Freedom from makeup

I’m probably a what would be termed a “late bloomer” when it comes to the traditional “girly” stuff. I frankly never much cared for experimenting with hair and makeup and clothing was something much more functional than decorative to me. I managed to live most of my growing up years with this perspective and was honestly perfectly happy.

Then, I went to law school and I started to assimilate the outward requirements of being an attorney.  It was actually a little surprising to me how much of what I learned seemed like a uniform. The requirements, I learned, included the whole picture and because ones appearance is something that could affect one’s client, I started really paying attention.

I was still looking for low maintenance options, so I tried to purchase full outfits for court, not trying to accessorize or create something on the fly. I still can’t do that well. I watched other lawyers and I developed my own “style.” I still asked my hairdresser to give me a haircut that required no work and I was always looking for makeup sets that made it super easy and straightforward.

Then, I went through pregnancy and breastfeeding while running a busy litigation firm. My style relaxed quite a bit and I’ve not really worn heels since or wanted to. I had learned a few tricks along the way and I think the adjustments I made really did make me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

And then, the biggest change of all, my diagnosis with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. While some of the men and women I know continued to dress up to feel better as they went through chemo, I actually welcomed the lack of necessity to wear makeup, to wear uncomfortable clothes. I happily started to wear pajama type loungewear as I went from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment and frankly, that’s what I still do most of the time, pajamas or yoga clothes.

While I can’t wrap my head around the idea that cancer is a good thing or has been a “blessing,” what I can embrace wholeheartedly is that cancer has some silver linings. For me, the fact that I don’t have the bandwidth to care as much about my appearance or care that other people care about my appearance, is pretty liberating. It’s enough of an effort to get out of bed some days. Some days, I don’t have the energy to do anything but ensure that my clothes kinda match and I’ve brushed my teeth.

So, if you see me in an actual outfit, with actual makeup, and have actually made an effort with my hair, you should feel very very special. I still do these rituals, I still look for outfits and I’m quite happy with the fact that its no longer my norm to spend hours making sure every hair is in place and everything coordinates perfectly. My boys don’t care about that and I’m perfectly happy not making a big deal of it either.

34 thoughts on “Freedom from makeup

  1. Love this! It’s 11:30am and I’m still in my jammies. I’m retired, on disability and I no longer care about what I did as a career. And while lounging on the couch, I look up at my husband and daughter who are working from our home, smile, and say, “I’m retired.” Yes, there are awful days with MBC, but I’ll take this morning.

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  2. I have always loved pajamas, but never more than when Iโ€™m not feeling well. And on days when getting out of bed is the hardest thing, who gives a flying fish what someone else thinks anymore? Lol Same with make up. I rarely bother. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ

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  3. I had an interesting experience regarding how I present in public after Mets diagnosis. I attended a family funeral and saw people I hadn’t seen since my diagnosis. So many people told me “You look great!” that I became more concerned about how I looked. I usually can go through the day without looking in the mirror or fixing my hair or reapply lip gloss. From that time on, when I know I’m going to see people that I rarely see, I am somewhat uncomfortable knowing that they are looking at me and using my physical presentation to try to assess how I’m doing.
    That said, I also realized that I would do the same thing if I were to see someone who was diagnosed with a chronic condition. I would be looking at them to see how it ‘looks’ like they are doing. I would not however comment “You look great!” or “You look…….”

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    1. You are SO RIGHT!! Those speculative glances and stares. I remember them so well from when I was bald and when I see people I haven’t seen in a while. I don’t think we will ever get away from the appearance focused evaluation and I do think that people end up saying something to avoid saying nothing. Questions would be much preferred rather than commentary for the sake of filling the silence. Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response!!

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  4. Hi Abigail,
    I’m not sure if COVID or cancer did that for me. I still put on eye make-up if I’m going out, but even clear sunscreen is a pain because I sweat it off instantly and it makes me hotter than I already am. AND, I’ve let my hair go natural, which is a surprising mix of brown and gray with a little green, my husband tells me. He also adds that he likes it, which is kind since it makes my make-up-less face look pastier that it already was. ๐Ÿ™‚ But talk about easy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. It’s very freeing, and a whole lot cheaper! I went a year after getting cancer with no appointments. Now I go for a trim every month. By the way, I will be featuring/reblogging your blogposts during the month of October.

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  5. I stopped wearing my contact lenses because of the pandemic, and because of quarantine I never put on make up anymore unless I am on a Zoom meeting. I find I need tons of it then or I look like I have only recently emerged from some sort of mummification. But I guess with the sunglasses and a mask who needs make up anyway?

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  6. Aw, I can relate with you growing up not caring about makeup or hairstyles. My mom was strict with how we dress up. But nothing out of ordinary. I still continue except mascara and lipstick when I attend parties. Comfortable clothes are necessities for me. My boys and hubs dont care and I am more than happy with my simple lifestyle.

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  7. Being relaxed and feeling comfortable are the best feelings in the world! Its funny though for me I feel comfortable in wedges, high heels, and dresses. I’m super girly, lol! My family has always wondered where I came from ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ. I found out my Grandmother was the same way and it makes me feel more connected to her because I never had the pleasure of meeting her! Doing what makes you happy and being comfortable are pretty awesome! Great post ๐Ÿ’•

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  8. I can relate so much. I stopped wearing heals when I had kids 28 years old, and after cancer and the mastectomies I stopped wearing jewelry, make up and let my hair grow out its natural color.
    I don’t feel ordinary I feel authentic. And I only wear exactly what I want to…I don’t need to conform to be pleasing. My soul is shining from within. I realized I only have one chance at life, and I want people to know the real me. When I do wear makeup or jewelry it’s because I feel in the mood to show my artistic nature. Anyway I loved reading your post.

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