Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Makeup, Mercury Retrograde and the Lessons They Bring

Boundless by ineedchemicalx

I have been having some intense dreams for the past few weeks and have been weepy for even longer. I didn't realize Mercury was going retrograde, I just felt like my subconscious was trying to work out something really intense. I felt as though I was stuck trying to make sense of it all though, I needed help connecting the dots and making whatever this was move in a productive and healing way. I didn't even care what it was as long as I could learn and grow from it. I needed relief.

After another tedious night of disturbing night terrors and wading through massive floods I reached out to my fellow community of practitioners for feedback and ideas on what could help me move this gunk that felt like it was drowning me with my tears when I was awake and my flooded dreams when I was asleep. The loving and compassionate responses began to help me pull out of my funk. The biggest thing I noticed though was that a LOT of people were feeling very similarly to me. We discussed shared feelings of being stuck, wondering why we haven't gotten further in life, grieving something (or someone), major changes that we are trying to adjust to... You name it and we all seemed to be feeling it. One of the messages I received privately was from a woman who had known abusive relationships before, had battled cancer (unlike me), and now did Coaching around dreams. She helped me understand so much about my flooded dreams in just one message those dreams stopped that night. Watching a classic movie (I Love You Again) that made me laugh probably helped me sleep better too. :)

The morning was May 18th, 2015; the first day of Mercury Retrograde - although I hadn't realized it yet. I slept a little better although the dreams were more complex and vivid. The one thing I did take away from my dreams that night was that I was afraid to face myself... OR there was something keeping me from being honest and authentic to myself. Determined to figure out what this all these dreams were trying to tell/show me I decided to go to work without makeup on.

Now I know this doesn't sound like a big deal to most of you but to help you understand how serious this decision was for me try to understand that I was first employed in October 1989 and I have never EVER gone to work without makeup on. I had such anxiety my heart was racing all morning. This was a type of vulnerability I had never attempted before. Only since my current relationship began over three years ago did I feel brave enough to go out in public without makeup on and that would be a quick errand to the grocery store. I have a partner that tells me all the time how beautiful I am without it and practically begs me to go without it more often but my fears are more powerful than his words of encouragement. I'm pretty sure he finds it maddening. He was confident I was going to break down and put makeup on but I didn't, I braved it!

Here's what I learned from one day at work without makeup:
  1. The number of strangers that ignore you, check you out, and look at you with any other variety of emotion does not change.
  2. When someone who is used to seeing me everyday with makeup on laughs at me and tells me I look tired and offers me coffee all day it actually makes me feel prouder of myself, not ashamed.
  3. I may not be as brave without the encouragement of others, like my young and beautiful little co-worker who mentioned to me more than once how good I look without makeup and I have nothing to worry about. Like she said, "You're pale but you're pale either way so who cares?!" Haha. I liked that perspective from my little feisty and much younger Latina friend.
  4. Last but most importantly, I heard my mother and her mother (who even wore foundation on her neck and sometimes her d├ęcolletage) in my head all day. I heard what I was told growing up (or basically what I interpreted from what I was told), expressions like, 'You have to always wear makeup so your man doesn't tire of you or cheat on you', 'opportunities happen for women who take care of themselves'. 
 I had to face all the programming I had about my self-worth based on my looks. I had to face all the people that influenced it from the fears of the women in my life, to the kids that would tease and bully me as a child to the relationship I had in the past where I was lucky to only be called Casper when I had makeup on. All these people had trained me to fear showing my face, my REAL face, as if it was something to be ashamed of. The voice of one man who loves me now could not drown out all the voices from my past; I had to do that for myself.

Without realizing it, I had began Mercury Retrograde facing one of my oldest, deepest and arguably, maybe one of my most superficial fears. After my first consultation with the coach I mentioned earlier I realized that what I did that day was probably one of the most loving things I could have done for myself. I love makeup, it keeps me from nervously touching and picking at my face and it's one of the few really feminine things I get a lot of joy out of doing but I learned that I don't NEED it. I wear makeup when I respect myself, take pride in myself and want to amplify what I see in the mirror. Now I can go without makeup whenever I want to and feel those exact same things! I wear the makeup, it doesn't wear me. I don't have to hide behind or allow it to define me and going without doesn't make me any more or less of a beautiful woman.

Does any of this have to do with Mercury Retrograde? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? Not really. When it's time to face things and begin to change old patterns and get the courage to face old fears then it's just time. If the cosmos, universe, planets, or whatever happens to support you in that moment or even helps facilitate it then so be it. Awareness is key - in all things. None of things have to define you but they can help guide you into getting closer to being and living authentically.
For a dash of added bravery, I took a selfie before work sans makeup. EEK!

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