Seeing all the “no make up” selfies on Facebook this past week ironically reminded me that I hadn’t chatted about the make up workshop I attended some weeks ago.
I heard about the “Look Good Feel Better” program just after my first chemo treatment around the time my hair started falling out and while I was researching headscarves on the web. The sites I found gave advice on dealing with the other physical side effects of chemo such as eyebrow and eyelash loss and included info on LGFB and what they do.
Basically in a nutshell they are an organisation started in the USA after an Oncologist asked his receptionist to buy and put some make up on one of his patients who was battling with self esteem issues after undergoing chemo. His theory was that if she was looking better she would automatically feel better about herself…blah blah blah.. It all sounded rather chauvinistic to me…..
To put it even more bluntly I had no interest in or any intention of attending any of these workshops. I have never been into make up in any big way and I guess I definitely was not in the right space to appreciate or fathom just how attending a make up workshop could make me feel better about ANYTHING since my surgery. It certainly seemed like an awful way to capitalise on and trivialise a terribly traumatic time in women’s lives: ‘sorry you got cancer and lost so much of yourself – but here, slap on some make up and all will be well!’ OK, so I REALLY wasn’t in a good place!
However a month ago one of the soldiers I met at the cancer center asked if I would attend the February workshop with her. I was really conflicted and still not convinced about the concept… but after a bit of soul searching and taking a big step off my high horse, I felt I really could not refuse an opportunity to support a woman just starting her chemo journey AND there was the promise of tea, cookies and free stuff!!
Pete had previously been on the other end of my ranting about exactly why I would never attend one of these workshops, so when I told him I had booked myself into one that very next week he looked rather surprised, but certainly was not brave enough to question my reasoning, afterall he had spent the last 4 months living with a woman with chemo brain and hormonal imbalances!
The workshop coincided with Adele’s trip and I thought it may be a good way to diffuse the shock of her visit to the Cancer center with me. So as soon as chemo was done that February morning, Adele drove us off to St Annes hospital.
We arrived out of breath and about 35 mins late due to slow dripping chemo drugs and walking up 3 flights of stairs (paranoia may also have contributed to my breathlessness – I kept trying not to breathe too deeply considering I was entering a hospital, a place teeming with unseen germs just waiting to attack me and my severely compromised immune system!). Sadly my chemo buddy was absent, her white blood count too low to be anywhere but in bed.
One of the volunteers helped me catch up with the rest of the class. I was presented with a toiletry bag crammed full of make up, a cleanser, a moisuriser and a makeup mirror in which to witness my miraculous transformation! Yay, REALLY cool free stuff!!
My face was quickly cleansed and prepped, I was shown how to correctly apply eyeshadow, mascara, eye liner and blusher. The make up consultant volunteer was showing the ladies how to correctly draw in eyebrows and how to give the illusion of eyelashes using eyeliner. I was one of the lucky ones who still had eyebrows and lashes, and even though they had thinned out quite a bit, thankfully they were still there.
They spoke about wigs and head coverings, I was even able to show them how to use an old T-shirt as a head cover – thanks to google!
It ended up being more than just about the make up. I discovered the organisation relies on trained volunteers and all the make up gets donated by various cosmetic houses. One of our volunteers had completed her cancer treatment in October last year. We were all very envious of her thick Rupunzel like locks (ok so maybe to the outside world she looked like someone with a short, funky haircut). We exchanged info about the best hair growth solutions, I spoke to 2 ladies about their experiences with radiation and the side effects they encountered.
I was even asked to demonstrate the T-shirt tying technique on one poor unsuspecting husband who had the misfortune of arriving early! This was the same husband I overheard, as he was leaving with his gorgeous newly made up wife proudly sporting her new “eyebrows”, thanking the volunteers for making her smile….
So despite my misgivings and my previously sarcastic remarks, it was a great morning! Another opportunity to share war stories, learn, teach and adapt on our individual paths. I think we all left there feeling more positive and prettier than when we walked in, and perhaps more positive and prettier than we had in a very long time.
So if anyone is looking to donate to another good cause while taking their no make up selfies, please consider the Look Good Feel Better foundation. There is not much out there to help woman cope with the after effects of chemo, and this relatively unknown group is doing an amazing job….
|Your Assistance is Needed!|
“Lipstick is really magical. It holds more than a waxy bit of color – it holds the promise of a brilliant smile, a brilliant day, both literally and figuratively.” Roberta Gately
“When I was your age…I wish I’d known that I already had everything I needed within myself to be happy, instead of looking for happiness at beauty counters.” Ilene Beckerman
“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle, or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit. Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside, somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL, it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.” Mandy Hale
“I fought a killer and didn’t even smudge my makeup.” Rose Pressey
“How obvious can it be? … The purpose of makeup is to defy the degradations of time, and time is just a synonym for death.” Dean Koonz