I stopped wearing makeup when I was about five months pregnant. Every movement hurt, and “prettying” myself was just not high on the list of things which I thought worth enduring the pain.
(Now, before you scoff or roll your eyes, yes, I know wearing makeup or not doesn’t define my or anyone else’s beauty. That’s kind of the point of this, though. Just keep reading. You’ll see.)
Once I was a new mom, I barely had time to shower, let alone even think of mascara or foundation. I had gone from a teenager and young woman who NEVER left home without makeup on to one who spent 24/7 without it. It was an odd but necessary change, at least for a while.
As time went on and my depression consumed me, I lost more and more of myself. I didn’t recognize me. And not just because of the cosmetics. Truth be told, though, I didn’t feel normal with my bare skin. In the mirror every day, I saw how haggard and run down I looked. My complexion was dull. Even my lips weren’t their usual pink. I just never felt the desire to do anything about it.
Then my best friend announced she was getting married and asked me to be her matron of honor. Aside from all the wonderful aspects of her engagement and happiness, I knew one thing: being in Teacher Leia’s wedding would require me to be in pictures. Lots of ’em.
I can’t really describe how anxiety-producing that thought was other than to say I was completely freaking out.
The week of Teacher Leia’s bridal shower, I was on a mission. The makeup I had was two years old by this point. It was either dried out or germ-infested. I needed all new. At least I knew where to go. Foundation was easy, as I found one I loved years earlier. As for the rest, well, it was pretty darn intimidating in the makeup aisle, I can tell you that.
Applying the foundation, mascara, eye shadow, and lipstick that Saturday was intimidating as well. I wasn’t even sure how to hold the mascara wand without making a big mess on my eyelids. It was so strange. As I put the makeup on and even when I looked in the mirror afterward, I felt like a cross between a hooker and a little girl who had gotten into her mother’s cosmetic stash.
Not to say I looked bad. I think I did a good job. I just couldn’t wait to wash it all off.
Then I chose to face what I was afraid of. Wearing makeup was not going to hurt me. I didn’t have to feel embarrassed or ashamed or insecure. By the time Teacher Leia’s 1980’s themed bachelorette party rolled around, I happily spread as much neon pink and blue eye shadow on as my eyelids could hold.
I found myself wearing makeup every day again. This time, however, I decided to examine why. Why did I feel I needed it every day? Why didn’t I feel pretty without it? Tough questions for sure.
Makeup to me was a crutch. It was a mask to hide me and also to be whomever I wanted. I could be the girl next door or a sexy seductress. I felt more empowered so long as my face was done. Problem is, I can be all of those things without stuff on my face.
I am happy to say I have found a great middle point. I wear makeup when I want to, because I want to and not need to. I can also leave the house without it and feel just fine. I know now that I am strong and beautiful just as I am.