It’s a Tuesday.
I ran out of hangers, so I run down the street to Bed Bath and Beyond.
I go to check out. Say something friendly to the checkout lady.
“You have lipstick on your teeth.”
Me: “Meh, I always do. Doesn’t even bother me anymore.”
Her: “I wouldn’t know, I don’t wear makeup.”
I ask why, thinking she was taking a stand to empower women to be all natural or something.
She says “I don’t believe in it,” followed by a very dirty look, as if I had greatly sinned by having shiz on my face.
I asked her “Why?”
Some people do it for animal cruelty or chemicals, or because they feel more comfortable without it.
She didn’t do it for any of those reasons.
In a very passive aggressive way, she let me know it had to do with her negative view of women who wear it, and how she felt that only insecure women wore it.
Story #2: My sister is at work.
She has a seven-year old and an infant, and brings home the bacon.
She’s a grade-A badass.
An old man comes up to her, and cuts her down for not having makeup on. Says something demeaning, along the lines of “it’s 'unprofessional.'”
(I would like to know where HIS makeup is…)
Isn’t this the classic scenario that women face?
You have sex, “you’re a whore.”
You don’t have sex, “you’re a prude.”
You dress up, you’re “doing it for attention.”
You don’t dress up, you “don’t care about yourself.”
You work hard, you’re “ignoring your family.”
You stay home, you “should be working.”
You wear makeup, you’re “insecure.”
You don’t wear makeup, and “it’s unprofessional.”
I grew up hating my body. I was repeatedly told by some very negative influences in my life that my bare face needed all kinds of surgery, and that I NEEDED makeup, and I was NEVER skinny enough. I believed them. Going a week without food was encouraged before a big event. It wasn't seen as unhealthy, it was seen as normal.
In the culture I was raised in, cutting yourself down is a form of humility. To say “I feel so beautiful today,” or even, “I am so beautiful,” in any sort of form was DEFINITELY not celebrated. Instead of body-positivity being treated as a part of a healthy self-image, it was treated as vanity.
Example: One of my best friends was called a whore at 20 years old for wearing red lipstick by the people in our small town. Instead of being celebrated for her boldness, creativity, and fire, she was called a whore. This was a regular occurrence in that toxic environment. To this day, I get people writing stuff like that on my social media. Cray.
This seriously messed me up, y'all.
In middle school, I went into the bathroom between every. single. class. to apply more foundation. Because who on earth would like me if I had pink spots on my skin? And how on earth would I get a friend without being pretty?
I dated someone for 5 years and he never saw me without makeup once.
I wasn’t able to go to the grocery store without makeup until I was grown.
I was all out, 150%, downright #insecure.
After I moved to LA, I was surrounded by beautiful women all the time. The women I hung out with were not ONLY beautiful on the outside, but on the inside too. They were completely secure. It inspired me.
That’s when I finally decided to get over my fear of being unloved and unaccepted because of my appearance.
Sounds kind of cheesy, yes. But it was really big for me. And I bet if you examined your heart, it would be big for you too.
I went about a year and a half not wearing makeup anywhere.
Confession: The first month I was so scared that I cried... If you add up the years and years of toxic programming that led me to feel that way, it makes sense. But still.
I had pretty rough skin, and in entertainment, people just don’t show their acne. It’s not a thing. I had people take me less seriously because of my face. But that didn’t matter to me.
What mattered was what I was standing firmly on: I am beautiful and will be successful, no matter how I look. And the right business partners will see that, and I don’t want to work without anyone shallow enough to feel otherwise.
Fast forward a year and a half:
I literally felt just as beautiful in my sweatsuit with no makeup as I felt in a gown at the grammys. Still do.
That was HARD to do.
I didn’t get lip fillers or plastic surgery or botox or a B.A. dermatologist. I still don’t have Beyonce skin or Kylie lips (perhaps one day my dears), but I did get something that is insanely powerful:
CONFIDENCE. (cue fifth harmony song BO$$)
TBH, I still have off days where I have to look at myself in the mirror and say “YES.”
That is divine reflection.
That is worthy of love.
That is enough.
That someone to be proud of.
That girl is worthy.
I never would look at another queen and judge her for her appearance.
So why on earth would I do it to myself?
Now, weather I’m in full out caked-on-false-eyelash-matte-fabulousity-red-lipstick-glory, or weather I’m a broken-out-pink-skinned-still-hot-mess, I feel beautiful.
And people can keep their ridiculous opinions.
Just like everything else, makeup is about the WHY.
1. You may hit the gym three times a week because you’re bettering yourself, or you may hit the gym three times a week because you hate your body and have low self-esteem.
2. You may buy that badass car because you are proud of yourself and feel you deserve it, or you may buy that badass car because you’re insecure and are worried what people think.
3. You may be dating that person because you really love them, or you may be dating them because you’re scared to be alone.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
I wear makeup now. And I may look the same with it on as I did before my makeup awakening, but the heart behind the face is COMPLETELY different.
I use makeup out of a place of creativity and fun, never out of a place of fear and insecurity.
And if I catch myself slipping, I go back into no makeup mode until I remember how freaking beautiful I am.
But this concept is way bigger than makeup.
One of the most powerful things we can do is ask ourselves, “What is the heart behind this action? Why am I doing what I am doing? Is it coming from a place of love and health, or fear and un-health?”
Self Reflection FTW! Destroying old ways of thoughts to make way for newer, healthier ones FTW!
What do you feel about this, Emmpire? Comment your thoughts and lets talk.