Life with a face

One of my lockdown projects has been to try and change my relationship with my appearance. I’ve blogged about it before –

My face has always felt like something to apologise for. I don’t usually do anything with it to try and make it more appealing – makeup tends to leave me feeling more horrible about myself, not less so. However, working with facepaint in recent weeks, and putting the results online has taught me some stuff.

People who like me, like my face. I’ve had a lot of affirming feedback. There are people willing to assert that they find me beautiful, with or without the facepaint. This has been a deeply emotive journey and one I did not expect and am trying to get to grips with. I’ve been working to try and feel that my face is acceptable and good enough, I have difficulty processing ideas of beauty and worth, but, there they are and I acknowledge and honour them and will try and figure out what to do with this.

I have learned that cameras are not truth. Makeup changes how skin responds to light – as does face paint. Changing the lighting changes how my face looks. Shifting the angle of my head in relation to the camera changes how my face looks. With patience I can get a range of images, more and less good, and it is ok, perhaps, to pick out the better ones. I am not the worst the camera can come up with.

Paint has given me the space to be playful with my face, to think about myself in different ways, to change the rules that live in my head. It is clearly the start of the journey, as I have a lot of issues with my body and how I do, and do not inhabit it and there have been some startling lessons on that score in recent weeks, too.

To re-imagine my face as acceptable is still a process, but more thinkable. To know there are people who like my face makes a lot of odds. I’ve got an exception thing for Tom where I have managed to accept how he feels about me because it seemed like it was just him, but perhaps it isn’t. That my face may not cause feelings of horror and dismay in everyone else who sees it. That the accident of my face is not something I need to feel ashamed of. I’ve never responded to anyone else with the loathing that my own face and body provoke in me, and perhaps I can figure out how to be more accepting of myself.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Life with a face

  • contemplativeinquiry

    Looks like a really good and affirming exploration Nimue. I like your well-crafted and expressive pictures.

  • astijake John

    Well, I realise my opinion means very little, but I think you’re lovely and I like the face painting thing, it’s good to explore and experiment. 😊👍

  • anaelleamaya

    Hi Nimue^^ The first thing you mentioned, that your “face has always felt like something to apologise for” is not true. In my opinion. We all are beautiful in our own way. 🦋 🌺 🦢 Like different animals. I agree what you said about cameras; they lie. I have always avoided to be photographed, because I fail every time. Also nowadays we compare too much ourselves to (e.g) topmodels, moviestars, (TV -series Perfect Women) and those who have a lot of makeup (made by professional artists). I used to make a make-up every day, but I noticed I look much more younger without 👍 And I also feel much more self-confident!!

  • Ivy Moon

    I liked what you said about how people who like you like your face, I think this because people’s looks are also judged on their personality. For example if somebody is a kind person you can see that kindness in the softness of their expression.

    I also love the idea of face paint, painting your face with sigils or a sacred pattern could help to make someone feel powerful, perhaps it is similar with makeup, maybe for some people makeup makes them feel powerful, more themselves through expression.

    I think you are beautiful by the way. You are clearly a nice person 😘

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