Welcome to the new website and thus the brand new blog, you know, new year - new you and all that -- which you've probably had your spam folder filled to the brim with such emails... Nothing new or original there, hey? Let me put this to you in a different way; what if I said new year, old you? You've been learning a lot about yourself over the past years after all, and there are things to be cherished from that. All that hard work that you've put into your current self deserves to be celebrated!
Of course, I'm not objecting to eating healthier and trying to lose a few pounds if that's what your goals are, they're important, important if they are done for your benefit and not because you feel that you have to. The health of our internal thinking, our self respect and our boundaries deserve just as much - if not more attention. That inner strength is most of the time more difficult than lifting heavy weights before a judging audience at the gym.
I suppose this is a good place to start with my philosophy, really. Let me set the scene.
I'm propped up in bed and my mind is swimming with thoughts and ideas. Willow, the cat, is looking up at me from her basket and the weather has graced us with a grey sky to keep our January spirits high. The air smells of clementine and peppermint, thanks to the humidifier and essential oils that my sister bought me for Christmas. An empty mug of coffee sits on my bedside table, which has given me the boot to write this first blog post, and let's not forget that I'm sitting in this setting in the middle of Paris.
Paris isn't the place I expected to end up as a thirty year old makeup artist, but life throws adventure and unexpected routes into the path of the journey if you allow it. Born in a town not far from London - we soon moved to the east of England in the countryside for a quieter life. I always knew I was a little different when I was growing up -- I wanted to wear the wedding dress during dress-up time at play school and I loved bath time because I could pretend to be a mermaid... because that's everyone's life goal, isn't it? Plonk a couple of ugly jumpers, some blue and white speckled glasses on me and accompany that with a bowl hair-cut and there we are... me to a T.
Hey... I was pretty cute actually for the early 90s!
I was soon bullied at school about the way I looked, with my, at the time, untrendy glasses and gappy teeth. Teachers were unsupportive and said I would never get anywhere in life, and life at home was like an upbringing of the early twentieth century with the notion that "children should be seen and not heard!".
Thankfully I had a creative imagination, so I kept myself occupied opening restaurants in my bedroom with fish and chips made out of cardboard - coloured in with wax crayons and spectacular theatre shows that would take place on my single bed that lasted on average around ten seconds a pop.
I detested school and soon began to feel terrible about myself. I put myself down all the time so that nobody else could get there first, but what I was doing was subconsciously reiterating the fact that these people putting me down were right. Without knowing it, it infected my adult life and began to grind me down even more.
When I began working as a makeup artist I was thrown into the deep end of empty promises that the beauty industry employs us to sell on to others. I began piling the makeup on and started to try and be somebody different, and let us not forget, this was the beginning of the social media era.
I began to express my anger about the pressures of society and landed up writing a weekly column for the local newspaper, talking about natural beauty, celebrating yourself, and of course there were a few awful dating stories thrown in there too... well... you've got to spice it up a bit, haven't you? Awkward coffee dates and nights alone with Norah Jones and the cat.
The career escalated quickly and I was soon proving people wrong, and unfortunately that's what it became about, having to prove myself to say 'look, I can do that!'. It's good to be competitive, but too much of that nonsense can be exhausting... especially in London. So, after a few years in London I gave everything up to come and rediscover myself in Paris almost six years ago. I didn't speak the language and there was something rather nice about not understanding all the background noise... all I could hear was the conversations with myself that I needed to have to start working towards self acceptance.
I soon met a life coach called Beverley Brown, who gave me the tools to start getting on with the present talk and sweep away the unattractive past that had been collecting dust for a few decades.
There's always work to do, but I can confidently say that I'm quite some way down the road to being happy with who I am. I respect myself so much now, I say no to things (in a nice way) and I tell people when I'm not happy about things, something of which I would have been terrified to do before... I was the 'yes' man before that.
I believe that beauty comes from the inside and using makeup as a tool to enhance your own beautiful features is the way to go. Social media has to be used in moderation and we mustn't compare ourselves to others, because most people that I speak to that look as though they have amazing lives on social media, are not happy.
In just over a weeks time I'm about to embark on an adventure in celebration of Charles Gillman Cosmetics tenth birthday. I'll be travelling back to the UK to see how I've changed and how inspirational people that I met along the way have changed too. I'm looking to find out what they've learned about themselves during this time and things that they've learnt to let go of.
I'm excited, nervous and eager to know what my findings will be... so many emotions for a British person! I'll be updating my blog during this time with short documentary style videos, interviewing some of these great people that were around when I needed them. If you're reading this, I would love you to join me on this journey and I would love to hear what you've leant about yourself over these past few years and how you've become more resistant against the pressures of modern day society.
Things are about to get honest, open and personal - and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you. Until then, have a great start to 2017.