By Daniel Gray
My story starts at a young age really, maybe pre-teens.
School can be a rough place if you’re not in the popular crowd. I found this out pretty quickly and I started to get bullied at school because my ears stuck out at right angles to my head.
I’d had my ears pinned back at 12, I was lucky enough to still be in the generation where the NHS paid for cosmetic surgery as I’d been diagnosed with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder/Body Dysmorphia). Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.
Because of the severity of how much my ears stuck out, they were still really prominent, and I absolutely hated them. The teasing just never stopped, constant nicknames and comments. And then to add insult to injury, acne made an appearance. Not uncommon in teenagers but by this point my confidence was shot and I hated everything about myself.
I couldn’t stand having my photo taken, if I was going on a night out, I’d spend hours in the bathroom using my sister’s makeup to try and cover up any mark or blemish I could see. Then when I did finally feel confident enough to leave the house, I just got myself into fights because I was so unhappy.Come 19 years old, I got my ears pinned back... Again! This time, my Mum used her savings to fund a private procedure.
Age 22. My nose was my next focus point. I’d get in my car and remove the rear view mirror so I didn’t have to look at myself. I just couldn’t stand what I saw looking back at me and I couldn’t understand why my friends and family were saying I looked okay when I clearly didn’t.
Throughout my 20’s, I was definitely starting to manage my mental health better. Makeup helped me go out with my mates, but I was still using my sisters women focused products and I would never even dream of going into a shop and buying my own makeup.
But around 24, I started noticing men’s hairlines when I was walking past or talking to guys. It was literally all I could think about. Did they have more hair than me? Was I going thin? Why didn’t my hairline look like theirs?
Yeah you guessed it, 30, I had a hair transplant. I mean, the Doctor told me I didn’t need one but still I got it done anyway.
I still struggle every single day with how I look but every day I’m learning how to handle it and I wouldn’t have progressed and come as far as I have if it hadn’t of been for makeup.
I’m in no way saying that makeup is a cure for bullies, or a miracle serum for low self-esteem and lack of confidence. But using makeup has really helped me manage my BDD and by creating War Paint, I hope it opens a door for men to also get the support they need from makeup.