The Day I Forgot to Wear Makeup: An Honest Confession

It has taken me half of my life, a year of group therapy, and two cross country trips to reach the stage of life where I finally love my body. As a thirty-year-old woman - now married, and thinking about the possibility of starting a family - I reflect in detail on my awkward teen years - weren't they all? And, the crash-diet twenties when despite obsessive effort I rarely felt at peace with my body. 

(Headlining photo: Charles River, Boston)

It's all behind me now. And, it feels amazing. 

This entire year has revealed that accomplishment in giant strides. There was a weekend in Boston where I forgot my makeup (I never leave the house without it). I panicked. Foundation has been like a second skin to me. I have needed it to cover up my dark circles and uneven skin tone and bumps and bruises along the way. As a teen I attempted a total overhaul of my features using a confusing blend of orange and powder blue. (A recent girl venting session with some wonderful teenagers I know and love reminded me of this -- the tradition, it seems, continues.) 

I was meeting new friends for the first time and was dreading a lame first impression. But standing there in the hotel room—realizing my grown-up bag-of-tricks was left behind—there wasn't much I could do. So, I rolled with it (a bit anxiously -because that's my default setting) but after some calming breaths I was ready to try something new. To my complete and utter surprise, no one even seemed to notice that I wasn't wearing any. I truly blossomed that day. I saw something in myself that had been hiding - well covering up - for years. And, I liked it a lot. 

I know I'm not alone. 

Women have been fearfully covering up their imperfections since they were teenagers thinking what was underneath was some hideous discovery lying in wait. 

No amount of, 'You don't need makeup' as told by someone who loves us will ever change our minds. My husband is amazing at this, always telling me how beautiful I am even when I feel like a mess. I love him for it, but at the end of the day, only we can. 

It didn't stop there. 

In June I tried on boot camp for size. I have seen transformative photos on Fit Body Boot camp facebook pages showing people before they started showing up and kicking their own a$$ and after. I have always been a gym person, but gave up my 3-days-a-week routine for work and volunteer commitments which currently reign over my life. When a 3-week-trial for a fat-melting get-summer-ready promotion hit my inbox, I was all in

Four days a week for three weeks I showed up at 5:30pm ready to run, sweat, and push myself to the limits for some fast results. The super-secret diet that accompanied the workout was tough to acclimate to, but a week in I started to feel incredible. In pain, sure, but there were tips for overcoming that built into the program. I was loving all of it, including the nausea that followed me out the door each night. Working out my entire body was a strenuous and rewarding experience. Something I never got at the gym. 

I weighed myself after week one. Down three pounds! 

I weighed myself after week two. Back up two. 

I weighed myself after week three. Gained one. 

Seriously? 

But, after all of that, and certainly the scale has been a source of contention for me for as long as I can remember, I just knew I was feeling awesome and I was super proud of myself for giving it that honest try. I loved myself in that moment, stared at myself in the mirror admiringly when no one was watching and felt truly happy. The numbers became irrelevant. 

This is the first time in my life that happened to me. And I loved it. 

If I could look back and tell something to my younger self it would be this: 

"Hey you! I see you trying to find your place in the world. It will all make sense some day. I promise you.  I'm happy to say: it gets better."

Special thanks to the mental health projects I have recently come across that set out to eliminate the stigma of mental health and associated afflictions - i.e. BringChange2Mind. I have been empowered by the voices that came before me and bravely declared their issues so others would feel less pressure to hide. Thank You!