One of my lockdown projects has been to try and change my relationship with my appearance. I’ve blogged about it before – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/a-body-challenge/
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.