I met a friend for dinner recently and as soon I sat down at the table I apologized for my “undone” appearance. My clothes were on point and my hair looked great.
I felt self-conscious because I wasn’t wearing a drop of make up. No mascara, concealer or lipstick.
Ever since I had permission to wear cosmetics as a teenager, lipstick, mascara and eyeliner have been a part of my daily routine. I rarely leave home without it. If I do, I feel naked.
Growing up I learned to love makeup by watching my mother apply her shimmery bronze eye shadow and burgundy lipstick. She looked beautiful. I wanted to look beautiful too. Sometimes I’d sneak and wear her good stuff.
Make up was always alluring. It’s like magic. If I didn’t get enough sleep, no worries. I know I can conceal those dark circles underneath my eye with concealer. A night on the town calls for smoky eyes or a velvety red lipstick for instant sex appeal.
The only time I don’t wear make up is to the gym or the beach. The sweat or sun will melt it away so why bother?
My apologetic behavior with my friend brought out an uncomfortable feeling that I didn’t like.
How had I become the woman who can’t go out in public without her mask of beauty?
Encouraging people to embrace their natural beauty is a subject I’ve written about in the past. Now I felt conflicted.
To challenge myself, I decided not to wear any make up for a month.
I kept a journal of my wavering emotions.
Day 1, Sept. 29, 2013: My first day out I’m feeling pretty good. I think it’ll be easier than I thought but it’s only Sunday.
Day 8, Oct. 7: I miss batting my eyelashes with that new mascara I bought a couple of weeks ago. I feel plain. I’m travelling to the land of vanity – Los Angeles – tomorrow. I’m going to try to hang in there but it’s hard. I think I’ll pack my make up just in case I breakdown.
Day 11, Oct. 10: Today I found myself explaining to the sales lady in the eyeglass store that I wasn’t wearing make up. She didn’t care. Neither did the man who sat next to me at lunch. Why did I do that? It’s been days. I shouldn’t be so uncomfortable.
Day 14, Oct. 13: I really saw myself today. My graying eyelashes didn’t bother me as much. I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable. I’ve gotten compliments on how great my skin looks. I still miss not wearing lipstick, though.
Looking at my bare face in the mirror I learned I was more concerned about how people would see me instead of how I saw myself. Nobody said a word but I still found myself explaining why I wasn’t wearing make up.
I have an image of myself.
These last 30 days made me realize that make up is apart of that image. When I don’t wear it I feel as if I didn’t take time to look my best.
I’ve always seen myself as confident in my natural beauty. Now I know that confidence requires make up.
Lashawnda Becoats is a certified life coach. Email her at email@example.com
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