I wish I could excuse myself and say, like some critics of the campaign, that I simply didn’t understand the point of how the campaign could help cancer sufferers.
But my reasons were much more shallow than that.
The sad truth is that I’m simply too vain. Which makes me either a coward or uncharitable, you decide.
I wouldn’t have considered myself vain before though. I’m the woman who gets showered and ready at least twenty before everyone else, still doesn’t know or care what a hair straightener does, have never had my nails manicured and feel just as comfortable with both hairy and silky-smooth legs.
But to fully expose myself in public in all my middle-aged glory? Thanks but no thanks.
For starters, I look really shit without makeup. I’m not a Gwyneth Paltrow or one of those ‘natural’ beauties who looks irritatingly more beautiful without makeup and whose inner beauty shines through. I’m naturally a vampire with permanent panda circles around my eyes that make me look like I should be an extra on a Lord of the Rings set.
Makeup gives me courage. Something to hide behind.
Uploading a photo of myself without makeup would be like having sex in the morning. I am at my most irritable in the mornings and feel completely unsexy, so why on earth would I want to have sex? But by day I become a glamour puss – I wear heels to go to Coles and have drummed into NC that she must always wear her best knickers in case she winds up in Emergency.
Of course, it did cross my mind that this campaign wasn’t about ME and that my fugly photo might help women suffering from the indignities associated with cancer, by sharing my own loss of dignity.
But I’ve watched many friends fight cancer and it’s a lot more invasive than not putting your foundation on in the morning.
And I don’t think I’m uncharitable, either.
I’ve done stuff for charity. I rode fifty-three miles from London to Brighton on a pushbike in 33 degree heat for the Heart Foundation in my fortieth year. With stitches in my arm from when I fell of the bike in training. It was the worst experience of my life and at one point the old man had to shout at me to pull myself together.
But I’d do it again rather than take off my make up on Facebook.
Confusing, I know, when I spend my life sharing the private moments of my family via a blog, in words, and am also not averse to ridiculing myself in so many other ways.
And I take my hat off to my friends who exposed themselves. I admit that when I saw them in all their middle-aged gorgeousness posting photos of their natural beauty online for the sake of others, I felt immediately guilty and envied them their courage and inner confidence.
I could have posed and pulled a silly face, maybe. But to look straight into the lens of the camera, devoid of my mask, that takes courage.
There’s still a lot of work to be done.