Friday, 21 March 2014

Maybe we made a new point...

I'm sure nobody is a stranger to the "No Makeup Selfie" pictures that are clogging up your news feeds on Facebook. This was then followed by several people sharing an article telling us all that we've missed the point. That these pictures are supposed to be raising awareness for cancer and that nobody is doing that now. They're just posting pictures of their freshly washed faces, and this isn't where it was supposed to go.

Well, this kid over here missed the point all together. I was under the impression that this fad was all about self esteem and confidence. Wups. Here I was posting my bare face and nominating my friends and apparently I was totally wrong in doing that because we're all missing the point.

Or maybe we're not.

I am not in any way trying to take anything away from cancer survivors or people who are fighting cancer at this very moment. It is a horrendous, disgusting illness and I have seen it in it's raw state. I have stood by patient's sides while they heard the news, I have said goodbye to family members, and I have shed thousands of tears for complete strangers as I care for their loved one in their last hours, and cried tears of joy over good reports from the oncologist or the surgeon. I know cancer. Trust me.

Everybody is aware of cancer. There. I said it. And I'm saying it as the granddaughter of someone who died after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, the daughter of someone who had cancer, and the cousin of someone else who is a cancer survivor. Cancer has touched my life over and over again, and I am not one bit offended if something that was intended to raise awareness goes a little to the left. I donate money to cancer on a regular basis. I run for the cure. I even care for cancer patients, for crying out loud! Everybody is aware of cancer!

Are you aware, however, that 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because they are afraid of bullies? Are you aware that 25% of girls in Canada have witnessed online bullying? Sixteen per cent of girls in Canada have had what they feel is an embarrassing photo of them posted online, and 38% of girls in Canada report that they get bullied online regularly. Also, 40% of Canadian workers report getting bullied on a regular basis.  I didn't know that.

On a totally different topic, I didn't realize how hard I was on myself until I had a little girl who thinks that I have the prettiest hair on the planet. I hated my thighs, I hated my stomach, I wanted to be ten pounds thinner. The list goes on. But now, I don't want her hearing me say that, because I don't want to instill in her that she can't be happy with herself. I still want to lose the baby weight, but I also want to be active and eat well because it's healthy, not to meet some unattainable airbrushed ideal. I don't want her to see me crash dieting January after January, or painting my face every morning, or burning the shit out of my hair on a regular basis with chemicals and heat, and then grow up and think that she should be thinner than she is, or that her hair should be straighter, or that she, just as she is, isn't enough. I don't want to teach her that.

I got nominated to post a picture of myself with no makeup on Facebook for a couple of hundred people to see and I thought, "Why not? Who cares?" I was nominated by a friend who had a beautiful picture up of her bare face, and I saw a lot of girls I know who wear makeup on a regular basis, and they all looked beautiful. And all of us got really great compliments on our pictures. Some from people that we might not have heard from in a long time. And it was nice.

But maybe, instead of missing the point, we're making a new one.

Maybe this raises some awareness, even if it's just self awareness, that we're a little more self conscious than we need to be. As evidenced by above statistics, our society isn't exactly fostering self esteem for females, even if you're an adult. Makeup and hair and diets are shoved down our throats on a minute to minute basis. I can say for certain that I very rarely get in front of the camera, and when I do, I have a tendency to rip that picture apart in my head because my face is fat, or my hair isn't right, or whatever. So maybe it's nice, for once, to wash our face, post a picture, and be reminded that we're enough. Because we're not going to be the ones to tell ourselves that.

If you want to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, the CIBC Run for the Cure for Breast Cancer is October 5, and even sooner, the Shave for the Brave for young adult cancer awareness is March 29 at the Avalon Mall. You can also buy a daffodil pin for the Canadian Cancer Society, donate to the Children's Wish Foundation, or to Ronald McDonald House, which benefit all children with illnesses and their families, but obviously include children going through treatments for cancer. Trust me, your few extra dollars going to any of these places is going to do a lot more good than your selfie ever did.

So let your bare face remind all of us that hey, we're not so bad, even if we did "miss the point". And if you're that upset that you missed it, throw a couple of dollars to one of those lovely links. And keep up with the selfies if you want, you bunch of beauties. I don't hate em' one bit.

#Selfie #NoMakeup #Gorgeous

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