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On day 8 of the wig project i was soooooooo excited that Ann Marie and Peter were taking me into London College of Fashion to a Make Up class where i would be a model 🙂
I have never had my make up done professionally and was excited to learn tips 🙂
On a “High” we turned up, along with 15 girls (and Pete) in the class and the tutor Suzanne. The room was surrounded by mirrors and swivel chairs and lots of lights. I found the room to be very unflattering with the intense lighting! You could see everything, my wig especially seemed particularly wiggy. The hair parting looked false and the foundation which the hair was knotted onto seemed very visible. I suddenly started to feel VERY subconscious, i had to give myself a shake, this was not like me.
The lesson began and Suzanne was teaching how to create high fashion 60’s Make up. Selecting make up to match the skin tone and showing the creative side to make up. I only ever used make-up to try to enhance what i have never to be artisitc on my face!
Once the demonstration was over, the students could use the time on their models to practice which ever technique they wanted. Pete was working on me as a model to help me create a “natural make up finish”
I wanted to take my wig off so it would be easier for pete to work on me as you cant’t tie up a wig! I took a deep breath and whipped it off! It wasn’t compulsory that i did , but i felt i needed to do it for myself and for the project. Besides i have been out bald in public, i swim at the pool nearly everyday bald, it doesnt bother me. Ann Marie is used to seeing me bald at her house and never takes a second glance! That bit was cool, i am used to people staring! 🙂
Hesitantly I began to take off my make up, eyelashes first, I suddenly began to feel uneasy, I had an overwhelming urge to turn around and run out the class, i got cold feet. I could feel every student’s eye in the room looking at me in their peripheral vision, multiplied 10 fold by the number of mirrors surrounding me. As i continued to take my make up off, bit by bit i felt i was stripping myself infront of all these strangers, i felt so vulnerable……. first my eyelashes, then my eyebrows and eyeliner, it was as though i was unvieling a freak. I felt different, i felt freakish, like that fish in the goldfish bowl….. It was awful.
Very quickly the students seemed to get over the initial impact and busied on applying make up to their models…… i felt better again. Perhaps it was my paranoia getting the better of me??
Pete began by applying foundation, then concealer and eyeliner. It was then time to apply my eyebrows. For ease Pete had commented how good my eyebrows looked so i said i would just put them on my usual way……. besides i have done my eyebrows like this for years. It is hard to draw natural eyebrows on and for them to stay there for the day without rubbing off. people who do not suffer Alopecia don’t seem to understand this fact. Drawing eyebrows straight onto hairless skin is difficult, it is not like just penciling in sparse eyebrows where the makeup is held in place with the eyebrow hairs. You have to be more definite about the colour and the texture and the shape. I duly put them on, looked in the mirror and was happy……..UNTIL……
Along comes Suzanne, the class Tutor. Immediately i saw the look of fraught on her face! She automatically assumed Pete had drawn them on and almost scolded him!!!! They were far too thick and dark and the wrong colour! I suddenly felt stupid and ugly and even more freakish. The reaction of the tutor was one of OMG they look hideous, Pete what have you done?!……. little did she know i drew them on……… and everyday i draw them on like this, and everyday i leave the house with them drawn on like this and what’s more, everyday i look in the mirror after drawing them on like this and think they look friggin great!!!!. The tutor is obviously horrifed. I put my wig on everyday and think it looks good too? I stick my eyelashes on when i go out and think they look good? What else am i doing that i think looks great and possibly looks horrific??????……………. Am i seeing myself differently than others??? Am i trying to tell myself i look “ok” when really i look a complete mess????? I wanted to slap her and tell her straight! How rude!
I could feel myself getting defensive and then wanting to attack her……. Her with her “perfect” hair and “perfect” flawless make up. I used to be like that, I never even needed to wear make up when i had eyebrows and eyelashes, she has no idea how i feel or what my make up has to withstand on a daily basis…….
I wanted to shout at her and tell her how i felt and how dare she be so rude and insensitive……….. but i took the more professional dignified approach, one of silence and listened to her advice gracefully…..i thought i would give her a chance, perhaps i needed the advice of a ” professional” who had the potential to teach me something.
As it turns out…… She didn’t……. I am learning as i go along that i have had this condition for nearly 10 years and what i have achieved though trial and error works for me…… very rarely has someone who doesn’t have the condition themselves been able to give sound advice……Bar Ann Marie with the primer tip!! 🙂
When Suzanne was finished, yes perhaps it was a more subtle finish, especially for going with the more natural bald look, i did like it. But as soon as i put my Dark Brown wig back on it was fair to say that the wig over powered my face…… the eyebrows she had drawn on were not strong enough for my look with the wig and literally faded away……
I left that class feeling the worst i had felt about myself in months. I was surrounded by beautiful young girls wanting to “cut it” in the Make Up Industry, so young, with such little experience of life. So wrapped up in looks that they were ignorant to peoples feelings and felt the need to stare at me. The intensity of the beauty industry seemed to bring out a certain jealousy in me that i did not kn.ow existed with in me. Then there was a tutor, much older and wiser and more mature who never even acknowledged my condition with the simplest of questions after me attending her class as a project model with two of her students? I question peoples integrity sometimes.
We left class and headed home, i felt deflated and saddened that life had treated me this unfairly. I spoke with Ann Marie and Peter about it on the way home in the tube, how the class had made me feel. Ann Marie and Pete are both mature students, they too realise how fickle the young students can be. Even Ann Marie can sometimes have hang ups in the class with her age, and other students applying make up to more mature skin……. I realise that everyone has their own insecurities.
Sitting on the tube I could not hold back the tears…….. I cried for two stops until i managed to gather myself together.
It got me thinking…..
Do i possibly try to be stronger than i actually am? More bubbly than i really am? Am i trying to hide my inner feelings to the world or is it just called SURVIVAL???
Was i being paranoid today? Perhaps it was my perception of the way Suzanne handled the situation which was wrong. Perhaps she would have felt that i did not want her to ask me questions about my condition? Perhaps she thought she might be being rude or insensitive by bringing it up? I fail to believe this since it was me that took my wig off initially, surely that is telling someone that it is ok to ask questions? In her defence she did spend time trying to make my eyebrows better.
Maybe it was ME that had the the issues and the insecurities of the day….. There are always two sides to every story.
All i know is i felt sad after this day, sad enough that it made me cry and that is very unusual for me.
Thanks for reading!