Monday, March 17, 2014

Let Your Face Be Seen in 2014!

As I've been gearing up for No MakeUp May 2014, I've noticed a meme going around Facebook of women posting themselves makeup free, #nofilters.

In light of a similar challenge calling friends to shotgun a bottle of whiskey and any other ridiculous liquid you can think of, it excites me to see this trend taking off, especially now as May is around the corner.

I started No MakeUp May 2 years ago as a way to explore my own relationship to makeup, to see what came up when I put the makeup down (you can read more about it here).  And never to one to do something small or alone, I challenged other women to join me as well.  One was a teacher and shared the amazing story of how when she challenged her own classroom of boys and girls to go with no makeup, it sparked an incredible conversation on how boys see the girls in their class.  It was especially transformative for one young girl who dared to go bare for just a day.

So as May 1st doth approach I invite you to show your courage and go nude - whether a day, a week, a month or for the minute it takes to take a photo.  Either way, answer the survey and follow this blog and together let's support one another as we bare our bare face to the world!

I also invite you to join the "Nude Gallery" by sending me a photo of your radiant face to!

And here's my own first "naked" photo of 2014:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No Makeup May 2013!!!!!

It is the eve of May 1st.  Just another month?  For some.  For me? It means facing the world bare faced and bold….at least that’s what I’d like to be.

As the date has been looming, I have seriously debated whether or not I wanted to do this again.  The message still rings true for me; for women living in full permission to be their amazing authentic selves. 

No Make Up May started for me, when I watched a documentary called MissRepresentation.  It’s a brilliant exploration of how media portrays women.  Though we have come so far in earning recognition as human beings (this was at the heart of the feminist movement), in so many ways we are still viewed as the weaker sex and our roles are relegated to sex toy, eye candy and servants and woe to you if you don’t fit into any of those categories.

As much as we want to blame men and media for putting us in this position, there is a responsibility we must own.  This is where No Makeup May comes in.
See, I’m not against makeup. I’m against the message we are potentially sending ourselves when we put it on – I am not good enough without my makeup.  I’m hideous, I wouldn’t dare be seen in public.  It is a symptom of putting more importance and worth on our looks than on who we are and our impact in the world.

I’m tired of the commercials telling me that my teeth need to be whiter, my skin needs to be wrinkle free, my eyelashes need to be fuller and longer.  Yet we are mortified when we hear of young girls starving themselves to look like models in the magazines, 25 year olds using botox, 18 year olds getting implants for their birthdays.  If we’re buying the products we are agreeing that this is the way it should be.

So for one month I challenged all of us to find out what lies beneath the makeup.  What I found?  Freedom, acceptance, more time in the morning and a deeper appreciation for myself.   But 11 months later I am back in full faced make up – not as much as this time last year but enough to make me shudder at the thought of what tomorrow is.

Where I find my courage, however, is in knowing that I am one voice that will not accept that I am my looks.  I refuse to accept that it is innate for a woman to be insecure.  I call forth the greatness in all women – the beauty, creativity and strength that is found in the feminine that has the power to transform our world. 

So with the fear of being judged I go forth into May sans makeup. I will let the radiance of my humor, intelligence, compassion, authenticity and enthusiasm be my makeup and I will continue to be another current that will turn this Titanic around of where true self worth is found.

Will you join me for the month?  For a week? For a day?  Will you explore what lies beneath your mask?  I hope you will share what you find as we go through this month together .  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mission Accomplished!

31 days makeup free
31 days of having to see
  31 days of finding my power
Then wanting to hide in a faraway tower
But as the days passed by I began to discover
 That underneath it all was my long lost lover
Eyes of clear blue that saw deep in my heart
And spoke words of commitment to the most broken parts
She spoke of my courage, my wisdom, my strength
And to grant me my freedom she would go to great lengths
For this self imposed prison, I've been granted the key
Stepped through gates of love and at last embraced me!

I began this blog journey with a quote from a FAR greater poet - 
"Love is not love which alters when alteration it finds" ~ William Shakespeare
True beauty is seen through the eyes of love and what I've learned throughout this month is that to love myself is to see myself as I am, blemishes and all, and know that I am beautiful.  Advertisers would have us think differently.  "Go ahead love yourself, but wouldn't be easier if you had less wrinkles?  Or dewy skin?"

Now, is that to say that women who wear makeup don't love themselves?  OF COURSE NOT!  
But for some and certainly for me it was so.  

I think of another quote that I have also become more deeply connected with this month.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, GORGEOUS, talented fabulous?  Actually, who are you NOT to be!" ~ Marianne Williamson
See, for me, putting on makeup or finding the right fitting clothes, or shoes, or accessories, or whatever, was all about me saying, 'I have no right to be gorgeous, or even somewhat attractive, as I am'.  Who am I to walk into a room and have people notice?  So I apologize and fix myself in order to fit in, to meet the correct standards so that I can exist in the world.  Meanwhile, inside me there is wisdom and insight, humor and music, intelligence and truth.  But none of that mattered because the package never seemed suitable.  

Now I'd love to report that I have been completely transformed.  That after 31 days of seeing myself I have had a life changing epiphany and will never wear makeup or feel small again but alas, it is not so.  If there's one thing I've learned this month is that, this is a complex and deeply rooted issue.

But I'm certainly not where I was 31 days ago.  Indeed, 32 days ago I knew the only way I could do it was the fact that I had announced to so many people that I was going to do this in an effort to change the world.  I had to put my money where my mouth was and I am so glad that I did.  I realised that it IS possible.  And that there is so much to be learned in doing it.  

I wanted to spark conversations, get people thinking and that has happened.  And mostly I wanted to know that I could truly see myself and not apologize.  I also wanted us to find out what emerges when we start swimming up the stream of perfection.  What would we bump up against when casting aside our makeup or whatever we use to cover our perceived imperfections. 

One strange thing that I did notice, that I can't quite put my finger on, is that I found it easier to truly embrace my reflection without makeup.  Maybe, because I was no longer hiding behind the made up veneer, I was forced to see myself as I truly am and, I have to say, I was kinda happy with what I saw; what I see.  

I am a complex organism made up of many many cells all with their unique function to make me a walking, talking, thinking, feeling, human being.  I am complete with thoughts, spirit, emotion and energy.  My purpose in this world is to awaken the truth in others.  To inspire people to choose life (not necessarily in that anti-abortion way but rather in the, make choices that will move your life forward in the direction you desire way) and choose love (as in love for yourself and love for others cause if you truly loved then you would truly want the best for yourself and for others) in every moment (as in THIS moment because THIS moment is the only moment we have, it is the only thing that is NOW, that is real and that is tangible.  It is in THIS moment that everything can change.  Not the past moment and not the future moment, NOW).  

And none of this has anything to do with what I look like.  It will not change if I'm wearing lipstick or not.  Okay sure, the world will embrace me differently but I choose to believe that I have the power to change that.  One month at a time!

So thank you everyone for your support - whether from the sidelines, or by letting your true radiance show or even by financially supporting the cause that I am also hoping to support - Juno House.  

This has been a great beginning and it is only the beginning.  Stay with me and together we will change the world for the better, for ourselves, for those who went before us and those that will follow in our path.  Let's continue to be the change in a world that so desperately needs truth, love and acceptance.   

Monday, May 28, 2012

What Do You Hate?

Ahhh, it's the classic make you feel better tactic used the world over.  The "I can out self-deprecate you".  How many times have you been woefully mourning the lack of an endowed bosom only to have a friend chime in saying "I wish I had smaller boobs, try buttoning these melons into a nice blouse" or longing for perfect bouncy ringlets only to have another friend cry out for straight hair.  It's the greener grass of beauty.

As I was at my local grocers this week one of the more popular "Celebrity News"magazines popped out at me with an article - "Celebs Confess: What I Hate about my body".  I had to buy it cause I just knew it was gonna give me some great material for No Makeup May.  I paid $5.49 for what I'm sure was intended to make all us "normal" women feel better cause, guess what?

  • Jessica Alba hates her boobs
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt hates her hips
  • Cameron Diaz hates her hair
  • Jennifer Aniston hates her butt
  • Kim Kardashian hates her legs
  • and the one that tops them all.........Angelina Jolie hates her lips!!! Her lips?  How much bloody camera and ink time has been dedicated to her full voluptuous lips?!?!  
There! Don't you feel better?  

These women who we have been told, over and over again, are examples of "true beauty" don't even like parts of themselves.  What the hell is wrong with this picture?!?!  This doesn't make me feel better! I look at their beautiful bodies that have been flaunted in television and magazines and am painfully aware that I look NOTHING like them!  So if they hate what they've got well it's time to start reading "Agoraphobia for Dummies" cause there's no way I'm goin outside again!

But seriously, the saddest part I find about this article that sprawled across the two page spread, over top photos of these beautiful women are the words "I HATE MY...".  How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror or in conversation with friends and said "I hate my thighs, or my nose, or my ass."  We isolate each body part, creating enemies of our under arms, our breasts, our whatever.
But here's a different perspective, every part of your body is yours to do with what you will.  Your ass did not decide one day to detach itself and go live the hi life while you slaved away at the gym.  Hating it will not somehow magically transform it into the most beautiful posterior the world has ever seen.  How can we ever love our bodies if it is hate that motivates us to alter or improve it?  Don't run 10km, 5 times a week to get rid of your jiggly tummy, run 10km because it strengthens your heart, and stretches your lungs and moves your muscles.  Stop forcing broccoli down your throat so you can "pull off" that sexy dress but because it is what your body longs for in order to function.  

I wish articles like this never made it to print.  I wish it was no longer acceptable to hate any part of who we are.  It's time to make peace with ourselves and to fall in love again with the body that has served us as well as we have allowed it to.  

My challenge is for all of us to spend even 2 minutes focusing in on our "trouble spots".  Then begin to let your focus take in everything around that spot until you are seeing yourself complete and whole.  And from there look into your soul and see the real you - whole, creative, natural, beautiful, potential incarnate. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Essence of Beauty

*this photo was taken a year ago so please ignore the fact that I'm wearing makeup :)

If I am 20 pounds lighter someone will love me.  If my skin is clearer someone will love me.  If I drive a sexy new car someone will love me.  If I carried a $5000 purse someone will love me. 

How many conditions do we put on being considered worthy of love?  Can we do enough? Buy enough? Work enough?  Give enough?  And what is enough?  And since when was love something to be earned? The beauty of love is that it is given freely.  

If we lose those 20 pounds or if those pimples finally clear up, are we smarter? are we funnier? are we more compassionate? Are we more brave?  I dare say the only thing a "perfect" exterior gives you is the confidence to look people in the eye and be counted as equal.  But what if you could do that no matter what? 

I think of a friend who I've watched fluctuate over 100 pounds throughout the years.  To me she was always the same whether she had lost 100 pounds or put it back on.  The only time I realised her weight had changed was when I saw a before photo.  The eyes of this beholder saw was her amazing essence.  Everything that she is, which is brilliant, insightful, inspiring, cute, playful, flirtatious and fun.  Her weight never changed who she truly was.  

You are beautiful, not because you achieved the proper measurements or finally tamed your blemishes or saved up enough for the perfect outfit.  

You are beautiful simply because you are.  

You Are.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Be Good to Yourselves, We Might Be Watching

I recently watched a documentary that explained how throughout pregnancy and during the birthing process large amounts of a certain hormone is released in the mother that actually makes her extra protective over the small vulnerable life that is about to enter the world.  A woman's body is automatically equipped to do everything to protect their child.  

One thing I think many mothers fail to protect their daughters from, however, is the endless judgement they place on themselves.  They think their daughters aren't watching when they look dejectedly in the mirror as they slip into last year's swim suit, that their little ears don't understand what crows feet and cellulitis mean.  But we know and we learn.  Parents can say "do as I say" but kids will still do as you do.   

I learned from my mother to take note of the size of my thighs, to worry about the small veins that are starting to appear on my legs, to make sure my heals are smooth and moisturized, to try drinking coconut milk so I lose weight.  I didn't learn this because she told me I needed to work on these things;  I learned it from listening to her own heart breaking criticisms and attempts at physical self improvement.  

When i think of my mom, however, I think of how she used to let me swing between her legs when she sat in her housecoat - I don't really know how to describe how this worked, it just did and it was awesome - I think of how she would make finger tracks in the carpet when she vacuumed so I could jump from one to the next; I think of how she bought a ticket to a football game just to hear me sing the national anthem; I think of how she works so hard and is so lovely that everyone is in admiration when they meet her; I think of how she continues to sacrifice herself for her family even when her children are grown.  How dare anyone say that she color her hair, or drop a few pounds or buy $100 product to tighten her skin but this is what the endless litany of commercials, magazine articles and television shows would tell her. 

And if she believes that of herself, how am I supposed to believe that I'm perfect and beautiful just the way I am when I have her eyes, her skin, her thighs?  

Mother's, don't take for granted that little eyes are watching you, little ears hear you and they drink in everything you are because, to them, you are just as beautiful and perfect as you think they are.  Teach your daughters to love themselves as they are by loving yourself completely.  See yourself through the eyes of your children when you were their greatest hero - so if your kids are teenagers, try to think back to that time before your were just the person out to ruin their lives :P

Happy Mother's Day - You are beautiful!