Cast Your Care

Lost in everything and nothing, this time blends together like a Delaware gradient sunset and I’m left turning the calendar pages and wondering how we got here so quickly. How disappointing to live to impress others, when the ones you really want to impress have loved you all along.
This afternoon I was talking with two of my girlfriends…we were discussing the role of makeup in our lives, and their daughter’s lives. Their daughters are both only 11, and seem to be wise beyond their years (homeschool, thanks…) and eager and ready to grow up and look more feminine like their own moms. But why? What does wearing makeup actually DO for us? Does it serve us? Or are we trying to impress people we don’t even know, or trying to impress people we don’t even like? It’s a scary thought, especially in today’s haphazard, unpredictable world. I related it back to myself, hoping to help these girls see that proving your worth is difficult as well as confusing, and in the end, not worth it to “need ” to prove yourself.
I started thinking about it one day after I was applying a full-face of makeup. I’m talking under-eye concealer, foundation, eyeliner, shadows, the works. As in, all of it. War paint. A mask. Is this usual for me? Um, no. You’d actually be hard-pressed to find me in anything more than liquid eyeliner and two swipes of mascara. I don’t like wearing makeup. I prefer myself with a tan, oil on my eyes and lips and…that’s it. Seriously.
I know, I’m Italian and I’m supposed to look like I’m going to the opera (or IN the opera) at all times, but I’m not. Don’t even get me started on the chemicals that are lurking into all the things that you’re slathering on your face…that is a whole ‘nother story. Ugh, anyway.
I was trying to illustrate a point where there was an event we were going to, and I put on my “war paint” and spent quite a bit of time plastering my face with skin-tinted mastic, trying to hide every blemish, trying to make myself look the part.
I thought to myself–what if I just showed up looking like I do every other day of the week? I could do that but then I tried to rationalize the makeup frenzy of:
* I never see these people so I have to look good
* I need to make a good impression on the people I haven’t met yet
* I need to look good so that it will reflect that my husband has a pretty wife
* I want to distract him from looking at other cute girls (duh)
* I want to (try) to be the most put-together-looking girl there (false)
* I want my husband to show me off because I’m so GD cute
* I want to feel “ready” and not intimidated by anyone (read: left alone)

What if I left this alone for a day. Or even a month. What if I showed up to any event, big or small, family or professional, with just my real-live face? No hiding, no wishing, just real authentic me, with a new outlook on how I’m to be perceived. Not proving. Not showing off, not giving you a visual resume.
For someone that has been wearing makeup alllll her life, and has enjoyed the ease of genetically applicable liquid eyeliner, this might be challenging.
I’m not saying that anyone shouldn’t wear makeup, especially if it’s her fun thing, or if she loves doing it, especially if it’s something they’re talented at. I know quite a few girls (and dudes!) who have made a lucrative career from applying makeup. That’s not what I’m getting at here.
I’m having my own issue with authenticity. If I don’t wear this every day…why should I on certain occasions? Is this another all-or-nothing deal? Is it real and authentic if I wear makeup say…seven days out of an entire year? Or am I fooling myself? What exactly am I trying to prove? Why can’t I just present myself the way I am every day of the year? What am I afraid of? What more can I bring to the table that people will like other than blemish free skin with smoky eyes? It’s just not me.
It’s not my fun thing, my hobby, or even a remote talent that I’m good at. I have to admit, my smoky eyes make me look tired, and I can’t apply blush to save my life. Contouring? No thanks dude…I cannot handle all the blending. Bronzer? My lucky Guida skin can sit in the sun for one hour and get a bronze. I cannot, however, live without chapstick.
I’ve made more steps to live more minimally and authentically. I’ve given away almost all my makeup to my girlfriends simply because it wasn’t being used. You know that stuff has a shelf life. It was also taking up precious space in my bathroom that I need for my 10 bottles of Infusium 23. I want to be done, but I know this process won’t happen overnight. I only want to prove myself to me, but that’s not an easy thing to own. I want to stop wasting my time.
If you have to try hard to prove your worth and show someone what you offer, you don’t need them in your life. What do you bring to the table? You ARE the table. You are a human, with life, with value, in and of itself. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have put you here.

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Experiencing Confidence

It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s not something that’s here to stay. Confidence. Getting Secure in yourself.

We spend over half our life just trying to figure out “who” we are. At the young age of 18, we’re expected to know enough about ourselves to actually choose an education path for a career. Most of us don’t even know what our true hobbies are, what our likes and dislikes are, and the most important question of “What makes you tick?”

Finding out what makes you tick requires a lot of trial and error. The only way to know if you truly love something or finding a passion is to try it. Finding something that didn’t make you tick is seen as a failure, when it should be seen simply as a “check-off” on the list of things to try and move on from.

How will you know if you never try? How can you equate failing and moving on if you tried? We’re so quick to say “fail” instead of just saying “it wasn’t what I expected, so I moved on”. How many situations can you say this about? How many people do you know that could benefit from this different frame of mind–including yourself? Often we turn out to be our own worst critics.

It’s a monumental task that sets a lot of us up for failure and disappointment. Many of us change majors and jobs or careers several times well into our 30s, and only now are people realizing that this is perfectly fine, and even something desirable.

Everyone has their own career story to tell. I know people that graduated with their BA only to go work at UPS because of the awesome benefits and great paycheck. I know people who graduated with a BA they didn’t even want just to apply for their commission. I know women who got their Master’s and walked away from their job to stay home with their kids. I know moms that returned to school to go after a better job to support their families.  Everyone’s story is vastly different from others, but there is one common thread–and that is that there is no “right” way to do this.

A short ten years ago, right at the start of the changing college scene, everyone was in such a hurry to graduate to get the best job possible. We were motivated, energetic, and worked like mad people. We quickly learned that the job market wasn’t what was promised. We would have a much harder time finding a job, let alone one we were passionate about, let alone with all the daydream aspirations of paid benefits, full pension, ect. We were basically on our own.

For some of us, this was a huge blow to our egos. We had strong, clear goals, and didn’t want anything to stand in that way. Our ego. Our confidence. Our young ages. Our educations that we wore like badges of honor. To look back and tell my 20 year old self that this isn’t all bad, that things will work out, and that you’d be so incredibly surprised, and that new things will always come your way.

You are so much more than your job, your career. You are a friend to your co-workers. You’re the person who others look forward to talking to you in the break room. You are a person, not a machine.

We try new hobbies, and make new friends. We lose interest, or have a falling out. No one ever sees it coming. No one ever sets out to make a new friend and keep in mind that they could end in a blowout and not speak anymore. People have an inherent good, and naturally seek out other like-minded people to share their time with. Friendships and relationships can be messy, we are flawed humans that have feelings that are delicate, no matter how tough of a facade you can build. Even though you may have been hurt in the past, your heart keeps you pushing forward and trying, because you know deep down you are capable of being a wonderful friend and are worthy of friendship in return.

It may have taken you a long time to get to where you are. You may have had to start over multiple times. Obstacles like job loss or malicious people could have stood in your way, but you persevered. Each small win adds another facet to your personality, and bolsters your confidence.

In my early 20s I was massively confident, remember being joyful and energetic, and through life’s changes and punches, flowing along with the tides of pregnancies, weight gain, weight loss, depression, anxiety, relief, success, achieving independence, job changes, career changes, income loss and gain, seemingly innumerable events that shaped my personality to who I am right now. I only say “right now” because I have no idea what the future holds. The only thing I can be certain of is that this will change many times over throughout the course of my life. I’ll have highs and lows, and now I can realize that confidence isn’t something that you have–it’s something that you experience.

Confidence ebbs and flows with time, with your life lessons, your situations and surroundings, and the experiences you travel through.

Baby steps. You will get there.

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