Monday, May 13, 2013

My Day Without Mirrors

Hello, and good morning! I hope your weekend was as lazy and wonderful as mine. Today I'm sharing my experience of the Day Without Mirrors challenge as a follow-up to my book review of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall.

THE CHALLENGE

In my opinion, looks matter to an extent. I want to look presentable. Put together. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but it becomes a problem when looks determine self-worth. Total buzz kill. One interesting tidbit I pulled from Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall is that "a woman's body image accounts for almost 10 percent of her husband's overall marital satisfaction and 19 percent of her own marital satisfaction" (p. 9). I practically raised my hand and nodded my head in agreement as I read that. I admit that feeling unattractive and self-conscious makes me isolate myself from my husband which makes getting flirty and frisky... well, non-existent, and that makes for an even more unhappy Lindsay.

One day without mirrors didn't seem so bad, so I e-mailed Kjerstin with a fully committed, "I'm in on the challenge! Let's do this!" ... and then I  thought about it. Unlike Kjerstin, I did not have practice applying basic make-up without a mirror which meant I just committed to a day of being in public with no make-up, not knowing how my clothes looked on me, and managing my "wild woman" hair simply by touch. 

I'll admit that I felt too self-conscious to do this experiment on a work day. However, I purposely chose a Saturday when I knew I'd be out and about with Mr. TBS. We ran errands, went grocery shopping, and went out to lunch. I realized how habitual looking in the mirror is for me. Brushing my teeth, doing my make-up, getting dressed, fixing my hair, washing my hands, walking past the full-length mirror in the den, and putting on gloss in the car are prime mirror times. If there is a mirror on a wall, chances are I'll look in it.

Kjerstin's focus was on body acceptance. Surprisingly, being sans make-up was giving me the most anxiety, so my focus was bare face acceptance. I'm lucky, because my husband hates heavy make-up, so I never feel pressured to sexify my make-up. (Don't get him started on the smokey eye, red lips, or foundation!) Conventionally, I know I'm prettier with make-up. I have a myriad of flaws I could list but won't. If someone else doesn't notice them right away, why point them out? ;) 

I love the feeling of my skin sans make-up, but I've realized that I'm annoyingly apologetic about my looks. I apologize to my husband when I decide to skip make-up. I apologize to him when I don't style my hair with curling gel or a flat iron. I apologize for being "so short." I apologize for ruining a picture, because the lighting brought out the bags under my eyes. I'm annoyed just thinking about it, because when I am more removed from those feelings, I realize how shallow those words are. Focusing on looks alone diminishes intelligence, talent, compassion, and wit. It's disappointing to think of how often I say those things out loud and to myself.

Typing these words here makes me feel icky, because they wreak of teen angst and compliment fishing -- not to mention they make me feel like such an anti-feminist. Since I clearly need a swift kick in the pants, I'm going to do something way outside of my comfort zone and show you my sans-make-up face.


BOOM. There I am in all my naked (face) glory. My hair was unwashed and unbrushed from the day before. As uncomfortable/embarrassed as I feel posting that, it's not the end of the world. I'm not going to indulge in the typical #sorrynotsorry/"Sorry you have to see that" blogger business. There's my bare face, and I'm okay with that (or at least, I'm trying to be).

In short, the challenge wasn't easy, because a) I use mirrors out of convenience and habit and b) I'm uncomfortable when I don't know how I am physically presenting myself to others. I came away with more than just "I did it." This was a really good exercise in acceptance and focusing on important things -- like an afternoon with my husband.

22 comments:

Amy @ A Glimpse of the Gouglers said...

You are BEAUTIFUL! With or without makeup! I mean that :) You really do look fantastic in that picture and have nothing at all to worry about.

Jenn said...

Way to go. You are absolutely beautiful even without makeup. I really do not think I could go without looking in the mirror for 24 hours. But one day, I might try.

Allie @ Between Dreams said...

I know you're not fishing for compliments here but... you are a freaking BOMBSHELL.

Seriously, I think there's something so sexy about just being "natural". Sometimes the overly-done make-up, and hair-fluffing, and what have you can really take away from that natural beauty that every woman has.

WERK IT ;)

Betsy Transatlantically said...

GOOD FOR YOU. and also I think you're beautiful. and that smile is the exact same with or without makeup, and it makes me smile!

I was thinking when you were writing about how you apologized a lot about how I tell people about my first date with Jon: I didn't want him to think it was a date, so I didn't shower, I didn't do anything with my hair, and I didn't wear make-up. that's ALWAYS part of the story - "I didn't wear make-up." who the hell cares? he clearly didn't, because nearly 5 years later we're engaged!

Belle Vierge said...

You are beautiful without makeup--but even if you weren't, you're beautiful on the inside. This is an awesome challenge, and I'm very impressed with you. I'm glad you learned some important lessons from it. :D

Ellie said...

A couple things...

1. You are still just as sickeningly beautiful without makeup as you are with it. And, as a random note, if you're ever self-conscious and feel like being apologetic, then apologize for how wonderfully sparkly your teeth are and that they detract from the rest of your awesomeness (btw, I was looking at a picture of you and S and noticed just how perfect BOTH of your smiles are...and then it made me smile (and a little jealous)).

2. Logistically, what are the rules? Obviously, no looking in home mirrors (I'm guessing you put some sort of something over them). But, what about things like windows that you walk by or the car window, etc? Obviously the goal is to avoid, but is there a line not to cross? I would really like to read the book (and likely try it for a day or so), but right now I'm getting ready to go through a couple books with J Bear together, on top of a couple others that I'm simultaneously working on, so it's not on the top of my book club list...

3. Totally separate note - check your Voxer messages (you can check it and not respond right away...it's totally ok), and then you and I need to consult for a skype date (or, worst case scenario, more frequent voxer dates)!!

Have a beautiful Monday!!

Lianne @ Lulabelle {a lifestyle blog} said...

You are gorgeous!!!

Darkside213 said...

You're crazy Linz. You are super pretty with or without make up and I'll have you know my gf agrees.

Mo (New on U) said...

You stop it. The only thing you should apologize for is how great you look without make-up! It should go something like this "I'm sorry I don't have any make-up on and I still look 100 times better than most of you - my bad!"

Leah said...

Is it wrong that for such a beautiful lady like yourself, it makes me relieved that you feel this way too? I mean c'mon, look at that fella you hooked! lol. But you know me and my big hair, I'm so self concious about 'good hair'. Never really was able to learn how to tame it so I felt like I fit in with the rest of the styling world.

Leah said...

Hahaha, I also just realized the picture I have up... not exactly what I intended to show/describe.

Meg O. said...

HA!! #sorrynotsorry .... so freakin' true. Glad you have no apologies for it, and that it is just there.

AND... you are gorgeous, makeup or no makeup! I may try this challenge during the summer!

Courtney said...

Still gorgeous!!

Gesci said...

Your smile is 4 million watts. And your hair is amazing. And your eyes are so bright and expressive!

Paul's the same way as Mr. TBS- he HATES obvious makeup. I've never taken to lipstick, and eyeshadow is only for big-deal stuff, but I do throw on mascara most days, because I hate my no-eyelashes. And I usually wear a dash of powder just because EVERY single SPF moisturizer makes me shiny. But I have gotten a lot of no-makeup confidence from being around Paul, that's true.

I doubt I'll ever stop dyeing my hair, though- especially when he teases me about my "Rogue streak" (I have a Mallen streak... which is not sophisticated OR distinguished with curly, light-colored hair. It's goofy looking.)

I like this idea, though... you've got me thinking a lot about my personal body image since you first mentioned it. You're so good at putting bugs in my head!

Kate said...

Oh, I love this. My first thought was, "That's so brave!" because I have a really hard time being without makeup, at least a little bit of it - but then I got annoyed with myself for thinking that because why should just being you, looking like you, be a "brave" thing to do? I'm interested in trying this, too...

Lisa @ MMT said...

First off, you are so beautiful! Make up or not!
Second, I really enjoyed reading this post! It made me realize how critical I am of myself without makeup. Often my husband will say "you are so pretty" and when I'm not feeling pretty or I'm not dress or wearing makeup, I will roll my eyes and say "yeah right." It's something I've been trying to fix but it's so hard! My husband actually told me " it's hard to tell you how beautiful you are when you write me off every time I say it" which in turns makes him say nice things less often. Anyways, thank you for your honesty and bringing awareness to this issue. I will have second thoughts next time I look in the mirror and think something negative.

Third, if that's what your hair looks like not being washed, I am so jealous! ;)

thepaceofitall said...

You look GREAT without makeup, my goodness I can only wish I look like that without it on. And more than that, you look so confident in that picture and I think THAT really shows.

tara said...

well consider me super jealous because you look amazing without makeup! i love me some makeup, but if my skin looked as good as yours, i'd definitely go without it sometimes!

Angie said...

I am extremely hard on myself when it comes to my looks. So much so that most of the time I don't even bother trying. I know, sad but true. You made some very good points. Sounds like you gained a lot from the experiment. Maybe I will have to give it a try! BTW You look beautiful without makeup :)

Ashley Rane Sparks said...

So I thought the un-makeup look was going to be the "before" picture. Your hair is perfect and you are beautiful with or without make up. My daughters have done this experiment with their youth group and I think it's a great lesson for young girls. Thanks so much for sharing!
Ashley Rane Sparks
www.makeitrane.com

Lins - Domesticated Working Woman said...

You just opened my eyes! The majority of my marital problems happen when I am not happy with myself. I push thugs off on my husband making it seem like I'm not happy with him when in reality it's me! I need to read this book.

Whitney H said...

You are SO beautiful with or without makeup. I didn't have enough time to put it on yesterday before work so I constantly was apologizing to people for not wearing make up!