On Being Confident in your own Skin
I was around 8 or 9 when I first discovered the transformative power of makeup. I crept into my parent’s bathroom and carefully open my mother’s makeup case. As I sorted through the contents, I held each tube gingerly, as if it might break in my hand. The eyelash curler was too scary, I put that one aside, but the lipsticks and the eyeshadows! Bright fuchsia, cornflower blue, shimmery taupe, and so much more. Of course, once I’d applied them on my face I looked like a demonic clown, but even then I had fallen in love. I had my bad phases like everyone else (too much eyeshadow, raccoon eyeliner, concealer-painted lips, the usual), but I always loved how I looked and felt with makeup on. It was fun and girly, and a great way to express my personality and mood.
During my teenage years, however, I began to rely on makeup more heavily. I was a late bloomer, so I welcomed most aspects of puberty with arms wide open. Breasts the size of mosquito bumps? Great! The first signs of underarm hair? Success! Despite these victories, the change in my breast size also came with a change in my skin. Suddenly I was sprouting red, angry pimples everywhere and no matter what I did, they persisted. I slept with toothpaste caked on my face, tried endless drugstore brands, and used more makeup than ever. The thought of leaving my house without my face on petrified me. Makeup was no longer fun, but a chore that needed to be done. Of course, this probably only perpetuated my bad skin, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t let anyone see what was hiding underneath that Cover Girl concealer!
One morning, after a sleepover at a friend’s house, I found myself on the bus home without makeup. My friend rarely used anything besides a tinted chap stick, and I’d forgotten my own stash at home, so I was left stranded. On the bus, I lowered my eyes in shame, hoping no one would notice me. Halfway through the ride, I looked up from my seat, tentatively, to see if anyone was staring. No one was. A random guy looked towards me and smiled. The girl next to me was deep in her book. At that moment, I had a sort of epiphany - NO ONE CARES. No one cared about my skin! Everyone was so engrossed in their own things, their own insecurities, their own problems, and so worried that someone would notice, that we didn’t notice each others worries, insecurities, etc.
From that day on, I stopped using makeup as a shield. I realized my pimples looked worse caked in foundation, and that no one was even looking at them. They were looking at me, the good and the bad evening out into what made me myself. Makeup should be a fun, exciting tool to help enhance your natural beauty, to have fun with, or to express yourself with, and not a shield. Ever.