the mask we call “makeup”

More likely than not, this article will sound cliché. I’m okay with that; I’ve accepted it. Now that I have warned you and my conscious is clear, you may proceed.

No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.
· Marilyn Monroe ·

I used to wear makeup to feel pretty. I thought it could change the way I saw myself and, more importantly, the way people saw me. From the makeup tutorials to the products overflowing on the shelves in the stores, I was overwhelmed with both excitement and frustration. Here I was, of-age to wear makeup, with a plethora of things that promised to improve my flaws. The genius of these products had an unprecedented adverse effect – when I first looked at myself in the morning or went to take off my makeup at the end of the day, my confidence sunk yet again. It didn’t matter that no one at home cared what I looked like, it only mattered that I didn’t look “pretty” 24/7.

Middle school, the genesis of beauty product usage, started slow but quickly advanced. My line of thinking was more or less overshadowed by the way I thought I looked (which probably wasn’t the way people actually saw me). By hiding my blemishes and rimming my eyes heavily in charcoal liner, I believed people just noticed my eyes more and my imperfections less. My eyes were the best feature I could find of what I was given at birth to work with, thus they became the focal point. My eyebrows had been messed up since elementary school from peer pressure, my nose seemed normal enough but wasn’t anything Silicon Valley would want to replicate, and I was never really patient enough to use or very good at blending eyeshadow. Everyone’s lips were also more or less left alone. So, middle school became synonymous with eyeliner.

High school, a lot of growing up was done, and I wanted a more natural look. Acne still reigned supreme, but my lack of effort and reluctance to cake on nude-colored liquid day after day still beat the part of me that said I wanted to try harder to look better.

College classmates saw a makeup-free me, even though my skin continued to be an issue. There was nothing I could do, or nothing I killed myself over, so I just began to deal with it. Even when I put on makeup to go out and look older, I always saw the same ugly imperfections; my skin never looked that much better and my lashes never seemed that much longer. No amount of makeup could hide the way I really saw myself.

To this day, there are good days and bad. I have learned that acne, for the most part, has its stages and have become more appreciative of the lessened state it is in now compared to its exaggerated presence in my childhood. I have also become more skilled, with time, at putting on makeup and figuring out the most minimal routine needed to make me feel empowered enough to walk out the door.

I believe time truly heals all.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Beauty is not something that is mastered with product, but is rather accepted with age.




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