No Make Up Month

In work the past few days discussions have been going the way of serious make-up chats. A colleague of mine is quite the cosmetic queen. She knows everything, has ALL (ALLLLLLLLLLL) the kit and has even taken a super serious course in it. I, on the other hand, change mascara every year (more like 2) and barely have the energy to put on a full face in the morning, honestly we should all be lucky I remember to brush my teeth! It got me thinking of something I did last year, just on a whim… And I always meant to talk about it.

 

I do enjoy doing my make up, I love how it makes me look and feel and of course I like to treat myself to little purchase every now and then but sometimes I feel like I have to wear make up, not just that I want to wear it. That when I don’t wear it I look tired. Or that I’m not fully “work-appropriate” without a slick of mascara, that I’m not finished. Or that a “no make up” is seen as something one does on resting/chill day. These thoughts are obviously silly but it did get me thinking about how engrained make-up has become in my daily life.

 

So that’s why summer last year “obviously when I had built up a less than Irish glow” I decided to not wear n0 make-up for a month. Yes, a whole month. I know there are two types of people. Some who right now are yelling “Nooooooope!” as the read this and others (like me) who think “Pfft! That’s a piece of cake! Sure I barely wear make upas it is.”

 

I wanted to see two things…

 

Firstly, would anyone actually notice that I’m not wearing any make up (believe me, I have friends who are that forward). Would people comment on my appearance, did I look tired, pale, over-worked etc. And secondly, I wanted to see if I could be truly comfortable in my own skin. If I could love my face; moles, freckles, wandering eyebrow hair and all! Acceptance of yourself is important and honestly a struggle for me but I sort of like my face (hence all the selfies) so I thought it would be just fine!

 

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And honestly, it was.

 

No one! And I mean no one noticed I hadn’t worn any make up. Even when I mentioned it to my friends/ work colleagues. They were surprised, they assumed they would notice. Which of course made me feel great, like I had a super duper face! And for the most part I honestly loved not wearing make-up. I loved having those extra 10 minutes in bed, I loved being able to rub my eyes and not look like a panda, I LOVED not having to wipe it off before going to bed, or having to touch it up or have it rub off onto my clothes. There was this beautiful sense of freedom… Until…

 

Until I went of for drinks. This was a whole other ball game. Suddenly I felt naked! That I no longer looked my best without “putting my face on.” People would certainly notice if I had no make up on at night, people would judge. I felt lazy and unkempt. Even my outfits looked odd without make up! I felt wretched and so unprepared for what was just drinks my now husband and our buddy. To cheer myself up I took a selfie, posted it up on Instagram and instantly my sister was gushing over me. That was all the encouragement I needed. I was just insecure. I had gone to work without my make-up done hundreds of times but this was new. Something I had never attempted. A scenario where I have always felt make-up was necessary. And again, no one looked at me weird, nothing was said (other than compliments). I had a great night, I even enjoyed two more nights out that month sans make-up. I was beginning to get used to the whole thing.

 

What did I learn? Well, that I don’t really hate my face and that I can “get away” without wearing make up pretty much all the time. I should only have to wear make up when I want to… I shouldn’t feel pressured by society to cover my face if I actually don’t want to. There are women who simply love the slap and enjoy the whole process and have a foundation for every second of the week because they live and breathe beauty. Some women see it as a shield to get then through their day. Their make up is on and nothing can stop them.

 

And some girls are like me and can’t be bothered half the time and that’s alright to.

 

Wear make-up or don’t wear make-up. It’s only ever for you…

Wedding Day Belly Love

I have always had a belly. From as long as I can remember my belly has stuck out. I got older, hit puberty, grew a fierce rack and hips and my belly got a little bigger. Then it got a lot bigger… And then it got small again. But it’s forever been there. And I have forever had issue with it. And for years I tried to hide it. Accentuate the other, more desirable parts to me. Hide the bulge at all costs. But my God, that’s so boring. So I stopped and started wearing clothes that showed off my lovely curves (and they are lovely – I truly truly love them.)

 

Well that was until I got engaged. And I looked like NOTHING (nothing, nothing, nothing, nada, nope) in the bridal magazines. And I realised this was the one day I would be COMPLETELY (hello spotlight!) on show. Everyone will be looking at me, everyone will notice. I’m in white, it can’t be helped.

 

We went dress shopping. And I fell in love. I fell in love with a dainty, sexy number with hints on 1930s glamour. I tried it one and instantly my mother quoted Jessica Rabbit, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” I looked so good in it, everyone thought so (and I brought quite the entourage). My only little (teeny weeny) niggle? My belly showed through. Only a tiny bit but I was scared that at the wrong angle or with bad knicker situation (which did happen a little) it could look so much worse. Everyone would see the belly, the one thing I do not want to show! But the dress was just too good to pass up, I was in love with inspite of my belly. And I even thought to myself that maybe (for once and for all) I could flatten my tummy.

 

Well that didn’t happen…

 

And my knickers cut in a bit if I let them slip…

 

So I had belly on my wedding day… and I still looked INSANE! I mean look at me!

 

belly-9

 

LOOK!

 

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AT!

 

 

ME!

 

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FIERCE! Even with no make up on and hungover to boot!

 

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I can’t tell you how many times I freaked out between picking my dress and actually wearing it on the day. I was petrified my belly would ruin everything, that I wouldn’t be beautiful. That I would be the first bride in history to not make her groom swoon. I tried eating better, working out specifically to target said region (which is a waste of time!) and tested several thousand pairs of knickers! I even scoured the internet in search of similar buxom women who rocked a fitted gúna on their big day. I found some by the way, they were all stunners! But I was still afraid…

 

But I look at these photos now and see that I was beautiful and happy. Not that I’m fat, not that my belly sticks out… that I am beautiful and happy. Happy.

 

I want the brides of tomorrow to wake up to just how beautiful you are, how happy you are and how good your dress makes you feel. You guys will be perfect, as I was. You guys will be fierce, as I was. You guys will be so utterly happy, as I am.

 

Thanks to Hinterland Stills for taking our shots, you guys were KINGS!

Prisoner to my weight…

I’m tired. Tired of wanting to be thinner, tired of training and then feeling like I can’t have that big hunk of Toblerone, tired of counting calories, watching everything I eat, pouring litres of water into me, trying to eat less carbs, more protein, no sugar! Tired of being bombarded with weightloss stories, “best 5 tips for busting belly fat” bullshit and articles on people who now lift weights and are looking better than ever. And I’m tired of wanting to read them. Tired of trying to find an answer to my weightloss plateau, tired of not seeing results, tired of being told that ergs don’t actually help weightloss but still having to go on them, tired of reading articles on my metabolic rate and under-eating, over-eating, training at the wrong time of the day, not having enough good fats. Tired of macros!

Tired of punishing myself for not being smaller. Tired of looking at my friends and wondering how I’m not their size, we do the same training, we eat the same food. It’s their fucking height, woman! Tired of having to remind myself that I still look good. Tired of not feeling like an athlete because I don’t look like an athlete. Tired of having unsweetened tea and not having a biscuit at 3pm. Tired of counting my steps everyday to make sure I take enough, regardless of my actual training. Tired of hearing about a new diet, a new book, a new way of thinking. Tired of detoxes, juice cleanses. Tired of “resetting” my body, my metabolism, my anything! Tired of making smoothies that look like pond scum (though they do taste alright!)

Tired of cutting calories more and more, tired of not being able to enjoy my food. Tired of being controlled by numbers; kilos, inches, minutes. Tired of being afraid I won’t fit into my clothes, fit into my wedding dress. Tired of watching the scales yo-yo and not understanding why, grand if I binged but what if i didn’t, what if I was good as gold! Tired of working out what I can eat tomorrow to stay on calorie target. Tired of hearing “fail to prepare and prepare to fail.” Tired of feeling lazy, tired of feeling weak, tired of feeling judged if I do and judged if I don’t.

You are fed this notion that being thinner will make you happy. And it’s true… for awhile. But then you start to feel normal and new flaws emerge, new insecurities, new problems. I don’t think I need to “reset my body” I think I need to reset my mind, shut my negative thoughts down, their exhausting! I just want to live my life, be with the people I love, enjoy the food I like and be part of the sport I adore. I want to eat and train, not diet and exercise. I want to understand and truly believe in my heart that my body is stronger, fitter and healthier than it ever has been before. I don’t want to be a prisoner to my weight anymore, I thought I broke free from those shackles a long time ago.

But I haven’t.

Every woman I know is on a diet, cutting back, training more, “being good”. And I’m so tired of it. Where is the self love, where is the body positivity? Food is not taboo, food is not the enemy. Your mind is. Yes, be healthy. Yes, be fit. And course eat well. But I can’t hate my body anymore.

I’m just too tired.

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