Makeup & Masks.

The other day I was driving to work, crying.

I normally drive to work, but not usually crying. In fact, the crying is very rare and only certain things set me off; men crying in films, confrontation and cutting onions.

I’m not great at mornings and so often forgo things in order to get more sleep; hair, makeup, breakfast. Over time I realised that I could sleep for a little longer if I did my makeup in the car. I have a reasonably long drive to work, which means I can get away with doing most of my makeup whilst stuck in traffic and at traffic lights.

So this particular morning, I had left for work with my makeup undone and the tears sporadically falling. I figured that once I got these pesky tears under control, I could start my makeup routine. Any girl can tell you there’s no point bothering with mascara if there’s a potential for tears. What a mess.

But just when I thought I had them under control, they’d start back up again. It was a disaster. I was nearly halfway there and I hadn’t started my makeup. Eventually I just decided I needed to get this show on the road and even if it meant I had to touch up my makeup, I should at least start. Weird thing was, as soon as I started to actually apply the makeup – I instantly stopped crying and the tears never came back. BAM, crisis averted.

Immediately I was hit with the incredible symbolism of that moment. That I literally was covering up my face and in doing so, covering up my pain. Hiding it away under a layer of Napoleon & Lancôme.

Does this kind of moment sound at all familiar to anyone?

Perhaps it’s a big but fake smile that you’ve perfected over the years. Perhaps it’s a busy routine that stops you from feeling. Perhaps it’s a critical spirit or an intense sense of humour or a perfectly curated instagram feed. Layers and layers of “makeup” so perfectly applied that you’ve forgotten you were hurting in the first place.

What’s your go to mask? What do you do to hide the pain that you’re experiencing? What’s your routine that prevents you from being real and vulnerable with people?

Masks are deceptive little things.

With my makeup mask firmly in place – it was incredible easy for me to move on with my day. I could pretend it had never happened. It didn’t have any impact. It didn’t hurt. I’m good, over it – ‘look how perfect my face (life) is’.

With my makeup mask firmly in place – it would have been easy to arrive at work and pretend like nothing had happened. How ridiculous to answer ‘how are you this morning?’ with a ‘not great actually’. How crazy to ask for help, for someone to talk to?

The problem with masks is twofold.

You stop yourself from healing, actually forgiving and forgetting. The mask tricks you. You didn’t actually work through it – you covered it up. When you take your “makeup” off at the end of the day, all that grit is still there.

You also prevent anyone from being a part of the healing process. The mask tricks people and says ‘back off – I don’t need you’. You prevent relationship – which when you’re alone, mask-less – is all you really crave. Honest and real relationship.

The whole thing is crazy. No one wants to hide his or her pain all day. No one wants to shun honest relationship. So, how do we stop? How do we get better at being honest with each other, with ourselves?

I don’t really know. But writing this was step 1 for me.

I want to learn how to be real and vulnerable. And not just because it’s trendy to be authentic but because masks are tiring and toxic for me and for you. It prevents me from dealing with the not so perfect parts of life and it prevents you from connecting with me – the real me. Yuck.

When I figure out step 2, maybe I’ll let you know.

A letter to my 16 year old self

I’ve seen this idea floating around social media/blogosphere lately but it was Sarah Starrenburg’s own post to her 20 year old self that caught my interest. Here is my own version.

Hey hot stuff,

Look, I’m going to be honest and I’ll set some things straight. I know that’s how you like it and trust me, nothing’s changed. You’re still getting frustrated with dishonest and fake people, so my advice to you is just to chill out about it. Be honest and true to yourself and everything will be fine.

Boys in 2012 are still boys as it turns out. If I could give you a piece of advice now it would be to stop trying to change them. They aren’t ready for you and actually, you aren’t ready for them either. I’d love it if you could focus a little bit more on you and your girlfriends. That’s more important. I’m really sorry about that broken heart. It WILL be fine. You WILL be able to laugh about it. You WILL learn.

I’m glad you don’t appear to be too stressed about your future plans and goals cos that’s all still up in the air. You should be focussed on who you are as a person, not what you will do.

Keep serving. Keep being faithful. Keep putting effort into relationships. It sucks right now and you feel like the only one who is committed to anything. It pays off.

Oh are you still reeling from the fact I called you hot stuff? I’m sorry you feel like nobody wants you and that might be because of the way you look or the way that you dress. You end up being someone who is comfortable in her own skin and is known for dressing that way as well. Jesus finds you extroadinarily beautiful, and you’ll reach a point where you learn that as truth.

These people that are currently hurting you at school. The gossip, the drama, the cliques. Don’t worry, you make better friends and you keep the best friends around. You meet amazing people who love you for you and who encourage you and make you a better person. Drama does fade. I know you hated it then, you hate it now. But you will grow up, and so will everyone else.

Be prepared to attend a lot of weddings as a single girl. It will be hard and beautiful all at the same time. Embrace seasons of confusion and pain. They are when you learn the most about yourself.

I’m so glad you know Jesus right now. Your life isn’t perfect and actually, it will be hard. But take it from someone who knows, you won’t be the girl of your own dreams if you don’t hold onto Him. Hold on tight. 

Oh, and start saving for Jimmy Choo’s now. I’d appreciate it.

Love, Steffany.

Heart Felt

Honest Thoughts. If you can’t handle the truth. Get off my blog.

#1 Lately I’ve been feeling very in touch with my inner emotions. Maybe I am feeling things more deeply for some particular reasons. I’m feeling joy on a very extreme level, but that also means I am feeling pain on a more acute level. I think though, that I’d much prefer to live with intense emotions. To live in a constant state of mundane and lukewarm feelings would be depressing.

#2 I’d rather be a honest and true friend with few, than a fake and popular friend with many.

#3 The hardest thing about learning a lesson twice isn’t actually the pain from the lesson. It’s the fact you had to learn it all over agin.

#4 My future husband should be the only one who gets the privilege of seeing me in all my glory. I ain’t giving my glory away to just any random.

#5 I care too much about the way that I look. If you see my rocking some bad hair do’s and many repeat outfits, I’m trying to care less.

#6 I’m fairly intelligent. Sometimes people feel the need to explain simple jokes to me, and they seem shocked when I tell them I’m completely a university degree, so I wonder if perhaps I give out a ‘dumb’ vibe. Just for the record, I’m really not dumb.

#7 My sister and I have way too much in common. Either she is really mature for her age, or I need to grow up a bit. Maybe the latter. Probably should think about getting rid of some Zac Efron paraphernalia.

#8 I want my future husband to be surprised once we get married. I want to have not given away everything I have to give away before then. I need to hear ‘Wow I really had no idea’ every now and then.

#9 You can only really keep about a handful of people in your life that you reguarly and meaninfully connect with. Who’s in your hand?

#10 I would be even happier with my life if I could end up being a writer/actor/professional Gilmore Girls expert.

If I’m being really honest. All I really want out of life is love. Love of the Father and if I’m lucky, my friends, my family and a hunky hottie that can tolerate and love my crazy ways.

Things I’ve noticed recently..

  • To build up your comment tally – post something meaningless.. then don’t post again for another week.. Proof = 26 comments.. From a 4 worded post!
  • Sometimes it’s easier to be honest with everyone else than it is to be truly honest with yourself.
  • People tend to neglect their blogs during exam time..
  • Aquarium’s are apparently all the rage!
  • That one can never have too many pillow’s.. I have 8 and counting..
  • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with praying for puppies..
  • The later at night it gets – the brighter everyone’s headlights seem..
  • That there are several types of friends..

Friends you only joke around with, friends you only fight with, friends who “get” you, friends who don’t seem to have a thing in common with you, friends who pray for you, friends you pray for, friends you spend all your time with, friends you never see, friends you encourage, and friends who encourage you..and friends who just seem to be an odd but great combination of everything.

Laura Fraser and I had lunch today – we held hands and kissed.. TWICE!!