Monday, March 31, 2014

The "No Make-up Selfie Craze is Making Me Crazy

I've been a bit confused by the "no-make up selfie" craze that has hit social media.  Actually it's making me a little crazy.  How does this supposed bravery compare to the bravery of anyone who is fighting for their life while enduring horrendous chemotherapy?

I take a chemo drug twice a day by mouth.  I don't have cancer, but because CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demylinating Neuropathy) is an autoimmune disease, the thought is if they can lower my immunity enough to stop my body from attacking itself, they can at least halt the progression of the disease.  When I was told about this treatment I was also told, "You need to understand, this drug can kill you."  I was given tons of information about the pros and cons of taking Cellcept, and after much prayer and research I simply asked my neurologist, "If you were in my shoes and knowing all you know about my case, would you take it?"  His answer was yes.

Taking chemo by mouth does not have the same side effects as taking it though an IV line.  I've not lost my hair, and my nausea is nothing compared to what others endure.  It does cause me to have stomach issues, and I take three other meds to help control those symptoms.  Chemo is a nasty, nasty drug in any form.  Because it is so dangerous, I have to have blood work done so often that I stay anemic.  Chemo makes you lethargic.  It's not as severe in pill form.  Add in the anemia and the weakness from CIDP, and some days it's all I can do to get out of bed.  I don't wear make-up very often at all because of the weakness in my hands and arms.  Putting on eyeliner or mascara is near to impossible.  I have to keep a hairstyle that allows me to wash and go.  It has to be a style that doesn't take much effort to blow dry because my arms are too weak to hold a blow dryer for very long.

But at least I have hair.  So I don't complain about a boring, short cut and not being able to curl or flat iron my hair daily.  I'm very grateful to have hair.

Before getting sick you would have never seen me without make-up.  I would have not walked to the mailbox without my hair and make-up done.  There was a time in my life I would paint my fingernails every night with a color that would match my outfit I had picked out for the next day.  Now you might see me wear make-up two or three times a year ... usually only during family pictures.  I overheard someone say one day, "She's just let herself go since she got sick."  The person who said that has no idea I heard them (I guess they will now if they read this), and it hurt.  It made me self-conscience.  Every flaw on my face can be seen because it isn't covered with make-up.

I've been somewhat offended by the "no-make selfie" craze.  If wearing no make-up is brave, what do people really think of me, and those like me, who really can't wear make-up?  And what about those who make it their choice for a variety of reasons simply not to wear make-up at all?

After doing some research, I learned this originally was started as a way to raise money for cancer research.  I've seen over a hundred post on different social media sites, and out of all of those who have posted their brave picture, not one person posted the link where you can donate money for research.  Somehow it got lost in the craze.

I read this (There is no bravery in no make-up selfies) post on a friend's Facebook page a couple of days ago, and this morning I read this (Why your bare faced selfies aren't really helping anyone) post on a different Facebook page.  I encourage you to read both.  I thought I was being oversensitive to be offended by this craze, but it turns out I'm not the only person who feels this way.

Before posting your brave no make-up selfie, stop and think about how it is effecting someone who is dealing with a life-threatening disease.  I have a friend whose daughter is fighting for her life.  She as pancreatic cancer.  She told me this weekend she hasn't wanted a picture taken of herself because she's so sick and lost so much weight.  She finally agreed to have one taken in the last few days.  She's not brave because of the picture she allowed to be snapped.  Her bravery comes in her wanting to fight for her life, and solely relying on her Heavenly Father to give her the ability to fight.


  1. I completely agree with you; I too have been driven nuts by the thoughts of "how is this possibly helping?" and "why is this such a big deal?" I never wear make-up, never paint my nails, and never do more than a quick blow-dry if that. It doesn't make me brave at all. I do it because make-up is expensive, my husband prefers me without it, and my children are time-consuming. =) And some would say I've "let myself go" since becoming a mother. But bravery runs far deeper than letting ourselves be seen in our real skin, blemishes and all. If that's what we consider bravery now, we are a shallow people.

  2. Hi, Robin. I have to admit that your blog post is the first I'm hearing about the "no makeup selfie". I have made a conscious effort not to be on social media as much in the last year or so. Not to say I never look at Facebook or Twitter...just not as much as I once did. This is probably why I have missed this trend. I"m not sorry to have missed it, but I am glad to be finding out about it via your blog. As a 2 year cancer survivor, though, this does not sit well with me either. There are so many (SO MANY) other, better ways that folks can show their support to cancer patients! Thank you for posting this and know that I will be praying for you as you continue to fight and live with CIDP.