In my “normal” life my routine in the mornings usually consisted of dragging myself out of bed and still half asleep, finding my way with my hands to my coffee machine. Once I had reached the “fountain of the awake” and the hot, bitter columbian roast was starting to pulse trough my veins, I could start thinking about a shower. That usually consisted of 10 minutes, in and out, brush teeth, into the underwear and then on to my make up. I was still relatively dozy by this point so who needed to add another step to the make up routine by using a moisturiser when I could barely see myself in the mirror anyway.
I used to work in London and the journey would often take anywhere from and hour and a half to two hours, depending if there were enough trains, enough staff or just in general the rail system was working in any capacity. Days could often start as early as 4 AM so who in their right minds had time to think about setting, baking, contouring and blending at that time of the morning. That was not strictly true, I didn’t know that much about the wonderful world of beauty at that point, so the best I could do was throw a bit of foundation, bronzer, mascara and lip stick at my face and hope for the best.
Once the depression and anxiety kicked in, the best I could do was hope to take a shower once every three days and if I was lucky, try my best to drag a brush through my hair, if the knots didn’t annoy me too much. Other than that, days were spent on the sofa or in my bed if I couldn’t face the world with pizza, chocolate and multiple pints of ice cream. Sometimes two or three pints in a day. My hair became lank, my skin sallow and my waist line, well that grew its own equator. I didn’t care, I hated myself, I hated what I looked like, I hated the way I felt and I hated the way I couldn’t control what I was doing to my body. I was having this internal argument with myself that was fast descending into chaos.
Nothing really mattered, I had no where to be, I wasn’t looking at my own face or subjecting the world too it, and the body well, that I could camouflage under a huge t-shirt and a pair or work out leggings. It made me feel slightly better that I was at least doing something towards exercise as I still had to walk to the fridge.
I had by this point exhausted all the catch up channels, Netflix binge sets and prison documentaries. Days had flown by in a haze of Death Row, Rikers Island documentaries and comedies that barely lifted a wrinkle let alone a laugh. Then it happened, it was like a twinkle a first, my eyes perked up and I noticed a feeling. I couldn’t tell you what those first glimmers were but I knew something was happening, I had found my holy grail, Youtube make-up tutorials. What was this whole new, shiny, pretty world where people looked like better versions of themselves? They looked flawless, they laughed rather than frown, they were having fun and I wanted to be part of it.
Now the pizza, chocolate and ice cream were still flowing and my equator of a waist was still growing but I had purpose. Days were spent devouring every tutorial I could get my hands on, the nights of laying awake kicking myself and worrying at the thought of all the mistakes I had made and my now hopeless situation disappeared into full coverage foundation, under eye primer, and beaming highlighter. What was it I was going to do with all this information? The only think I knew how to do, it was project time. The weeks sped by creating my very own little haven of a beauty room, I now had every setting spray, baking powder and blusher. My drawers were now full of Marc Jacobs, YSL, pro pallets and still I had not put a single drop on my face, let alone tried to blend eye shadow like a pro.
I wasn’t even stepping outside the door, let alone putting real clothes on, and suddenly I was intimidated beyond belief. Anxiety was kicking in and I had no control over it, what was I doing? Why did I think I could do make up? Why did I think I could make myself look pretty? Before I knew it I was hiding myself under the covers of my bed, in a ball using the same excuse I use everyday “maybe I will think about it tomorrow”. I kept this up for the best part of three weeks before it happened. Finally when I was alone and the house was quiet I went to work on the face. Everything I had learned I started to put into practice, no pressure and no expectation, I just sat down, brushes in hand and played.
All at once, I became excited, I could do this, if I lay down this transition shade and blend using a Morphe R39 brush and add this shimmer as a top coat, look what happens. Before I knew it, I had a full face of make up and it didn’t look half bad. That was it I was hooked! Everyday obsessed by trying a new look, what if I try lashes today? what if I try a spotlight eye? what if I try a cut crease? The options were endless. I was taking photos of the different looks I was creating, I was lighting up the internet with order after order of new make up, I knew where to shop and where to get the best discount. I was obsessed and continue to be. But I was still yet to let the world see my new vice.
I knew I had to do it, so when I unveiled the new face to my close friends and family, they loved it. They started to ask me questions, what would you do with this? What foundation would you recommend for me? How do you create that look. Mama Lola let me loose with her credit card and I created a whole new make-up bag for her. My obsession that I had so quietly beavered away at was now making others feel better about themselves.
I started to get myself in a routine, I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning so that I could start playing with my new toys. I felt inspired, this was the break through with the depression that I needed. I had a purpose, for once in a very long time I was no longer concerned with other peoples problems, sorting out rota’s or staffing issues, looking at EBITDA and targets, I was concerned with just me, myself and I. It had taken 6 months to get to this point. To be able to focus on something else rather than a dark cloud that hung above my head.
My confidence has started to grow again, my creativity is running on over drive and feel like I am living again. It has inspired me in so many other ways and to say I am in the process of changing my life is an understatement. I still have bad days but they are becoming fewer and further in-between now, and the coat of make up that I put on my face does act like war paint which allows me to be in the world with others for a few hours at a time.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying to slap on some make-up and the pain and self doubt disappears because it can’t and it will not. But finding your passion allows your brain to to stop focussing on the dark monster that sits on your shoulder and allows you to come into the light for a little while. A welcome break that for those who are suffering with depression need so very, very much. They say from little things big things can grow, I found my seed, planted it and now I’m looking after it, and who knows what beautiful thing this will all grow into.