Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Go a Day Without Makeup

Before I get into today‘s happiness trigger, I just wanted to follow up on last week’s Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Make Eye Contact and Smile. 
As I mentioned in the post, I’ve been really making an effort to acknowledge people by looking them in the eyes and smiling, even if it’s only for a brief moment on the train. This morning, while I was scootering to work, Headphones Guy (one of the people I regularly pass on the street and smile at every morning) actually smiled and waved! And on the train, I’ve ended up connecting with one of the regular riders with whom I can now share a little evening commute banter as we make the long trip from the city to the valley. 
Maybe these connections are superficial at best, but they’re still connections–and connections that acknowledge and reaffirm all of the beautiful things that it means to exist this strange but beautiful world. Anyway. Sorry for waxing poetic(-ish). Here’s today’s trigger! 

Today’s post comes on the heels of a rather bold thing I tried out yesterday…I don’t know where I got the strength to do it, but somehow, I managed to live through the embarrassment and move on:

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you may be aware that I’m dealing with some ugly health issues. Now, when I say “ugly,” I’m talking about the things that are going on inside, like hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities…but sometimes, all of that internal ugliness likes to remind me of its presence by taking out its anger on my face.

I’m going to write a little more about the whole acne issue in my next post, but suffice it to say that it’s pretty obvious that the acne is definitely an issue.

I’ve always had acne, but over the past year, things have gotten so bad that there are days–weeks–when I’m embarrassed to leave the house because of how I look. I’ve tried every topical and internal treatment from tea tree oil to proactive to pore cleansing strips to antibiotics. And, at the end (or rather the beginning) of the day, I slap on layers of makeup and sneak past my mirror.

But I’m at the point where the makeup doesn’t even help, and I’m realizing that I’ve been using it as a crutch instead of “facing” the facts: this is who I am, and what I look like, and the mirror can’t hurt me.

Today’s happiness trigger is a tough one–one that may not trigger happiness at first. But it’s a challenge that I think will lead to greater happiness and freedom once it’s met: to trigger HAPPY, go a day without makeup.


I love makeup* as much as the next gal–but I want to get to a point in my life where I see it as an option, not a necessity.

Wearing makeup is an act of hiding, putting on a mask and ignoring the problem. Everyone can see the problems bubbling beneath the surface, but somehow makeup makes it easier for us to avert our eyes and avoid the issue. Sometimes, the mask even makes the problems worse, which means that we become dependent on it–to hide the problems that it’s amplifying. It’s a vicious circle.

In a way, I see makeup as a sort of universal metaphor for the ways in which we practice avoidance and hurt ourselves instead of forgiving ourselves for the “ugliness” we perceive during the time of healing.

And healing isn’t pretty. Recovery isn’t pretty. Dealing with our demons can be downright grotesque.

But I’m going to give it a shot, take off the mask, and see if I can find a little beauty in the process. The mirror can’t judge me, and others’ opinions don’t matter. Mine is the only face I have, and I’m going to learn how to respect it.

It’s not going to be easy, but I think, in time, I’ll be a lot happier for it.

Would you take off your makeup? What other masks do you wear–and have you ever tried to trigger HAPPY by removing them?

As always, I’m listening.

Stay hungry,


*PS While we’re on the subject, if you’re going to use makeup, I’d suggest looking into some more natural/organic/crap-free brands. Part of my transition to Paleo nutrition has been to transition to a more holistic total-body approach–which has included giving up shampoo/conditioner (again), as well as using the oil cleansing method on my face. No more chemical for cleaning means no more chemicals for makeup either. I’ve been doing the research on some “better” brands, and there are some great suggestions in Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide, which is amazing (and what I’m using to find solutions for healing my skin…).


7 thoughts on “Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Go a Day Without Makeup

    • Well, it was super-embarassing, but no major catastrophes occurred. It was kind of freeing to realize that the only person it really affects is me, and I make the choice whether or not to be affected by it. I ended up having a hugely productive day, so that was a win.

      Although, while no one outright asked me if I was sick, I definitely got a few pitying looks and a couple of worried, “so…how’re you doing”s. It’s almost funny, in a strange way!

      • Me without eyebrow pencil is apparently a concern-provoking site. Well done for being brave- might give it a go tomorrow although it’s my initial appointment with my eating disorder dietitian (yes we get amazing public healthcare in UK) so I best try to look as healthy as possible!

    • Paleo is the umbrella term I use to describe the lifestyle (not a diet) that I follow. If you’ve heard of the “Caveman Diet,” that’s the core of the philosophy: don’t eat stuff your ancestors wouldn’t recognize. That means real, unprocessed foods–mostly meat and veggies, with a little bit of fruit. Some people keep raw dairy in their diets, but I’m completely dairy-, grain-, and legume-free. Personally, I eat high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb (although I don’t calorie count, so I don’t know the exact ratios–and I don’t care), but Paleo spans everything from ketogenic diets to high-carb athletic diets (lots of starchy veggies and fruits, etc.).

      I originally started eating this way to cure my acne and amenorrhea issue, but I ended up starting my recovery from ED as a result. I found out that putting on healthy body fat by eating healthy fats actually put my brain in a better place–my depression lifted, and my anxiety became more manageable. (I learned that brains actually run on fat by-products called ketones a lot better than they do on carbs, and MUCH better than they do on nothing :D).

      I’m not healed and I’m obviously going to be dealing with the psychological ramifications of ED for the rest of my life in some form or another, but because I no longer have to count calories, restrict myself (trust me–once you give up sugars–grains & dairy included–, you don’t feel like you need to eat them again), or freak out about foods, my life is infinitely better.

      (Sorry, getting off my Paleo soapbox…)

      • I’m living in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I’m blessed to have things like farmers markets and lots of Whole Foods around…But I try to spend as wisely as I can and focus on organic, grass fed, etc. where I can and make sacrifices where I can’t. Luckily, my mom (with whom I’m living right now) is into the same lifestyle, so we have two freezers for stocking up on good meats!

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