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March 23, 2014 / ldejong4

My No Makeup Selfie

I collected marbles, I had pogs, rainbow coloured springs, a Baby Born doll but was never into Pokemon cards. Every year there was a new playground trend to follow just because everyone else was doing it. Now the fads have taken to social media sites with neck nominations (downing a pint of beer and I hate this) to sharing a no makeup selfie in aid of cancer charities. Thank god I wasn’t nominated for the former but have been tagged by several friends to post a picture of myself. While I think this is a great message gone viral for an important cause, I hope I can also contribute in another way.

I suppose the purpose behind the no makeup selfie is to reveal our ‘true side’ a bit more or perhaps it’s to expose our vulnerability or show the world you are not ashamed or afraid of your face. To be honest, I have no idea what its purpose is. Can you help me? I’m definitely not ashamed of my face but I also really love makeup! So to reveal a bit more of my ‘true side’, I’ll share my story.

Two years ago one afternoon in work, I had to slip into a quiet meeting room to call my local hospital and make an appointment for an ultra sound – not because I thought I was pregnant but because I had to get a lump checked; a lump in my upper left breast. A week later, I found myself lying on the hospital bed with cold jelly all over my chest and a stranger running a plastic scanner over me, looking at a blurry black and white image of my insides on a screen. I was alone and extremely nervous. Fortunately the mysterious lump was nothing and disappeared with time but the incident scared me all the same. At twenty-four, it was one of the last things I thought I’d be doing on a lunch break for which I was in absolutely no way mentally prepared.

We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer in some way and while I was probably nowhere near having cancer, I cannot stress enough how important it is to look after yourself. If anything peculiar appears, get it checked immediately. Cancer does affect a lot of young people. We might all think  it will never happen to us and not at this age but it can so don’t take any chances!

Learn how to check yourselves and ladies, book yourself in for a cervical smear test if you haven’t this year. In Ireland, they are free once you are twenty-five. They take two minutes and are done by your GP or local nurse. They’re not a big deal at all so do it!

Then follow the usual rules we’re all tired of hearing: eat well, lots of fruit and veg, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, reduce stress levels where possible. But most importantly in my opinion, the secret to a healthy life is to eliminate anything possible from your life that is making you unhappy in exchange for activities that feed your soul. It’s normal to go through unhappy times along our journey but if this goes on for too long, the stress of being in an unhappy state of mind for the majority of our day will manifest into physical diseases and ailments. I know it certainly did for me. I blamed sitting at a desk all day for the severe back pain I was experiencing. I now still sit a lot when teaching, studying and writing but my back has improved significantly now I’m no longer in that boring office job. I’m a big fan of TED talks and I highly recommend this one on the topic.

Be healthy, be happy and treat yourself to daffodils this Friday in aid of the Irish Cancer Society for Daffodil Day. They are my favourite flower. They smile at me!



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