Makeup, Fidget Toys, and Social Media: part 1

I have had to encounter several seemingly mundane things that were magnified through the lens by which I looked back on my life in this journey that started with my ADHD diagnosis. By force of habit I’m going to discuss the past several months using three topics (thank you, high school English teacher!). This is part 1.

Makeup

Most of the friends I met in 2016 would probably say they know me to be a makeup geek. I wasn’t always into makeup. I had several experiences here and there getting made up for weddings, prom, and other special events, but I only started doing makeup more or less everyday this year. I don’t know how it became an everyday thing for me, but it definitely helped me on days when I feel like complete trash after having spent sleep-deprived nights in a row, or when I’m breaking out from stress and despairing over hormonal issues typical of an adolescent.

So makeup became my best friend. It helped boost my confidence, fake the appearance of that “put-together” aesthetic, and it was also a great outlet for my creativity. For me, the best thing makeup has done for me was to be my non-living companion in the midst of the year I was found to have an anxiety disorder. There used to be days when I would hate to see myself in the mirror, or have zero drive to get out of bed and get ready for school, but doing my makeup gave me something to look forward to.

It also helped me develop a routine, something that’s crucial for someone with ADHD. Although until now my daily routine tends to go awry every single week, just telling myself I need to find time in the morning to fix up gives me a sense of constancy and assurance that though the world isn’t stopping for me and changes will always appear sporadically, some things stay the same — things I can actually control. In terms of making sure I don’t forget to wash up and give my skin some loving every now and then, makeup is also that not-so-gentle reminder that there is gunk that needs removing.

Of course, I also encountered bumps in the road. A few months ago I had the worst acne breakout. It was a bad time for me to start evading self-care. I developed unhealthy habits. I started hiding my imperfections through my makeup, but it would show in the way I self-consciously carried myself, in the unsure steps I took, in the way I avoided several social gatherings and places. It was quite a long time before I was able to attribute my low self-esteem to my almost nonexistent self-care habits at the time, and it took an even longer amount of time and a huge amount of effort for me to start building better and healthier habits. During the process, I had to deal with great embarrassment over having to admit I couldn’t take care of myself. I thought, “how can I even face bigger responsibilities when I don’t have the drive to be healthy?” However, it was also extremely humbling for me to admit the shortcomings; the moment I forgave myself was also the moment when I committed wholeheartedly to not sacrificing my health and well-being in favor of mere and illusory appearances of having my life together.

Right now I decided to take a break from wearing everyday makeup, at least until my scars from my breakouts have dramatically lessened in severity. I still wear lipstick and sometimes I feel like putting on cc cream, but it was liberating for me to go to school after months of packing on products; though I felt a certain amount of anxiety, it seemed to be just the right amount of discomfort for me to face my fears head on and to not let my actions be determined by my impulse to cover up.

I am more than excited to start wearing full makeup again. I can’t wait to show people my progress, but more importantly, I can’t wait to prove to myself that it’s possible for me to take control of my life and to find the balance of it all, no matter the circumstances.