I have a confession to make: for the first time since I began my Happiness Project on February 1st, this months resolutions aren’t working out so well. That’s an understatement, actually…they’re a huge flop!! Other than my resolution to continue my shopping ban, (which is very successful!), 2 of the other resolutions I only managed to do 3 times….and the remaining 2 I haven’t done at all. Zip. Zero. Nada. No matter how you phrase it, it’s clear that the resolutions are not serving me.
So, I’m changing the game plan!
Tomorrow, for the first time since we became a family of 5, we will be embarking across this beautiful country on a family holiday!! No medical appointments this time baby! We are heading to see my husbands extended family, and to celebrate Great Granny’s 95th Birthday! We’re so very excited!! We haven’t seen many of these amazing folks in almost 6 years, so a visit is LOOOONG overdue.
What does this have to do with my game-changer for my Happiness Project? Everything. You see, before visiting with almost anyone, I usually experience some level of anxiety. Hell, I even feel it a bit before getting together with my very best friend of 25 years! I’m getting better at this as my anxiety recovery goes on though; slowly getting healthier, and more skilled at re-framing those anxious feelings as “excitement” (because the brain actually doesn’t know the difference between the two, it’s the same release of chemicals!). The prospect of driving and then flying across the country to see a large group of people does elicit some “excitement” (a much better word than “anxiety”!), for sure. And you know what ups the ante? The fact that I have changed so very much since they last saw me. I’m older, sure. I’m now more tired looking, having 3 little ones instead of only 1, yup. Much about my personality has changed as well, and my hair looks vastly different (from long & dark to short & blonde!)…but the biggest factor is that my physical body went through hell on earth, multiple times, in 2017. My body (my liver, my lungs, even some of my muscles) is forever changed by all of the surgery, procedures, and all around torture that it had to endure in order to survive, and bring our baby girl safely in to this world only months later. Those are just a few of the ways in which I both look and AM different. And all of these differences bring about even MORE feelings of anxiety…oops!!…I mean “excitement”.
“What will they think? Will they notice that my skin looks older? What about the fact that the dark circles under my eyes are permanent? What about the scars? What about the wrinkles that are so deeply ingrained on my forehead now?….” Etc….etc…etc…ETC
You know what the answer to all of that is? They love us, they love me; and we love them all right back!! No one will notice such things except for ME. And even if someone DID notice, it matters to no one but ME. I’ve always been my harshest critic…as anyone who has known me any length of time would attest to. In my past years, I would have done everything I could to build my self-esteem up from the outside in. Hell, until recently, I would avoid even going grocery shopping without my hair and make-up done. No word of a lie!! I would be too scared of someone seeing what I actually look like underneath the mask, afraid of the vulnerability of being my natural self. Usually my luggage for such a trip as this would be weighed down with numerous hair products, too many outfits, hair appliances, and of course my over-stuffed Guess make-up bag…ugh, so exhausting!! And all simply to create the effect that “I have it all together”.
And that, my friends, is pointless. No one has it “all together”.
Evy’s journey has taught me so much, he makes me a better person. And part of MY journey is getting comfortable with who I really am, and allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to let others see my authentic self. So for this trip, I am challenging myself to wear as little make-up as possible. This may sound phony to some, or superficial to others, but it’s truly not. As a person who battled with some very nasty body-image issues (and still does, to a certain degree) her entire life, challenging herself to reunite with loved ones, especially given that there will be a PHOTOGRAPHER at Great Granny’s party, with little to zero make up on is actually quite HUGE! This goes way beyond the surface level; it’s actually a challenge in vulnerability. And I’m taking it on!!
For anyone who has read some of my past posts, you know that my hubby and I have embraced & cultivated our own version of a minimalist lifestyle. We have pared down MANY of our worldly possessions, and the latest change is that we have gone from 2 vehicles to 1, whoohoo!! Our to-do list also became minimized, and so did our list of obligations. You know what else got a major overhaul? You guessed it, my make-up collection. I had my everyday make-up bag, which in itself was quite full and not tiny either!! Then I also owned 2 even larger bags that housed my “extra” makeup, and a huge case for my many MANY brushes. So you can imagine, with a collection that extensive, even when I traveled my toiletries bag gave much of it’s space to my make-up.
Here is what I would normally have taken on a trip like this one, with my Guess make-up bag containing: primer, foundation brush OR beauty blender, liquid foundation, concealer, concealer brush, mascara, eyebrow brush, blush, blush brush, powder to set the liquid with, powder brush, bronzer, bronzer brush….q tips (to clean up after my long lashes would inevitably get mascara all over my top lids!)….and finally, my urban decay setting spray. I s&%# you not!! Oh–and I would also have brought a lipsense color (or even 2) and the proper sealing gloss to go along with it. That was a grand total of SEVENTEEN items!! Can you believe that?….I can hardly believe that!! It would also eat about 30 minutes out of my family visiting time each morning just to make myself feel pretty. (And then there would be the time on my hair, geez!!!) NOT WORTH IT! Life is too damn short, my friends.
I’m proud to announce that today, I sold that Guess make-up bag. And weeks ago, I gave away almost ALL of my make-up. I’m free! No more shackles!! I even shipped 3 products back to Sephora for returns! And believe it or not, for this trip, I will only be traveling with FOUR pieces of make-up. Yup, I went from 17 everyday make-up items to FOUR. Just like that. And I am absolutely pumped about it!!!!
Do you want to know what 4 products made the cut? Here they are!!: 1) Laura Mercier Tinted Illuminating Moisturizer. I really like the brand, every product I have ever tried is very high quality, and lasts for 6 months to 1 year. This is super light-weight, adds a bit of a glow, and most importantly is much more healthy for the skin than foundation. No brushes needed! 2) NARS concealer-for the days when the dark circles are just too SCARY to ignore, ha!! 3) NARS “the multiple” stick, in the shade “maui”: this handy thing is a cream blush, lip color and even eyeshadow all in one. Best of all? No tools needed to apply, just your fingers, and it blends beautifully! 4) L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara: after doing make-up for years professionally, and trying so many different brands in my own life, I can confidently say that this is the best. mascara. EVER.
These products allow me to still be ME, to experience that vulnerability. I challenge myself to wear zero make-up as much as possible on this trip, and for the days such as Great Granny’s party, those 4 products are my only options. I’m not going to see everyone looking all made-up. I’m going looking like ME.