In 9th grade, my friends and I tried an experiment. We picked a random day to be “No Makeup Day” and agreed to (you guessed it) not wear makeup that day. You’ve probably realized that to make this an actual holiday, it means we wore makeup every day. Lots of it. I estimate that, freshman year of high school, it took me at least 20 minutes every morning to go through each and every step to look as perfect as humanly capable without a professional SWAT team of stylists. It was at the point where I couldn’t go to Wal-Mart or walk the dogs without my carefully blended smoky eyeshadow in place.
So imagine deciding among a group of 9th grade girls to not wear any makeup at all to school for a day.
Yeah, it didn’t work.
In fact, none of us showed up to school that day wearing any fewer than our normal five pounds of foundation, three to four coats of mascara, two shades of bronzer, and, of course, one single (deliberately) smudged line of eyeliner. Except for one, and she huffed and puffed all first period until she could escape to the bathroom and whip out her makeup bag.
What does this have to do with the creativity class I’m taking now, in my junior year of college? Everything. It took me about four years to undo all the damage done by the first time I tried on eyeshadow from Claire’s. Blue eyeshadow, might I add.
In the class, we’re learning how to undo all our fears about doing something different, about peeling off the layer we wear to hide ourselves from everyone else, like the layer of foundation I formerly couldn’t live without (and sometimes still can’t). Last class, we did an exercise that really made me stop thinking about the person I try to wear, and more about the person I shouldn’t be covering up. Creativity class, for me, is like No Makeup Day, except I can’t chicken out and I don’t want to. The exercises we do– whether it’s making up body poses or finding different ways to change our appearance– seem silly on the surface, but it’s really a way of getting us to be comfortable in our own skin. And I hope to be as confident in my creative ability as I now am without wearing makeup.
Although I still like wearing a good smoky eye now and then.