Earlier today, I was watching an interview where beautiful soul Alicia Keys talked about her decision to go make-up free. This talented, powerful woman made such an eloquent case for going natural; really putting into words how I feel about my own life-long tendency to forgo make-up.
I don’t consider myself beautiful in the standard sense, and I’m sure someone with a flair for make-up could transform me into a more elegant, finished version of myself. But, I do consider myself attractive enough, and my husband thinks I have the greatest smile. I’m good with that.
But here’s what makes me angry – and sad – when I see young women painted up with the fake eyelashes and heavy war paint I call that Jersey Shore s#*t.
When these young women face the mirror they aren’t seeing themselves. They’re seeing society’s version of who they should be. They’re focused on the imagined flaws artfully inserted into their brains by marketing, by subtle campaigns, and not-so-subtle magazines.
How are these young ladies supposed to reach for their dreams when they don’t even know what their dreams are? When they don’t even know who they are. They are being kept too busy by false standards of style and trendiness purposefully set just beyond their reach.
How can they know who they are when that truth is painted away in favour of the celebrity of the moment?
How can anyone reach their individual goals when their hands are full of mascara and lipstick tubes?
How can you put time and energy into attaining the life that will truly give you meaning when it takes two hours to get ready to face the world? When you’re handicapped by high heels, padded bras, and broom-like false eyelashes that weigh a ton? How can you strive forward with confidence when you’re lightheaded because you’re fasting to lose that little tummy only you really notice?
Without make-up when I look in the mirror I see my mother’s face, my sisters’s faces. I see where I came from. I see where I belong. I know who I am.
When I wear a sweater dress I see my rounded tummy, my generous hips. I see that I am a woman.
I see that I am Me. No one else. And I can’t hide from the fact that I’m no longer 21. and I’m glad.
There is a joy in aging. A moment where you realize that all the mental energy that goes into trying to feel accepted was a horrible, never-ending maze that took up far too much time and mental energy.
That is the moment when the wrinkles and the sags become silly and endearing, and the weight of the search for perfection leaves you.
You don’t have to wait for that revelation.
If wearing make-up makes you happy, if it’s an artistic touch you enjoy and not a mask to hide behind, then have fun. But don’t forget to put away the fake eyelashes, stop fasting, and focus on doing what makes you happy and healthy.
Do it now.
Remember: The world needs your dreams, your power, your uniqueness.