What a week that was! Forgive me if I seem naive, but welcoming a news crew into my home, being interviewed and filmed and then appearing on the BBC isn't something I do very often (ie: never)!
It was interesting, and gratifying that the BBC decided to showcase The Midlife Movement's Face it, Own it! Project. It was also frustrating that they cut all mention of The Midlife Movement from the segment. Nevertheless, over 60 women (so far!) have hunted me down and sent their no make-up selfies to be included in the forthcoming book and exhibition.
The project has clearly struck a chord. I have been inundated with emails, not just with selfies attached, but with messages of support like the one below:
"I just wanted to thank you for taking up the topic of the natural beauty of us all. As a 63-year-old mother and a retired teacher, I appreciate the pressure to conform to a stereotypical, idealised, artificial and unattainable image of womanhood. It's wonderful to see just how beautiful we are naturally."
It really is quite wonderful.
I don't personally subscribe to the view that it is "brave" to appear in public without make-up - for me that is a word that should be reserved for situations requiring true courage and heroism - but I can attest to the fact that it can be uncomfortable to truly "show ourselves" in public.
Of course, as I was to appear on the television advocating for the natural beauty of women 40+, I had to walk my talk and do so bare-faced. But it wasn't the lack of make-up that bother me. Rather, it was an uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that kept me awake the night before. A negative voice in my head that said you're too fat, too old, too uninteresting...
There is no denying that how we feel about our ageing appearance affects us, both mentally and emotionally, and consequently in the way we show up in the world.Like death and taxes, we can be certain that we aren't going to get any younger, so we might as well work on self acceptance now!
I had invited two members of the Midlife Movement to experience this with me, and they were magnificent. Jane McCourt spoke eloquently about her recovery from cancer and Lucy Boulter declared, loud and proud, that she already had a face and didn't always feel the need to mask it with another one.
They, along with the beautiful women who have taken part so far, are the stars of this project. Their willingness to be seen, to be vulnerable and to be part of something joyful makes my heart truly happy. I am so proud of you all!
You can watch the interview here on this website (scroll down the page)
If you'd like to find out more about the project and/or to take part, you can still upload your selfie here.
On Thursday you can listen to Lucy, Jane and I chatting about our 5 minutes of fame on the Podcast. Listen here, or in your favourite Podcast app (just search for The Midlife Movement).