Well, my desire to create my own viral hashtag didn’t catch on.
With little to no fanfare (except when I posted pics of scantily clad muscle men), I spent 30 days not buying any beauty poducts, not contributing to the cosmetic industry, and basically stress-testing Sephora’s ability to cope with declining sales figures. Each day (well, almost…more on that later) I posted a picture of something that I found truly beautiful or that made me feel beautiful with the caveat that it couldn’t be a product or anything you had to buy. On each post, I included my very own made up hashtag: #30Days. I called the project 30 Days of Real Beauty, and it’s pretty clear that it was an homage (the fancy way of saying rip-off) of other viral hashtags like #100HappyDays (which I also failed at…more on THAT later too!). For the original blog post where I proposed the idea, click HERE.
At first it was difficult to stay away; as they wanted me to fail, TooFaced Cosmetics launched their spring eyeshadow collection AND their Melted Metal liquid lipsticks within days of my self-imposed moratorium. I rationed out my Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner like it was liquid gold, knowing that if I ran out before the calendar flipped to the next page I would have to do without; while I gave myself an out to by necessities like deodorant or body wash (I still had to live in the world, yo!), I didn’t consider balancing my pH levels with organic produce to fall under the necessity category. About 10 days into the project, I found a seller on Ebay who was not only selling the “gel look” fake nails I use for every show, but was doing so at insanely reasonable prices, with free shipping! It was painful.
But as I marked each new day off the calendar, I found myself missing it less and less. Sure, it was fun to get the little bonus goodies in every order, but it got to the point where I would place an order, spending the minimum $25 and sometimes $35 (those were the really good ones!) in order to get whatever the promo item was! And as the happy boxes with the elegant S-logo stopped arriving with regularity, I found that I was alright. It was a lovely experiment…
Well, except for the experiment itself. The not buying thing was going just fine, but as with all of my other failed hashtag experiments, I found myself so tied to the “rules” of the thing that I lost some of the enjoyment. I see beauty in the world all the time, but having to find one specific thing every day and posting it, and remembering to include my stupid little hashtag, became a chore. I was so worried about finding just the right image, something that would be beautiful and provocative and get me those cherished “likes” and “shares” and “retweets,” that I missed some of the beauty that was presenting itself to me. I could just post a beautiful thing, it had to be THE beautiful thing. Something that showed I was deep and inspiration and a thinker. Someone who was trying to create real change in the world through social media. Yep, I bought into all of that shit. I thought I was saving the world, one hashtag at a time. I blame the beauty withdrawls for my slightly skewed thinking.
I had equally bad luck with my #100HappyDays experience. I got so caught up in the process that I missed the point. I found it ironic that on more than one occasion during both projects I actually got so caught up in enjoying the thing that made me feel happy or beautiful that I forgot to post and had to do double the next day. Those days were a mixture of guilt at having lost my discipline and satisfaction at having thoroughly enjoyed something meaningful.
I figured out that while some people might have truly transformative experiences with their hashtag projects, they just aren’t for me. And that’s just fine. Because if posting your #100HappyDays really does make you happy, then you’ve tapped into the point of doing that project in the first place! For me, I wasn’t feeling happier and I wasn’t enjoying it. It felt like pressure and work and the yucky stuff I wanted to escape. So instead I decided to find other ways to embrace joy in my life: more “me time,” writing and journaling, and crafting.
I also did a pretty good job of cracking my Sephora addiction…or at least getting it under control. I mean, I’m a drag queen the size of a parade float – I’m never NOT going to need makeup. But I made it 30 days without buying any beauty products. In fact, I didn’t buy anything in Sephora for nearly two months. At the end of May, I finally broke down and added some of those TooFaced goodies into my stash. I felt like I had earned them, but I knew that I didn’t need them. And I enjoyed them that much more because of it.
Tags: #100HappyDays, #30Days, #RealTalk, Beauty Addiction, beauty culture, Beauty Project, Happiness, Happiness Project, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Makeup Addiction, makeup forum, Miss Jaye, Sephora, Sephora Inside JC Penney, World of Champagne