For the week I was in Finland, I did not wear any make-up. I figured there was no point what with the constant snow to just wash it all off/over my face (though there were plenty of girls who tried to get around this – I have no idea how they succeeded! I think I am secretly jealous.)
There’s something very refreshing about getting used to myself bare; looking in a mirror and seeing… me! Just me. As nature intended, you might say, or ‘warts and all!’ Strangely, it made me less and not more critical of my appearance. I wasn’t looking to modify anything, so I became more accepting of what was there. I looked less at the tiny details, the areas I might want to ‘fix’ or beautify and more at the wider picture. The curvature of my chin, the freckles. Any lines just seemed to add more definition, more character. I had forgotten, almost, what it was like to see myself without defined eyebrows! I hadn’t taken the time to look recently and see just how fair they are, when compared to my unnaturally dark hair. I wanted to undo it at that point, to reverse it to it’s original colour which I have not seen in about 3 years.
I think perhaps it was being around so much nature which made me want to undo all modifications, to be completely fresh and natural, like my clean, white surroundings. To take out my piercings and grow out my hair and let my body heal with my mind. Being surrounded by such domineering natural features like the mountains and the glaciers gave me a clearer comprehension of just how small and fragile we are, but also how perfectly formed. It made me question why I had ever looked critically at my appearance and felt I needed to change what I saw, to think I could improve what was naturally there with something unnatural but at home, in the ‘real world’ I am attracted to these things. Why?
Finland made me want to leave my life in London behind. It made me consider what I surround myself with and think of how caught up in the world of materialism I have become. It made me want to run away and live in a log cabin and reflect. It made me want to cut myself off from the world.This fantasy has died considerably since I got back. Last night I went out and spent an hour preparing my hair and face for the perceived scrutiny it would receive in the bars and clubs, surrounded by others subjecting themselves to the same scrutiny. I don’t think I would cope with the emptiness wilderness, and of course, Finland is only ‘wilderness’ by comparison to here and is still a modern country, depending on supermarkets and central heating and fed by the worlds media, just the same. It is a fantasy that will stay with me, however and If it all gets too much, I can cast my mind back to standing in the middle of that frozen lake with nobody but my companion, and gazing in awe at the snow, trees and sky.