FYI this post was written months prior to publishing.
This social experiment has some extraneous variables, those of which created the experiment in the first place. The experiment being that I went to work for a week wearing no makeup. The variable being that my Nan had just died.
Wow! Heavy! I know… But it’s relevant information.
So not only did I look quote unquote like shit but I felt it. I didn’t brush my hair, my clothes were purely comfort and my skin was freaking out with rashes because that’s just what it does when I’m upset.
I’ve only been at my new job a month and religiously made an effort with my make up and outfits. However, when someone close to you dies, some colour seems to fade out of the world and everything seems a little fun and interesting. So my clothes reflected that, the colour went, the interesting nuances disappeared and I seemed to fall into default mode. I was mirroring how I felt on the inside and not hiding it one bit.
I didn’t put on a jot of make up. I didn’t brush my hair. The only thing I did was wash and that’s because that’s more compulsory than voluntary.
It crossed my mind to dress happy to make me feel happy. Maybe trick my inside into thinking I’m as peppy as my outside but I chose not to. It partly grew out of knowing people were going to ask me ‘how are you doing?’ and knowing I was going to answer ‘okay’. Not because I didn’t want to be real but because it’s 1) awkward not to, and 2) upsetting to talk about it.
Style is an expression of yourself. Therefore, when I didn’t have the words I just showed it through my appearance. Am I okay? No because I look like shit. I’m answering the question without saying anything and in a way that’s comforting. I’m my own full-stop, exclamation point and question mark. When will she make an effort again? Does that mean she’s better? Who knows!
I wouldn’t say it’s attention seeking. It’s more the opposite because it’s antisocial. It’s awkward. You’re an overt statement of displeasure in a society where sadness is swept under the carpet, you’re basically a walking ‘don’t talk to me‘ sign.
At work I wore jeans, a jumper and flat shoes with as little colour as possible. The week before it had been newsboy hats, suede thigh high boots, hot pink trousers and red lipstick. Not all together… Or was it?
I’ve started reintroducing the colour now. It feels weird, still too soon maybe but the show must go on. Literally sat here typing in those trousers I mentioned. Dressing in black won’t bring me closer to death, or my Nan. It just pushes me further away from myself.
I’m not apologising for looking a mess. I don’t feel embarrassed about it. That’s like saying “sorry, I’m sad someone I love died”. You should never apologise for anything you wear or feel the need to explain it.
I think it’s a natural instinct to make an excuse for not being dolled up when you unexpectedly bump into people you know. I’m not an Instagram picture, I’m a real person. Sometimes I look poppin’ and other days I probably quite literally did just roll out of bed.
I think the unexpected is more interesting, don’t you?