Makeup Fast: Days 8-10 of 40 (I Have Yogurt on My Face)

Day 10 of 40. Naked face + Naked Baby!

You know what stinks? Going to a party while you’re fasting from makeup. That’s what we did on the 4th of July, which was day 8 of the fast. It’s just that people tend to try and look nice at parties, and there I was, looking as if I had just woken up (it’s the blonde eyelashes). At least no one wanted to commemorate the holiday with a picture. Dodged a bullet on that one.

Nothing worth noting with regards to the fast occurred on day 9, so we’ll just skip it. Today was day 10, however, and I had a realization: just because I’m fasting from makeup doesn’t mean that I can’t indulge in a little at-home facial-action. So I hopped onto Crunchy Betty (AMAZING website full of DIY beauty treatments using stuff you probably have at home, in your fridge), and refreshed my memory on how to mix-up a yogurt mask. (Turns out it’s just yogurt.) So I slathered some greek yogurt all over my face (read about the benefits of greek yogurt on your face here), made a cup of tea, and plunked myself down in bed to moderate comments and answer emails.

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To be honest, all of this sudden interest in my blog is cool and all, but, well…I’m not writing as much as I was before that one post blew up. And that’s the whole point, right? Writing? I haven’t done any research for my book (which I’m hesitant to even call a book, because I don’t even have an agent yet) at all in the past four days, and I don’t like how administrative tasks are eating up all of my actual writing time. So while I’m enjoying engaging with so many people ( well over 1,000 comments in that thread so far), I do look forward to getting back to my regular schedule. There’s no book if I don’t write it.

Oh also, we’re moving. In three weeks. And Ellie’s birthday? Also three weeks away.

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And the only way any of that is related to the makeup fast is that all of the stress (good stress and bad stress) is seriously effecting my skin. Hence the yogurt mask. If you’ve never been to Crunchy Betty, and you’re into DIY beauty recipes, then head over. You’ll love her, I promise.

Spiritually, I haven’t felt much movement on the “loving what God gave me” front, but boy have I been strong in the Spirit. I have a feeling the “loving what God gave me” will come slowly and naturally, and that the margin created by the fast is what made my big-time post possible. Regardless, I’m grateful to be used for a purpose, and to see so many people talking about God as a result of that post. It’s incredible.

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You won’t hear from me about the makeup fast again until Monday, so until then, have an excellent weekend!

Melissa

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

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What is Fasting? (And Why Am I Fasting From Makeup?)

Today should be day 7 of 40 of my makeup fast, but since I’ve already declared day 7 as a do-over, I thought I’d hijack today’s makeup-fast post, talk a little bit about fasting, specifically, and explain a bit why fasting from makeup is a step that I needed to take.

What Is Fasting, And Why Should I Fast?

“Fasting” (abstaining from all or some kinds of foods or drinks, especially as a religious observance) though common in the biblical times, is not as common among contemporary Christians. One reason, I think, is that we’ve forgotten (or never learned) why one might fast in the first place. I really like Jen Hatmaker’s explanation of fasting, in her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” Jen explains

“A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing or routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.”

She also lists six circumstances in which one might initiate a fast to “summon God’s movement in [their] life:”

  • Mourning
  • Inquiry
  • Repentance
  • Preparation
  • Crisis
  • Worship

Fasting From Makeup

I can definitely identify with fasting for repentance. Jen Hatmaker sees fasting for repentance as “a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility.” To which I say yes, yes, yes and yes. Though I consider myself as grateful and not greedy, upon further inspection, some of my habits prove the opposite. My dependency on makeup is just one example. In my greed for external beauty, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and just as many hours applying makeup to cover-up and alter what God has given me.
What am I saying to God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? What am I saying to others about God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? If I was grateful for the face God gave me, would I feel ashamed of it? Would insist that I know better–that the world knows better–and feel incomplete without altering my appearance? I like to tell myself that I am grateful, but if I’m going to be honest: I’m not. I do not like my naked face, and I’m embarrassed to be seen in public without makeup.
I can also identify with fasting for preparation. If something as simple as being seen barefaced is such a challenge for me, how prepared am I to reflect God to the world? Through this fast, my prayer is that God will continue to equip me for whatever work he has set before me. This fast is one way that I can show him that I’m serious. That I want to be less concerned with myself, how I look, and how others perceive me, and more concerned with Him, his purposes, and his will for my life. That I am ready to set my earthly comfort and desires aside and follow Him wherever he leads.
It is in fasting for inquiry though, that I am already seeing the most dramatic change. Here is something I wrote before I started this fast:
“I feel as if I’m at a crossroads with my work, yet I can’t see a clear path ahead of me. I have a cloudy picture of where I might be headed, and I want to know for sure that it’s something God is calling me to do, not something that I simply want to do.”
I want to know whether it is God’s will that I pursue writing, and I want to know what he would have me say. And can I tell you something? God is making that cloudy picture I had very clear. He is faithfully answering my prayer.
The incredible response to the post “50 Shades of Magic Mike” is sudden and alarming proof. I finally agreed to step out in faith and say “yes” to the words God put on my heart, and, at the time of writing this, that single post has received more views and comments than my blog as a whole received LAST YEAR, or the year before that. God’s heart is all over that outpouring of support, the beautiful encouragement, and the strengthening correction I’ve received from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I hope that explains some aspects of fasting a bit better, and you understand a little more why it is important that I’m abstaining from makeup for 40 days. And before you go telling me that I’m taking myself too seriously, I encourage you to read the very first post in my makeup-fast series. Many of your concerns will be addressed in that post, and it will save you the time of commenting on something that I’ve already discussed.
xoxo,
mj
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On a side-note, here’s the project I did at work yesterday, which is why I had to wear makeup and am calling day 7 a do-over.

Makeup Fast: Day 6 of 40 (I’m a Cheater)

(Written on Monday, July 2)

Today was supposed to be day 6 of my makeup-fast, but I’m declaring today AND tomorrow a do-over. Allow me to explain myself.

If you’re new here, I work, part-timeish, as a writer and host for iFixit.com, and when I’m hosting, I appear on camera, and when I appear on camera, I must wear makeup. That makes fasting from makeup hard, and presents some unique challenges.

Last week, when I went in for filming, I arrived at the office barefaced, applied my makep, filmed my segment, and then promptly washed my makeup off. Today was different, because today there was a film-crew from France in the office, capturing interviews and maybe some b-roll, and I was NOT ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT ON FRENCH NATIONAL TV BAREFACED, Y’ALL. Hate on me if you want to, but in all seriousness, I might use some of that footage in my demo-reel, and I cannot be looking like a wildebeest in my demo-reel, OKAY? Okay. Glad we’re clear.

So I arrived at the office this morning in full makeup, and because I forgot to also pack my face-wash and moisturizer, I couldn’t wash my makeup off before I left. Because of all of this, I am declaring today a do-over. And tomorrow? Tomorrow I’m filming alllllll day, and the French crew will still be around, so I’m preemptively declaring tomorrow a do-over, also. This all means that I’m adding two makeup-free days to my calendar, making my new ending date August 8, 2012, because I am nothing if not committed.

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So today, when I arrived home, the first thing I wanted to do was wash my face. Can you believe it? Like I mentioned a few days ago, I’m in a weird spot where I don’t really like my bare-face, and I don’t really like my makeup-face anymore either, so the only option is a paper-bag, right? Or maybe, like, a fancy mask with feathers? (Someone get on that.)

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Last thing, I promise. I’m beginning to notice that lots of women don’t wear much makeup. I mean, basically everyone I see wears some makeup, but many ladies only have on mascara and lipgloss. Was I the ONLY one applying my makeup with such regimental zeal? How come none of you told me this, huh? Isn’t that what friends are for? To tell you when you’re being a complete moron? Please, friends, I invite you to tell me I’m being a moron, if, in fact, I am being a moron.

xoxo, mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Days 3, 4 and 5 (I’m Beginning To Like This!)

(Written between Friday June 29 and Sunday July 1)

I know I’ve said this already, but I LOVE how much time I have in the morning, now that I’m not putting makeup on. It feels so good to be able to leave the house so quickly! On Friday, Ellie and I went swimming, and usually we don’t leave the house until 10:15-10:30; this time we left the house at 9:15! All because I didn’t have to keep Ellie entertained while I applied my makeup (it takes at least twice as long to do my makeup when Ellie is around). When we got to the club, it was practically empty, and there was no one else in the pool area. So for a full hour we had the pool and sauna all to ourselves. It felt like we were on vacation!

And can I tell you something surprising? Only one person has said anything about my naked face, and it wasn’t even critical. I would have thought for sure that someone would have told me I look unwell, or that I look tired by now. (I’m sure no one has commented because they all know that I’m fasting, so they’re already expecting me to look terrible. My friends are very kind like that.) But regardless, I’m pleased. I really hate being told I look tired, only because I’m not wearing mascara, so this is a welcomed surprise.

Elle and I went swimming again on Saturday (what can I say, we love the pool), and it was so nice to not have to worry about her splashing me in the face. I realized (as she dunked half of my face into the pool), how restricted I usually am in playing with her in the pool, because I don’t want to get my face wet. How boring! We’re having so much more fun at the pool, now that I’m not afraid of getting my fece wet (“I’m melllllting!”)

I was really nervous to go to church on Sunday. No one there reads my blog (I don’t think), so no one was aware that I was going to look like a sea monster. I wonder if I should have posted this on our Facebook page? Or sent a mass email? “Be warned: Melissa Godsey will not look like herself on Sunday, but DO NOT mention it under any circumstances. In fact, tell her she looks well-rested, and prettier than ever!”

Church-folks should be the least of my worries. I mean, “judge not,” right? But NONE of them had ever seen me without makeup. Not even when I was sweating to death on a rooftop in Mexico. I just look…different. Well, only ONE person said a thing at all, and it was only because we’re buddies on Instagram, and she happened to see my naked face photos. So, I’m chalking that up as a win.

Side-note: I was by myself all weekend because my husband was out of town for work, so I completely forgot to take photos to prove that I’m not sneaking makeup on when you guys aren’t looking. I promise: I was barefaced.

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On Sunday night, while I was pulling my hair back, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and for a fleeting moment, I liked my naked face. I mean, I didn’t think it was pretty in the way that faces are generally regarded as pretty, but I liked it. But even then I thought, “why do my eyelashes have to be SO blonde? Ugh.” But hey, Sunday was day 5 of 40, and I already had a moment where I liked my naked face. That’s progress! I’m just getting to the point now where going around naked-faced isn’t feeling completely mortifying, and I still have 35 more days ahead of me. I expect that now that I’m edging out of complete and total discomfort, my ears will be a bit more open to what God has to say to me, and I have a feeling that that’s when all the difficult, heart-changing stuff happens.

35 more days to go!

xoxo,
mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Day 2 of 40 (I’m a Showoff)

(Written on Thursday, June 28, 2012)

In the shower this morning, I was thinking about my decision to avoid eating lunch in public yesterday, and something about it was really bothering me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t avoiding seeing people I know just because I am ashamed of my naked face. There was more to it than that, but I wasn’t sure what.

After I finished drying my hair, I got to thinking about where I would go to do the morning-part of my work. (I work best when there is food and coffee readily available.) Usually I go to Sally Loos, because the coffee and food is BOMB, and I like the atmosphere. But today, I decided to stay in (again), and that’s when I got to thinking: how much of where I go is determined by what I look like? On the flip-side of hiding from people I know because I don’t like my face, there’s this: am I going out in public because my face looks pretty? Am I showing off or something? Yikes.

Now, don’t misunderstand me on this one: I’m certainly not getting super dolled-up every day, just to go to all my favorite local haunts preening in front of strangers and acquaintances. I’m no Kardashian. If you know me at all, you know that my standard makeup MO is to appear as natural as possible. I’ve never been one of those ladies who looks like she’s wearing a lot of makeup. But, isn’t that a little bit worse? A little more deceptive? Diligently applying makeup in order to give the appearance that I’m naturally poreless? Kinda sketchy now that I look back on it (you know, with a whole TWO DAYS worth of hindsight and wisdom and perspective).

So no, I wasn’t showing-off in a show-offy way, but in a somewhat more pathetic, somewhat more self-satisfied way. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons I do so much of my work outside the office is because I like to be seen looking nice. And it pains me to say that in public. I care so much about how other people see me, even strangers, and I’ve placed so much of my value in being recognized as pretty. It’s really humbling to stare so directly at my flaws, both character and physical, and it’s hard to not feel compelled to cover them up.

I’m glad that putting some much-needed distance between me and my makeup bag is already revealing some handicaps in my character, but I’m not going to lie: I’d rather you all didn’t know I’m so shallow.

Even now, after recognizing that I care way too much how people see me, my primary concern is that people don’t think I’m too shallow. When will I stop caring how people see me? And where is God in all of this? Why can’t I look to him first, like, ever? Why is it so natural for me to seek first the approval of others? I really, really want that to change.

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We did some filming at work today, so I had to “put my face on,” and a funny thing happened: I really didn’t like my “made-up” face. It just looked…wrong. Like I was trying too hard. So, when I was done shooting, I went into the bathroom and washed off the makeup (just like I promised I would, y’all!), and it was actually somewhat relieving to get that stuff off of my face. Not that I like my naked face any better, because I don’t. But still. Washing it off felt good.

2 days down, 38 to go! Have any of you started going makeup-less? Tell me all about it!

xoxo,

mj

Day 2 of 40

Day 2 of 40

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Makeup Fast: Day 1 of 40 (I am a Coward)

Written on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let’s start out on a cheerful note, with a list of things that I don’t like about my face:

  • I have really large pores
  • My skin gets very oily
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • My under-eye area is a little baggy, and is getting wrinkly
  • Blemishes (this is a big one around certain times of the month)
  • Uneven skintone
  • My eyelashes are so blonde, they might as well be invisible

I don’t know why I started this fast today. This is the worst time of the month for this kind of thing, on account of my crazy hormones giving me the skin of an adolescent girl. I was getting Ellie ready to go to her Nana’s, and I brought my makeup along with me, and just never ended up putting it on. (I was in a hurry.) Then I drove to work, parked, and stared at my makeup bag for the better part of a minute. Normal-me would have put my makeup on in the car (I’ve done it countless times), but today I just knew that it was the beginning of the fast. So I grabbed my makeup bag (not unlike a security blanket?), and snuck, barefaced, into the office.

I’ve been planning on doing this fast for a couple of months now, but could never muster the courage to actually begin. But today, during my staring-contest with my makeup bag, something snapped, and I decided it was go-time. I didn’t even consult my calendar for conflicts, I just did it. (This is crazy behavior for me. I don’t just do things. I’m a planner, you see.)

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Want to hear something embarrassing and stupid I did today? (Of course you do.) I was at the iFixit office (none of them said a WORD about my hideous face, by the way. Such gentleman, those guys.), and when it came time to go to lunch, instead of going to lunch in public, like a normal person would, I was so self-concious that I drove home to eat lunch by myself.

And I never went back to the office.

Fortunately for me, I can write from anywhere, so I ate my lunch on my own, and then plunked myself down at my desk to begin working on scripts for upcoming projects. On the upside, I saved myself 7ish dollars on lunch. On the downside, I am so ashamed of my naked face that I’m actually avoiding contact with other people. Wowza.

Usually, I would have went to a place called Kreuzberg for lunch, because the food is okay, and there’s wifi, and the atmosphere is conducive for iFixit-script-writing. BUT there is a chance that I would see somebody I KNOW at Kreuzberg, and what if they saw my face? Don’t ask me how I’m going to make it out to do my grocery shopping, or take Ellie to the pool, or go to church of all places, because I just don’t know. When writing the rules, I should have also forbidden the wearing of ski-masks, because I’m seriously considering picking one up. (You know, to wear to church. Can you image that?)

Tomorrow we’re going to do some filming at work, which means I’ll have to “put my face on,” and it is going to take every shred of will-power I have to wash that stuff off when I’m through shooting.

To say that I’m eager for a change to take place is an understatement. I am so totally and completely uncomfortable in my own skin, it’s pathetic. Oh, and I took a picture to commemorate this awful day.

Why did I do this to me?

I kept my glasses on for the picture, because they kind of make up for my invisibly-blonde eyelashes. I’m so cowardly. :/

xoxo,

mj

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

Please join me! You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

Fresh-Faced for 40 Days: Because You Should Love What You Look Like Naked

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

Feel free to share this button to link back to the challenge!

First, the point: I am quitting makeup for 40 days. I began today.

(Actually, I’m calling it a fast, but for those of you who do not subscribe to a set of spiritual beliefs that engages in fasting, you can just think of it as quitting, and that’s fine by me.)

Next, the ugly truth: I do not like my naked face. I think it is ugly. Showing my naked face in public terrifies me, and that makes me sad, and I think that is a problem.

And finally, the rules: I will not wear anything that alters or obscures the natural appearance of my face for 40 days. (June 27, 2012 – August 6, 2012)

  • This includes all standard makeup products, but also tinted moisturizer, tinted lip-balm, and pore-reducing or anti-shine lotions and potions. If it feels like cheating, it probably is.
  • This does not include: my standard moisturizer or regular old chapstick. A girl’s gotta stay hydrated, am I right?
  • On days where I am to appear on camera at work: I will arrive to work barefaced, apply my makeup just before filming, and wash it off once we’re through. (Washing it off will take every last ounce of my will power. God help me.)
  • I will not avoid having my picture taken while barefaced, and I will continue to video-blog, au naturale.

Okay, that’s basically the gist of it. The rest of this is supporting exposition that I’d love it if you read, and I insist that you read before you make any sort of comment whatsoever.

The rest of this is the story behind this insanity.

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Lies.

We all tell little lies. The biggest lie I tell every day is my face. My face says I’m well-rested (I’m not), that I’m well-hydrated (I’m not), and that I am poreless, and without blemishes (I most certainly am not). My face says I’ve got it all together (I don’t), that I’m not aging (I am), and that being pretty is effortless (it isn’t. Well, it isn’t for me.). I put so much time and energy into telling lies with my face, that it’s making me sick. What a complete waste of time and money, and what a terrible example to set for the women who know me. And what an affront to the God who created me. (N.B. You and I might not subscribe to the same spiritual beliefs, and that’s completely cool. Please do not let my spiritual beliefs stand in the way of you, perhaps, learning to love your naked face a bit more than you do now. Deal? Read on, friend, read on.)

I know, I know, you’re thinking that I’m being too hard on myself. “It’s JUST MAKEUP” you’re saying. “We ALL do it.” Trust me, I hear you. Really, I do. But something inside me has snapped, and there’s no going back to the way things were.

I Love Makeup.

I LOVE makeup. I’m a makeup-aholic. Is there anything more fun than taking the time to do your makeup really well? Sephora is my favorite store of all of the stores, and every time I walk in there I get giddy with the excitement of hunting out a new product and sampling all of the goodies. I love the artsy quality of makeup. I love what can be communicated by makeup: how you can be a blushing, natural-looking girl-next-door one day, and a smoldering femme fatale the next, just with some smudges of highlighter or blush, or some well-placed lashes. I enjoy makeup for many of the same reasons that I enjoy fashion. Many of you already get me on this point, so I’ll leave it at that.

Applying my makeup in the morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee, used to be one of my favorite parts of the day. It was fun, and somewhat artistic, and who doesn’t enjoy looking lovely? But at a certain point, I can’t really pinpoint when, I began putting on makeup not because it was a mode of self-expression, but because I felt that I needed to cover things up, because I wasn’t proud of my face the way it naturally looked. It became less and less about choosing to put “my best face forward,” and more and more about keeping up appearances (and yes, I can appreciate the irony of this). Rather than making an informed and empowered decision, I had become a slave to my daily makeup routine; I watched as hundreds of dollars slowly dripped out of my checking account, and hours were lost in front of my bathroom mirror, painting over my blemishes and accenting my best features. I’m not sure when it happened, but eventually I lost sight of all of the good and healthy reasons why women use makeup, and I had become dependent on it, maybe even addicted to it. It became so that I could not see myself as pretty when I wasn’t wearing makeup, and that’s where I’m writing from today. (Of course none of you have this problem, right? Riiiight.)

I think makeup is an amazing tool that women have at their disposal, and it can be used to increase confidence, but at some point I traded my actual confidence for my makeup bag. I’m not sure why it never bothered me before; maybe I was really good at justifying my makeup use to myself, but when I think about how much I dislike my naked face, and how scared I am to be seen in public without makeup, I get really really angry. Who is this unconfident, sad little woman? And why is she so afraid to bear the face God gave her? Does she really think she can improve upon the creation of God? It’s a terrible comparison, but I keep imagining somebody walking up to the Mona Lisa and gluing on some false eyelashes, or increasing the size of David’s “manhood.” Am I saying that I am unique, and beautiful, and artfully created by the Master of Creators? Well…Yeah. (Aren’t we all?) So why can’t I look at my face in the mirror, and thank God for it, and tell him I like what I see? (Something in my head is broken, that’s why.)

Confronting My Fears

Nowadays, the idea of leaving the house without makeup is (literally) terrifying. And this is a big, ridiculous problem. For perspective: Looking back through my photos, I can’t find a single picture since junior high where I wasn’t wearing makeup. Summer camp, 12 hour dance rehearsals in the heat of the Texas summer, doing missionary work in rural Mexico, I’m wearing makeup in every single picture. The photos taken during the labor and delivery of my child? I’m totally wearing foundation, bronzer and mascara. (I remember applying it before my contractions got too painful to concentrate.) It’s the bronzer-whilst-birthing that makes me realize I have a serious mental-problem.

I remember my reasoning for applying makeup before I gave birth to Ellie: “these pictures are going to be around for who knows how long” I told myself. “They define this moment of my life. Why not have an even skin-tone and pretty eyelashes?” It all sounds harmless enough, but if a woman can’t feel at ease with her face while she’s giving birth to a child, what hope does she have for feeling at ease with her face in any other circumstance in life?

Are You Like Me?

If you’re not getting me yet, here’s a fun little exercise: if you’re a woman, close your eyes, and imagine yourself as a man (maybe your husband, or your father, or your brother, or even a coworker). Now imagine yourself getting out of bed, and getting ready to go to work. What do you do? You probably shower, shave your face, brush your teeth, apply some deodorant, and fiddle with your hair (if you have any) for about seven seconds. If you’re fancy, you splash on a bit of cologne. Then you get dressed, and leave for work. You don’t think to yourself, “my eyelashes are so light, they’re practically nonexistent!” You don’t inspect your pores thinking “if only I could make them smaller.” You certainly don’t apply that lip-gloss that makes your lips sting because of its “plumping agent.” Doesn’t that minimalist morning routine sound absolutely liberating? (And to you women out there who already have very minimal morning routines: I salute you. I also hate you a little bit, because I envy your confidence and grace, but it’s a loving kind of hate, if that makes sense.)

I feel like I need to repeat myself again, because someone out there is not hearing me: I love makeup. I love being pretty. I love making a good impression. I love “going the extra mile” and polishing my appearance. I love that with a few products from my makeup bag, I can stack-up against the likes of hollywood starlets. I’m a die-hard makeup fanatic; I get all of the reasons why makeup is awesome, and I am not judging you, or your relationship with makeup. But my reliance on makeup not just to feel beautiful, but to feel acceptable to be seen in public, is crushing my heart, and is preventing me from seeing myself the way God sees me. The only way I am going to break free is to give up makeup cold-turkey. Not for forever, but for long enough that my vanity can be completely uprooted, and a healthy appreciation and respect for the face that God gave me can grow in its place. I approximate that this will take (at least) 40 days.

Why 40 Days?

Surely a week or so would be good enough, right?

I have a couple of reasons for setting 40 days as the minimum duration of my makeup-fast.

  1. I am stubborn, and it takes me a bit longer than some other people to get over things.
  2. Most research says that habits can be broken or formed in 21 days, and since 40 days is roughly double that, I feel confident that real, lasting change can occur.
  3. In the Bible, a 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is always a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal (for example, Jesus 40 days spent in the desert, fasting and being tempted by the devil). There is a lot of hocus-pocus-ey sounding stuff on the Internet regarding the significance of the number 40 in the Bible. Honestly, a great deal of it sounds superstitious to me, and I am not an adherent to any kind of superstition, but, if Jesus chose to fast for 40 days, I see no problem with mimicking him.
  4. But mostly numbers 1 and 2.

The Seed

For several months I’ve prayed that I would grow to love my naked face more than my “made-up” face. And guess what? God has not blessed me with an appreciation for my naked face, which comes as no surprise to me, because that’s not really how God works. What God did do, however, was push Jen Hatmaker and her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excessacross my path, and slap me in the face with this question: “What, in my life, if taken away, would alter my value and my identity?” Yikes.

And you know, at first, the only things I could come up with as an answer to this question were 1. My husband, and 2. My daughter. (Then I gave myself a mental-high-five for being so level-headed, and so in-tune with God’s priorities for my life.) But then, later, as I was putting on makeup to take Ellie to the pool (yes, I’m that mom), it hit me: I am the most vain person I know. That is not an exaggeration. I don’t think I’m the hottest lady on the block or anything, but I place so much of my value in the fact that, when made-up, I can be very pretty. My identity? When made-up, I am a Pretty Lady. What kind of crap identity is that? And temporary, to boot. Once I realized this, I might have shame-spiraled a bit, and sought comfort in my guys Ben & Jerry. (Don’t ask me why I’m confessing this to you. I guess when I start telling the truth, it just all comes out.)

So that’s the seed that sprouted this whole insane, scary, exercise in self-torture. Jen’s book “7” inspired me in many, many other ways, but the only thing that actually scared me was the idea of going makeup-less. I know how trivial of a problem this might sound to some of you, and I get that. I get how trivial and petty and self-absorbed I sound. “Privileged white-girl from beautiful Coastal California chooses to fast from her makeup collection that probably costs more than some people’s cars.” Please believe me when I tell you that I know this exercise epitomizes the expression “first-world problem.” But I also know that each little step I take is valuable, and just because other people might think it’s silly doesn’t mean it’s not important. I need to get over my vanity. I need to get over myself.

Concerns and Expectations

What will people think of me when they see me barefaced? Will people assume that I’m lazy? That I don’t care enough to put effort into my appearance? Can I handle being told I “don’t look so good” every day? Or that I look tired? Or being asked if something is the matter with me? Will people hear about my fast and think I’m some holier-than-thou crazy-lady? Or a militant feminist with an anti-makeup agenda? Will people look at me and think, “Gosh, if she just tried a little, she could be kinda pretty?” Or, “I feel sorry for that uggo’s husband?” It’s my obsession over what others will think about me that really upsets me. My primary concern shouldn’t be what people will think of me, it should be what my Creator thinks of me. This verse keeps coming to mind: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) And this lyric by the David Crowder Band: “You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?” I know in my head that’s what I should believe, but my heart puts so much value in how others consider me, that this whole idea of simply not putting makeup on has my stomach in knots. It’s ridiculous, and that’s why I have to do something about it.

What do I expect at the end of the 40 days? For one thing, I expect that I’ll be thrilled with how much time I’m saving by abstaining from makeup. And of course I’ll also be saving some money. But bigger than that, I hope I’ll grow to love what I actually look like, without all the cosmetics, and come closer to seeing myself the way God sees me. And I hope that I’ll have more grace for the rare makeup-less women I come across in the world.

And for the record, my husband thinks this is my best idea yet. He thinks it’s crazy that I don’t like my bare face. He’s a keeper, that Mr. Godsey.

—————————-

So, for the next 40 days I invite you along with me. You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

If you’re joining me on this fast, of course you can be as flexible as you want to, but I encourage you to go Full Monty on this one. Also, feel free to use the button  I’ve made (up at the top of this post, or in the sidebar) to link-back to this insanely long post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

xoxo,

mj

Join Me in Living “The Summer of 7!”

The Summer of 7 Melissa Jenna Godsey

Remember back when I said I was “being haunted by a book?” Well, I’m not the only one being haunted by “7: An ExperimentalMutiny Against Excess.” Turns out that “7” (by Jen Hatmaker) is ruining the lives of families across America! (Just in case you can’t sense my sarcasm, let me just tell you that I’m kidding. No need to go getting all nasty on me in the comments about Jen Hatmaker being a Saint. I know. I’m on Team Hatmaker. I even read her husband’s book, okay?)

Here’s the gist of Jen’s book “7”: most of us live lives of crazy excess. We might not see it, and we might, in fact, want more stuff, but that’s kind of the point. We’re so caught up in the pursuit of “stuff,” and the image of having lots of stuff, that we don’t even realize what we’ve become: a people who exist for the purpose of obtaining and enjoying comfort. Sloths, basically. Sloths with closets full of clothes we don’t wear, and stuff we don’t use, existing on diets of processed food. (My words here, not Jen’s.) And that–if I may be so informal–totally sucks. So Jen took seven months, and focused on eliminating excess from seven categories: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress (which is where the subtitle comes from: “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess). If I could force you to read the book I would, and though her journey is a spiritual one (Christian, specifically), the lessons learned, and the realizations acquired are worth reading about, regardless of your personal religious affiliation.

Why give stuff up?

If you’re familiar with the idea of “fasting,” (abstaining from all or some kinds of foods or drinks, especially as a religious observance) then take that concept, and apply it to things other than food, and you “get” the idea behind “7.”

Jen explains fasting well in 7: “A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing or routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.” She also lists six circumstances in which one might initiate a fast to “summon God’s movement in [their] life:”

  • Mourning
  • Inquiry
  • Repentance
  • Preparation
  • Crisis
  • Worship

Like Jen, I can definitely identify with fasting for repentance. Jen sees fasting for repentance as “a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility.” To which I say yes, yes, yes and yes. Though I consider myself a thoughtful and grateful person, my actions simply do not match my view of myself. In so many ways, I’m a hypocrite, and I need to repent for that big-time, and will have to continue repenting for that all the days of my life. I’ll never be “perfect,” but that’s not the goal. I want to become more and more like the one who created me; that’s the goal.

And again, like Jen, I can identify with fasting for preparation. Like I may (or may not?) have mentioned previously, I feel as if I’m at a crossroads with my work, yet I can’t see a clear path ahead of me. I have a cloudy picture of where I might be headed, and I want to know for sure that it’s something God is calling me to do, not something that I simply want to do. So I guess I’m “fasting” for preparation AND inquiry. Even better!

So what does this all mean?

So yeah, here’s the kicker: I’ve joined a blogging group, y’all. Next stop: couponing, watching The Bachelor and, throwing linky-parties or whatever. (Does one “throw” a linky-party?) If you’d have told twenty-three-year-old me that in five years I’d be “serious” about my faith, or a mother, or PART OF A BLOGGING GROUP, I’d be all like, “this gypsy fortune-teller has got me all wrong. Doesn’t she know that I, like Miley Cyrus, Can’t Be Tamed?”

SO. I’m banding together with a group of bloggers (who are basically strangers to me, as much as anyone can be a stranger on the Internet) to try our hand at a summer-length version of “7.” I’ve considered going whole-hog on this thing, but I have a tendency to jump into things with two feet, only to realize that I’m in way over my head, and then I somehow have to weasel my way out. (I know, I know: I’m so honorable.) So rather than burning myself out and quitting halfway through, I’m committing to our “Summer of 7” project enough to give it its VERY OWN CATEGORY in my nav. bar. (Is this the blogging equivalent of getting your own drawer at your boyfriend’s house? Like, he’s “committing” to you, but not enough to put a ring on it quite yet?)

Digressions aside, I’d like to invite you all along with me on a mini-journey. A blogging-roadtrip, if you will. Here’s my (very flexible) “Summer of 7” schedule, and I’d love it if you participated right along with me!

Summer of 7 “Schedule”

(Details and rules and the like will be posted on the first day of the week. Or maybe the day before the first day of the week, I’m not sure.)

June 3-9, Stress: I’ll follow Macrina Wiederkehr’s “structured” prayer schedule in her book “Seven Sacred Pauses,” thereby forcing myself to pause throughout the day for prayer. Something tells me this is going to be more difficult than I imagine, what with chasing around a toddler and all. Also, I’ll be attending Storyline Conference this week, and I’m a little concerned about the timing of the sessions, and how they’ll coincide with Seven Sacred Pauses.

June 10-16, Food: Only eat seven foods for a week. I don’t have to eat them all in one sitting, and condiments count as foods. When Food Week begins, I’ll post a list of my seven foods. (Bear in mind that I’m going to be as nutritionally well-rounded as possible.)

June 17-23, Possessions: Each day I’m going to purge things from our closets, cabinets and garage, and at the end of the week I’ll bring them by a local women’s shelter.

June 24-30, WEEK OFF: I might be traveling to VidCon this week, and thinking back to how insane the week leading up to VidCon was last year, I’d be crazy not to take this week off. So, a brief intermission from “Summer of 7” is in order. If I don’t go to VidCon, then I’ll adjust my schedule and let you know.

July 1-7, Clothes: I’ll wear seven items of clothing for the week, which I’ll list at the beginning of the week. This one isn’t going to be difficult, because I live in California, and it’ll be summertime (“and the livin’s easy…”). I have plans to ramp this one up considerably, but I’m still hashing them out, so second half of this one is TBA. (Be excited.)

July 8-14, Spending: We will only spend our money in seven locations. I’ll kick this week off with a list of those places.

July 15-21 , Media: No Twittering, Facebooking, blog-reading, Instagramming, Pinteresting, TV-watching, video-game playing, etc for the entire week. BUT, and this is a big but, part of my job at iFixit is to be ever-present on social media, so when I’m being paid by iFixit, I will do my job as usual. It will take every once of my will-power not to log in to my personal accounts, but so help me, I can do this. I’m still not sure how I’ll update the blog on my progress for that week. Maybe I’ll journal it all on pen and paper, scan it, then upload full-res images of my scanned journal pages? That might be fun. We’ll see.

July 22-28, Waste: I’ve always wanted to start composting, so maybe this will be the week that I do that. Also, we’re TERRIBLE at recycling, so this might be a good time to establish solid recycling practices in our house. This is also Ellie’s birthday week, so I’ll figure this one out a bit better as I have time to think about it.

Things That Make Me Anxious About “Summer of 7”

(In no particular order)

  • I’m concerned that people will see this as simply a test of will-power, like “CAN I only eat seven foods for a week?” rather than an exercise in purposeful reduction in order to examine the condition of our hearts. How will limiting my buffet of choices make me feel? How will the very human part of me that cherishes comfort react to new boundaries? Of course I CAN do each of these challenges, but if the focus is just a matter of “how strong is my will-power?” then this whole thing is totally pointless. Fasting and restriction is not the point, but a means to an end.
  • Is my insecurity going to make me feel the need to explain every weirdo thing I’m doing whenever I feel uncomfortable? Or worse, will I end up bragging about it? Am I going to make this more about me externally, than me internally? A week is a short amount of time, and if I’m not careful, I could very well spend the entire week mourning my creature-comforts and not actually be changed on a heart-level at all. Double pointless!
  • Is a week really enough time to be affected? Won’t I just spend the whole week counting down the days until the next week of suffering begins? I’m not really sure that a week is enough, but I’m going to give it an honest shot.
  • I’m in a blogging group.

PLEASE let me know if you’ll be participating at all. I’d love love love to cheer you on, and hey, accountability is important! And if you’re not going get crazy and do “Summer of 7” right along with me, then leave me some encouraging words of support, because I will need it.

Last thing, promise: ‘member that I’m blogging with a group? Here are the other crazies that are blogging The Summer of 7 along with me:

Katrina from The Poorganic Life (whose post you should read if you want more info on The Summer of 7 and all the ladies involved)

Kay from Kay’s Counseling Blog

Steph from Only Here, Only Now

Amy from Permission to Peruse 

Alene from Positively Alene

Jamie from Six Brick High

Rachel from Occassional Boredom

Amy from Amy in Wanderland

And, well, me right here at melissajenna.com of course.

Love you all! xoxo, Gossip Girl

Just kidding.

xoxo, mj


  • About the Author

    Melissa Jenna Godsey

    I’m a wife, mother, accidental entrepreneur, wisdom seeker, and truth lover. We're trying really hard not to keep up with the Joneses. Click through for the whole story.

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