I’ve had a breakthrough, as a woman. I think perhaps I’ve reached that point I’ve been aiming for…finally. You will be proud of my discovery and awareness to not just myself, but of all those around me. I discarded the red lipstick and gained my confidence.
I don’t remember the exact age I was when I first started wearing makeup, but I know that I was a child. It was fine then. I did dance and whether it was for being on stage or a photo shoot – I’d be caked, called a doll, and booted in the direction that most girls take. The one that leads to your own idea of your self worth and beauty being controlled by the masses. I didn’t feel that yet, of course. I would wipe the overpowering pink blush and bright red lipstick off and go climb the tree in my front yard. All was right in the world.
In high school when I should have realized that EVERYONE and their mother is going through puberty, and that having issues with my skin was not the end of the world. I think we all wish that at that time we could see that it’s just a mandatory pre pubescent neurosis and not the ever dooming grim reaper sent to destroy your naive life– but if my pimples weren’t doused in $2 covergirl foundation and my “edgy and angsty” identity wasn’t proved by layers upon layers of dark black eyeliner then I just wasn’t living. These things are forgivable though. You’re young, confused, and toxically self-involved. We can all look back at these years (grandma alert!) and chuckle at our endearing bad hair and life decisions. Now, though…well now is a whole other story.
The last couple of years I grew obsessed. It came slowly, but then hit me like a bulldozer of wasted earned dollars and self-loathing tears. I got really into some beauty Youtubers and blogs. I spent countless hours and an exorbitant amount of money at Sephora and Ulta. “If I buy this incredibly expensive foundation it will cure me of my hideousness and I can finally be the beautiful princess everyone tells me I need to be.”
I’ve hesitated — my finger lingering on the delete key. I’m being too cold & hard, I tell myself, but this is how I feel. This is my truth. I would never tell a lady what she should or shouldn’t do. I am not hating on anyone. Makeup galore! Go for it, really. My only intercept is to question and challenge where those thoughts are really coming from. I’ve bit back with “because it makes me happy and it makes me feel good” a million times. I believed that…but now…not so much. I think that was a crutch reaction to anyone that made me face the hard challenge I had before myself. For us girls, it’s not just a matter of…“I don’t want to wear so much makeup anymore”–It’s having to shed an idea and an ideal that we have adapted onto ourselves for almost our entire life.
Just in this year alone, I’ve changed so much. The things I care about are different then the things I cared about last year. I’m trying to grow and am using this horrid political world we are living in right now to alter my daily personal life and feelings about myself for the better. So this was a natural evoloution for myself and I am so happy it happened now.
The other day I was running late. I dashed to my vehicle and took off. I got one block. One — and then was at a crossroads. I glanced at myself in the rear view mirror suddenly, then with horror, more intently. I internally debated with myself for probably a whole minute on what I should do. You see, when I looked in the mirror I noticed my chin was broken out and hated the idea of anyone seeing me like that. Did I really want to turn back just to hide my face? C’mon girl, you’re better than this, I told myself. The urge was too strong. No matter what…those imperfections had to be camouflaged. Where was my strength? My confidence? My set of priorities? I was under the thrall of of an ancient industry set forth to banish woman’s confidence in themselves and their natural beauty. I felt helpless and pathetic.
There is nothing wrong wearing makeup. Really, there’s not. The problem lies when your entire self worth is founded upon makeup. When your definition of beauty is when you have altered or enhanced your entire face. It goes past covering up some blemishes to contouring your entire face to look thinner than you are, trying anything to get those puckered kissable lips, and obsessing over the thickness and length of your eyelashes. Eyelashes people! Hair meant to protect your eyes from hellish physical tortures, not some sort of superficial scrutiny.
The turning to grab my concealer wasn’t the only realization I needed to change my views. It was more of part 1 in a 2 part series of negative/positive conditioning. Part 2 came when watching Youtube. Who woulda thunk?
I’ve been a dedicated viewer of this beauty Youtuber for a couple years now. When I first started watching her channel I became an avid admirer, but slowly throughout the years my interest dwindled. Her niche is makeup and skincare. She has a huge platform and even got a book published. I don’t have any negative feelings toward her except for the fact that she has this platform, this following, and I believe…subconsciously, she promotes an unhealthy viewpoint for women. I was watching one of her videos the other night. It was some sort of favorites video she made with another lady Youtuber and they were discussing their favorite beauty products for the month. They discussed this specific brand of mascara that was made solely for women for when they work out. Sweat proof. And then…BAM! It happened. They said the magic thing that was like a lightbulb being turned on in my head. “I have to wear makeup when I go to the gym. When you look good you feel good. I don’t want to look like shit, so I need to wear makeup.” My innate reaction was to defend what they were saying…but I just couldn’t think of anything to say. They admitted to themselves, on a public platform, that in order for them to feel “good” or to look “good” they needed to wear makeup. That was it. That was all I needed. I was those girls. I felt the same exact way they did and probably on any other day would totally 100% agree. Except on this day I didn’t. I felt disgusted and yet happy & motivated because I finally figured it out.
As much as I stood tall and told myself and others that I cared about makeup because it made me happy, it was a lie — a facade I did not want to crack. I did it because I couldn’t stand to look at myself the way I was. That’s a feeling that stems from other issues I’ve internalized. So how do I make sure I do not continue with this subconscious disguise? I mean I enjoy a dramatic eye every now and then. Small steps girlfriend, small steps — because this viewpoint comes from internalized issues I realize it will be an ongoing battle.
I tell myself every single day that I’m beautiful, that perfection isn’t a real concept to strive for, and that I’m worth it. I’m worth everything. I rarely wear makeup and when I do I make sure it’s not to cover up something. It’s a need versus want game and I’m intent on winning.