most of us may not feel the need to express ourselves in these creative ways, it doesn’t mean your interpretation and reaction to it means any less. People, no matter how thick they claim their skin is will always be affected by opinions and your one look of surprise may effect someone else in a way you never intended.
Expression doesn’t just come down to this particular type I’ve talked about. However think about the difference between someone’s normalised expression such as singing and someone’s unconventional expression like this. In my view I feel life should be a celebration of humanity, let people live and be who they want to be.