My Journey with Trauma

I started wearing makeup when I was in my early teens to cover acne and give me a bit of self-confidence. It stretched no further than some foundation and a concealer. I really didn’t want anyone to know that I had cosmetics of my face; I was a guy after all.

Correction: I am a guy.

When I was 14 my dad took massively unwell and spent months in hospital. At this age it was too hard for me to deal with and I blocked it out: I mean, I blocked out almost 100% of what had happened. I continued with life with a false sense of happiness, I did well at school and I went to a top-ranking university.

Then reality hit me.

My dad had a brain hemorrhage when I was 14. He was driving a van at the time and my younger sister and I were passengers.

I had went through cycles of anxiety and depression at university, and I couldn’t quite decipher why.

I couldn’t deal with the change my dad made both physically and mentally and I detached myself from reality.

I felt disconnected, I felt spaced out, I felt unreal.

A massive part of me didn’t want to be me and makeup offered that escapism.

I could transform myself into a new person with a new identity and a different life story.

I could suddenly be someone other than Graham, whose father was unwell.

I used to wear a lot of makeup to mask what was going on underneath; I would wear a heavy-duty foundation to try to create a solid foundation in my life; I would wear bold eye makeup to mask the tears in my eyes.

Of course, this is unhealthy. In the words of the late and great Sigmund Freud:

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

Makeup wasn’t a form of expression of the sadness and grief that I was experiencing: it was a way of repressing and hiding it.

As I started to deal with what had happened in my life to my dad, I stopped wearing as much makeup and it became a way of enhancing what was already there.

Suddenly as I felt lighter, so too did my makeup.

I was no longer making-up for what had happened; I was made up and living life despite what had happened.

Makeup should be that little bit of self-therapy you have in the morning as you look in the mirror and think about what lies ahead that day. It shouldn’t be a way of looking in the mirror and stopping your reflection upon the past.

As I have a stronger sense of self and love for who I am, I no longer feel the need to hide myself. I use makeup to open myself up and show the world my inner beauty and sense of calm.

For what people see on the outside, truly is a reflection of what is in the inside.

It is for that exact reason that I only use natural, botanical products which are good for my skin and let my skin and mind have that breathing space.

Head over to lookfantstic to see what natural makeup they offer.


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