Friday, 4 December 2015

The Power Of Make Up

I've thought about this particular topic before but this week two things brought it to the fore of my mind again. One is that I'm back in hospital and two is that I had a listen to The Women's Podcast with Marian Keyes, Aisling McDermott and Laura Kennedy on The Irish Times website (HERE).
The podcast focuses on the restorative power of make-up to help lift you from your lowest ebb during times of personal stress; illness, both physical and mental and in Laura Kennedy's case, caring for a family member with a terminal illness.


I became quite unwell in my mid-twenties and without sounding overly dramatic, it was looking pretty grim for me until I got a last minute reprieve and a double lung transplant. I generally don't talk about this much because, like Aisling mentioned, I want to be seen as more than my medical history. However, all three podcast speakers touched on something that resonated with me.
 Putting on your make-up or even just something as simple as applying your moisturiser can be important because it's doing something for yourself. Marian Keyes in particular mentioned that for her 'make-up is an act of self-respect that may seem frivolous but is quite profound'.
You're providing self-care at a time when you may not be able to do much more than that for yourself. Before my transplant I was physically quite weak but when I could I'd put on a little mascara, sort out my eyebrows, add a bit of concealer and some lip balm. 
It was usually commented on by a doctor and/or a nurse and almost always in a tone of "sure haven't you more to be worrying about now than putting on your make-up", which annoyed me and I felt, was designed to belittle me. They failed to understand that what looked like a shallow act was actually me clutching at some sense of ownership and control over my own body.
This is by no means a new concept for me either, when I really thought about it I recalled doing manicures for the female residents of the nursing home I volunteered in when I was younger and the curlers I used to pop in for elderly ladies I've nursed in the past. The little things all add up and maybe there is something to be said for the concept of putting on your 'warpaint' too.
Of course there are also days where it's completely acceptable and normal to not lift your head from its pillow but I think it's important to recognise that when you do want to spend some time on the aesthetics, that's OK too!


Make-up is seen as superficial and a bit pointless for some and that's fine.
Personally though, it's something I enjoy and yes, it's helped me to feel more like me, at times when I had very little of myself left.
So I'm now in a similar position once again of being in hospital and hating every minute of it (although I really have no right to feel sorry for myself after listening to that podcast) but I am, yet again, turning to make-up for solace. 
My husband bought me this years LancĂ´me beauty advent calendar and so every day I'm in here I can open a new door to a shiny little cosmetic treat and I feel that little bit better. I'm trying a sample of a new-to-me moisturiser from Clinique that is wonderful and in the mornings I fix my brows, put on a coat of mascara, a spritz of YSL Black Opium and a slick of my Tony Moly peach lip balm and then fall back into bed again. I've done enough to feel a bit more Chloe than I was prior to that. I may also be doing a frankly worrying amount of online beauty shopping too but you know, that's helping as well so why not. 




I found the podcast to be really insightful and might be worth having a listen to if you're in a similar situation.
I'll also be picking up About Face when I get a chance; a glorious looking beauty companion from Aisling and Laura that's out now and looks like the perfect book for beauty lovers everywhere!

I haven't written this for sympathy (because I really don't need or want it, thank you all the same), I just think it's an interesting discussion and if you'd like to join in, please do! 
XX

16 comments:

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    1. Thank you, I read this comment at the time and it made me feel instantly better! xxx

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  2. Super post Chloe! I had no idea! I understand what you mean about make up and it's powers to make you feel a bit better and more you! Hope you feel better soon x

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    1. Thanks Kate, doing fine again now thankfully, just a minor blip! But yeah, it's an interesting concept I think. Definitely more to it than people think! xx

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  3. Brilliant post makeup is like fairy dust for grown ups and everybody needs a bit of sparkle in their life. Chloe I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thanks Mags, absolutely perfect again now thankfully! xx

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  4. You know I love you! I found that podcast humbling and it really hit a nerve. Makeup can be so often dismissed as frivolous or fluffy but it just shows how important it is - anything that helps someone get through the day a little easier can't be bad xx

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    1. I love you too! And you're so right, it can be that thing that just helps you get through the day sometimes. I know I've seen other bloggers in particular say they put on lipstick just to feel a bit brighter sometimes, and it's so true! xx

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  5. I had no idea what you went through, what an enormous thing but I totally understand why you don't want to be defined by your medical history. I've never listened to these podcasts, I'm going to look for them now.

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    1. Thanks Y, yeah, it can be one of those things where people like to keep putting you back in the "sick person" box but I actually don't belong there anymore so I tend to rally against it somewhat!

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  6. wow chloe, i never knew that about you. you are an absolutely incredible woman. also i love when you write posts like these!! always spot on x

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    1. Thanks Grace, I really appreciate that! xx

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  7. Love this post & that podcast, you're some woman for one woman Chloe, I always knew you were strong but I had no idea how much. And I'm not afraid to say I got a little teary when Aisling got upset during the podcast, my heart went out to her, the poor girl. So what if makeup makes us feel better, or more ourselves, what does that make us frivolous? Some men put on a suit for work to dress the part & give themselves confidence & no one calls them frivolous because of it.

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    1. Thanks Evie. I got upset listening to Aisling too, I have to say. She's an incredible woman and definitely made me sit up a bit straighter and stop feeling sorry for myself. You're so right about the suits, I hand't even thought of that! x

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  8. Hey lovely I myself have been going through illness too these past few years. I set up my blog called a paler shade of beauty to really show that people going through illness can feel beautiful. I know how crap it is going through illness. I would love to meet for s coffee or chat on the phone about a collaboration of you would like. I hope your doing ok. Just take one day and a time and mind yourself. Would love to hear from you when your well enough. Sending you big hugs. You can get me on Twitter @apsob and www.apalersgadeofbeauty.com x

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