I’ve been thinking a lot about identity and attachment lately. These were concepts I first heard about when I started practising yoga a few years ago, and I’ve thrown words like ‘non-attachment’ around plenty of times, without actually really delving much deeper.
But life, and things like illness, injury and ageing, all offer the perfect vehicle for an experimentation with identity. What happens when we are used to our bodies responding in a particular way to exercise, and then we become injured? What happens when we receive a certain amount of pride and affirmation from the work we do, and then we’re retrenched? What happens when we’ve always identified with being ‘attractive’, and then we begin to age?
I’ve always loved make-up, and over the years when my skin was problematic and red and angry, make-up was an essential barrier to the world and a weapon to conceal imperfection. Luckily these days make-up is more of a nice addition, rather than a perceived necessity, although realistically I prefer myself when I’m made up. I feel prettier, I feel more self-confident, and I feel like I’ve got my shit together. And although these aren’t necessarily bad outcomes from applying a little mascara, what’s wrong with bare skin?
So lately I’ve been experimenting with going make-up free. It’s certainly a work in progress (I haven’t yet rocked a work meeting without mascara, and a night out bare-faced, feels, well, too bare), but I’m interested in investigating how much of my identity resides in how I look, and how attached I am to looking a certain way.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts! Do you feel comfortable wearing not a stitch of make-up to work, or are you never bare-faced except when sleeping?
I’ve long had grey hair. And by long I mean prematurely – literally since I was teenager! It started as a shock of white on my front hairline, and I’ve coloured my hair ever since (every shade imaginable).
At the beginning of last year I decided I wanted to experiment a little and see how much grey hair I actually had (long before this article on grey hair becoming the hallmark of cool … ha!). The answer is I have a lot of it! Luckily for me it’s silver, not yellow, but it still takes some getting used to!
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, I’d suggest keeping the ends dark (if you’re brunette). I think it gives the look a more deliberate feel (as opposed to ‘she rather let herself go, didn’t she?’). A great, edgy cut is also essential, as is hair in peak condition (I use vegan friendly Kevin Murphy). Polished personal grooming is a good idea (a work in progress for me), but most important I think is an eccentric personal style. (You’ll probably also have to have a pretty thick skin … it’s amazing how many people have strong opinions on ageing and letting your grey hair out, feminists included!).