I have a curious relationship with makeup.
I was looking in the mirror just now when I had a very factual realization that I have not ever had before (and bear with me, because this might sound weird coming from the chick who has naked workshops about embracing ones body as it is): I like the way I look without makeup.
For some of you, this might be a normal day-to-day occurrence, but I started wearing makeup when I was 14 and realized that my eyebrows were not only asymmetrical, but very sparse and lightly-colored. I had died my hair black at this point because I was hardcore and cool, and the only logical thought I had was that my eyebrows needed to match my hair. So, logically, I started filling in the brows (although, at this point, not well).
This. This is how they found their way onto my face.
No… This is not actually true, but this is the only picture I could find of myself at this age with fake eyebrows. Below is a picture in the same time frame of me without eyebrows.
Pretty sexy, eh? Oh to be 14 again.
Anyhow. The point here is that I was born with genetically sparse eyebrows, and no where in the vast space that is the media did I see someone who was rocking sparse eyebrows. Apart from this one point of focus, I also realized I had bags under my eyes, red skin blemishes, short eyelashes, eyes that were too close together, and a lack of cheekbone definition… Seriously… This is what went through my mind when I was 14. For some stupid, stupid reason, the day and age we are growing up in is tampering with our brains to get us to be as self-critical as possible as young as possible.
If someone had told me at 14 that one day I would eventually alter my appearance enough to resemble all those blonde, seductive movie stars I cut out of magazines, I would’ve thought they were cray-cray. Regardless, it is my particular belief that we are all beautiful despite and with our altered appearances. At this point in my life, when I dye or cut my hair, change my wardrobe or apply heavy makeup – it is because I am intrinsically enjoying the variations of self that I can have. At 14, I wanted to do it because I thought my natural self wasn’t good-looking enough.
I think this is partially why I started running the Body Pride workshops. Because while Jessica Simpson is very beautiful, she is just one specimen of the human race. It’s an infuriating process to start to deconstruct the social constructs that have been building up in our minds since we gained access to magazines, the internet, TV and books. It is also a very slow process because they tend to only come one at a time.
For about 8 years I could not leave the house unless I had my eyebrows on. Which is a very silly thing to think, especially because no one but myself made this rule up. In tangent with this eyebrow rule, there existed a large period of time that I wore a considerable amount of heavy of makeup: primer, concealor, cover-up, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, highlighter eyeshadow, eyebrow dust, mascara. You name it. Except lipstick. Lipstick and I never became friends.
Not only was this expensive and time-consuming, but also annoying. In my head, I had to apply all of this gunk to my face before going anywhere or allowing anyone to see me. And I mean anyone – my own family went months without seeing my natural face. It got to a point where, upon sleeping at a partners house, I left the bed in the morning to go apply all of this makeup again, fearful they would turn to stone if they saw me without my eyebrows on, god forbid.
It didn’t help that my first boyfriend had told one of our mutual friends that I looked like a bulldog. And we met at camp where makeup didn’t exist. That was nice to hear at 16.
I owe huge thanks to one partner who finally just told me to “Relax a little”. I took a few deep breathes, thought about it, and started to believe that not caring what you looked like when you woke up in the morning, was by far sexier than darting to the bathroom to apply a thick layer of foundation.
So, my life lessons thus far go along the lines of ‘if you are experiencing it, someone else definitely is’. Which is why I have made a post about this. For something that should not be a big deal, it has taken me years, a lot of confirmation (from a husband who seems to have a PhD in flattery), a lot of self-validation (confirming that people don’t actually cover their eyes and hiss when they see me bare-faced) and a puppy (you don’t have a chance to put yo’ eyebrows on when the pup has gots ta pee) in order for me to happily say, I like the way I look without makeup.
And while I do enjoy the wonders that makeup brings (can’t lie about the fun), there is this giant weight that has been lifting by removing this strange goopy rule that I had inflicted so early on myself… So, once again, baring it all, gooplessy yours.