Procrastination…And then there was magic

I think we have all been there, where we self-sabotage ourselves because all you know is to delay, delay and delay until the very last minute. And when the clock strikes midnight, the sand runs out, panic strikes and the sleep deprivation begins. Tim Urban, from his famous TED talk and the website – WaitbutWhy? – explains this and I highly recommend anyone circling the procrastination black hole to watch this and maybe stop the monkey in its tracks.

My daily morning ritual often includes makeup. In the beginning, it was a way for me to experiment and explore the plethora of eyeliners, lipsticks, concealers and brushes that festooned advertisements, commercials and movies that have one clear objective – to make the average Jane buy more makeup. Now, as I embark on the journey of getting a degree, it has become both a statement and a crutch. I am proud of the fact that I rarely do the exact same look (or lewk, if you are a Youtube Beauty Vlogger aficionado) on a weekly basis. I may use the same color, but never in the exact same combination. And I would always have some eyeshadow on my lids (which eats into my morning time). This often leads to a fully made up face (lipstick, blush, concealer, powder … the works) and a complaint or sigh from my mother. I’m not bothered by it; in fact, it gives me a boost when I see my artistry or is complimented for it. I’m more bothered by the feeling that I may be procrastinating important work because of it, and where the line should be drawn to be able to fully make use of my time.

But as my makeup collection grew, this became necessary as, after a discussion with my mother, I have put a temporary ban on new makeup products. The ban is loosely defined but highly restrictive because there are certain products that I was due and would be due to cleanse from the collection (i.e. products used around the eye area, mascara, liquid eyeliner, eye pencil, etc) and needed to repurchase for my orbital health. I still do my quick runs through any passing pharmacy or Sephora to look at new releases and maybe try a few (okay, I usually keep it to five products at most) products, but I don’t buy.

It was incredibly hard to get to a stage where I can walk pass makeup and not buy it. I realized that the application and purchase of cosmetics have been a coping mechanism of mine. I don’t have friends in school – buy makeup and watch Youtube tutorials. Did badly on my tests – buy makeup. Feel depressed, anxious, suicidal? Makeup. Rinse and repeat. It’s why my makeup box has grown ten times its size. But I am managing.

An amazing side effect to not buying makeup is the amount of time I don’t spend thinking and buying makeup. It’s hard to remember the brands I used to obsessively follow when I don’t allocate a budget for it, and this gives me time to actually do stuff. Though I still procrastinate.

Procrastination isn’t just an escape from reality for me. It’s also a way for me to cope, I have found, by torturing myself. Doing all the things that I was allowed to do after studying, and leaving so little time for actual learning. It doesn’t help that I am adjusting to a Western curriculum after years in an Asian curriculum and having to deal with less than ideal situations. I have exams coming up at this moment. I should be studying. Instead, I was inspired to write a piece about procrastination and makeup.

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Amy Winehouse #lineronfleek #wingedliner #motd💋

A post shared by Eunice Pang (@thewritingherald) on

Coming to this picture, I applied a total of 10 products. I have put on brow powder, brow mascara, concealer and corrector, powder, black liquid liner, grey eye pencil, white eye pencil and a tinted lip balm. And this is on a ‘simple’ day. Should I instead go bare, as it seems that the standard picture of a university student is bare-faced and lugging laptops, chargers, textbooks, papers and a pencil case around campus. Is this another form of procrastination?

But I was complimented for this look. The social and emotional gratification of being accepted and praised on even as shallow as a well-flicked eyeliner brought wonders to my mood. I feel less anxious, less stressed, and definitely more ready to study. Nevertheless, it is something that I must continuously examine lest I fall into the trap of doing so. It’s important for me to finish what I buy, but it’s even more important that I have the education I need, and therefore the money that comes from that education, to actually buy the makeup.

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