(This winter, Molly Barker and Caitlyn Boyle embarked on an experiment in going au naturel. Their Naked Face Project challenged other women to join them and explore life without having to put on a special face — or shave their legs or tint their hair — to win the world’s approval.Â In this blog Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run, considers her personal reactions and the implications for women of stepping back from societal expectations. We see this endeavor as having a green bonus, freedom from the toxic chemicals found in many cosmetics.)
Alrightâ€¦so this may turn a little dog and pony show.Â Caitlin and I swore we wouldnâ€™t go into GREAT detail about the physical changes we were undergoing as a result of going totally natural for sixty daysâ€¦but I have to admitâ€¦in this last week Iâ€™m beginning to actually enter a stage of sorrow at the project coming to a close.
Itâ€™s just been so physically LIBERATINGÂ (Iâ€™ve spent the majority of posts discussing the emotional and mental liberation that hasÂ come with this)Â to have an excuse to go without my daily beauty habitsâ€¦physically liberating in a number of ways:
1.)Â The amount of worry in making sure Iâ€™ve got â€śeverything I needâ€ť when I travel has literally reduced the amount of getting-ready-to-travel-time by many minutes.Â This also has applied to just getting ready in the mornings both at home and at the gym.Â Throw my clothes (which have been generally the same as well, jeans or slacks, nice shirt, flats) and Iâ€™m off.
2.)Â My skin has never looked healthier.Â People have even remarked at how healthy my skin looks.Â There is a natural color on my face that is, as far as Iâ€™m concerned,Â just as goodÂ as the cosmetically blushed one.
But humorously there are a few things I HAVE found that I amÂ really, really ready to be done withâ€¦
1.)Â Iâ€™m ready to remove the body hair!Â (Okay dog and pony show always gets a rumbling anytime Caitlin and I talk body hair!)Â The truth isâ€¦I actually prefer the way my legs look when they do not have hair.Â Whether this has been socialized into my view of what is attractive or notâ€¦I donâ€™t know.Â I just know I preferÂ being â€śsans hair.â€ť
Whatâ€™s funny though as I writeâ€¦is this kind of weird sorrow I have at removing it.Â (Oh geezâ€¦am I actually writing about this?)Â Â Itâ€™s like a natural part of me is gone.Â I didnâ€™t know what purpose body hair served until I had it.Â Itâ€™s like a sensual stimulating system.Â I could literally feel any wind or movement of air nearby UNDER my skin, thanks to the hair follicles being stimulated.Â There was something about thatâ€¦that had (and has) me feeling very connected to nature.Â Nature girlâ€¦:)Â (Speaking of â€śnature girl.â€ťÂ Granola is here to stayâ€¦even my eating habits have undergone a change since I started all of this.Â Nourishing my body has become critically important as opposed to â€śfueling it.â€ťÂ Nourishing has a more nurturing quality.Â More to come at another time.)
2.) And as far as underarm hairâ€¦it will be gone.Â Prefer it absent as well.Â Iâ€™m past the being self-conscious of itâ€¦got over that about three weeks ago.
3.)Â Iâ€™ve highlighted my hair since I was sixteen or seventeen years old.Â I was very much a natural blonde when I was young and by high school it was a light blonde/brown.Â I started using lemon juice in the summers and by my sophomore year in college I was chemically treating it.Â I did go a brief period without chemically treating my hair when I was pregnant with my kidsâ€¦and back then, when the dinosaurs roamed as my daughter likes to mention, I didnâ€™t have any gray.
Wellâ€¦there is a lot of it nowâ€¦and Iâ€™m totally psyched and excited to see what color my hair REALLY is.Â The liklihood of returning to highlighting or chemically treating it is very slim.Â Of course, I may change my mind in another few years, but right now, Iâ€™m loving the natural color and loving just showing up with what I gotâ€¦a kind of very light brown with quite a bit of grayÂ â€ťsaltedâ€ť throughout.
The greatest result of all of thisâ€¦and it has been life changing for meâ€¦is this just inherent love and respect I have for my body, my skin, my hairâ€¦my eyes, my mouth, how I show up in the world, just as I am.Â I amÂ truly appreciative and grateful to my body andÂ the work it does for me as I navigate this journey we call being human.Â Â My body provides for me aÂ bridge, if you will, between theÂ journey inward and theÂ physical world around me.Â Â The sense Iâ€™m having is very hard to describeâ€¦but it feels as if Iâ€™m ALL inâ€¦allÂ of me is hereâ€¦presentâ€¦available to the worldâ€¦to serve, enjoy, have some fun and do whatever it is Iâ€™m supposed to do,Â while Iâ€™m human.
I have a sense (although everyday my view on things changes) that when this is over, every morning when Iâ€™m getting ready for work, play, workout, time with my kids, a date, a speaking appearance WHATEVER the day brings, I will, with intention, choose how ALL of me wants to show up.Â Whether that includes make up or not, will depend on a whole host of variables, but I know that I will evaluate each situation and determine what will allow me to BEST BE PRESENTâ€¦all of me, real, authentic and available to bring the BIGGEST ME, the most AWESOMEST (I know that isnâ€™t a real word, but I like it anyway) ME, the SOULÂ OF MEÂ to the situation.
I wonâ€™t useÂ any products toÂ â€ťfixâ€ť my face, â€śdelay aging,â€ťÂ â€śmake me look younger, orÂ â€ťproduce flawless skinâ€ť and/or enhance what I already have or amâ€¦because (and here is the liberating and coming home to myself part) none of it needs fixingâ€¦nothing is brokenâ€¦nothing is ugly.Â Â The illusion that my body isnâ€™t good enough, young enough or â€śrightâ€ť enough is just thatâ€¦an illusion and somethingÂ I no longer buy into nor will I give any energy to.Â I simply wonâ€™t do it because itâ€™s all a lie. Â A big fat lie. Â All of it.
This also means, IÂ wonâ€™t use my appearance to manipulate, steer or try to â€świnâ€ť someone over. I will own who I am, acceptÂ me as I am and in doing so create a space for others to own who they are, be as they are and know that they are safe in doing so.
Who I am doesnâ€™t change, withÂ my appearance.Â Â How I choose to present myself is up to me.Â Iâ€™m not tied, anymore, into illusions so often presented byÂ the advertising tactics of the cosmetic and fashion industry or our culture in general, Â that who I amÂ and the WORTH of who I amÂ IS in anyway tied to my appearance, my age and/or my body.Â How I choose to appearâ€¦show upâ€¦present myself CAN be an expression of who I am, but my worth as a human being has absolutely nothing to do with it.
There is great irony in all of this.Â Appearance in the human world cannot be avoided.Â We see, we look, we show up physically.Â But whether I choose to see my appearance as a measure of my worthÂ ORÂ as one of MANY fabulous avenues to joyfully express who I amâ€¦are two very different approaches.
This TED talk was recently shared with me by a friend and I donâ€™t know how I missed it.Â Aimee captures, very eloquently, howÂ empowering â€śowningâ€ť our bodies (and this includes of course, our skin, our faces, our hair etc.) can be.