I used to wear makeup for everyone but me.
I wanted to wear my makeup to be pretty like my sorority sisters. To be prettier for the boys, to hide what I saw as my imperfections. That was the reason I woke up earlier and took longer to get ready even if we were just popping around the corner to the convenience store.
Its ridiculous but I would put on my makeup even if it was 2 am and we were walking across campus to go to grab junk food and Icees for studying. But here was the dirty little secret. I wasn’t doing it for me, I was doing it because I thought it would make me look better to the guys and girls around me.
The truth was that they didn’t care. They honestly wouldn’t have judged me if I had rolled out of class in crumpled jeans and a t-shirt, hair in a bun, no makeup on at all. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It scared me to be out and about without my mask on, my safety net.
My makeup was my bravado, my confidence, without it I was naked.
And how messed up was that? Doing all that work for someone else. Spending so much time learning and perfecting my ability to blend shadows, draw my eyeliner and perfectly cover my lips in some perfectly nude shade of lipstick, only to impress people who didn’t even care one way other another.
Sure, they noticed when I would put in the extra effort making sure my hair was perfectly tousled, my makeup the perfect combo between natural and noticeable. But If I hadn’t put in the effort it wouldn’t have phased them.
And I didn’t learn differently until sometime after I graduated college. It wasn’t because I am in a relationship, or because I no longer had the time to care. It was because I grew up. I learned that people didn’t have enough time to attend to their own schedules much less pay attention to what I had painted on my face.
Terrifying but it was true. We all have so much going on in our lives, and I know I don’t have the brain space to sit there and judge other women for whether or not she wears makeup.
But an even bigger realization was that even though I didn’t need to wear the makeup to impress or be accepted or be as pretty as the other girls, I wanted to wear it. I liked getting to feel pretty with my eyeshadows and putting on a fun lip color every once in awhile to brighten up my day.
I started wearing my makeup for myself. Shocking as it was, I fell in love with makeup. Suddenly it wasn’t something I had to do anymore but something I wanted to do.
Before I put in the effort because I felt I had to, know I do it cause I want to it.
And what a difference it made. A magical and beautiful thing it was to realize I don’t wear my makeup for anyone but me. It gave me strength, it made feel like I had gained something back for myself.
It wasn’t something that happened all at once. Slowly I started playing with my makeup more, I started becoming more adventurous with the colors and techniques, with the products and changing things from day to day.
I don’t want to wear my makeup for anyone else. Because let us be honest, there is a good chance that boy doesn’t really understand or care how much effort goes into perfecting your makeup, he either likes you for you or he doesn’t. And if your friends are really your friends they will love you no matter what kind of art you have on your face.
Because makeup is an art. A way to express yourself and that is something beautiful. It should be celebrated not something you do because you have to. I now use my makeup to express myself and my favorite makeup products change constantly because of this.
It took me to long to learn this lesson. And I wish I had learned it sooner. It would have saved me a lot of time and kept me from torturing my skin. Believe it or not, I wore makeup while playing soccer, going to the gym and hiking. Not a ton, it wasn’t a full glam look but I bought foundations that were decent enough for my skin while running and sweating.
I know, terrible for my skin but I did it anyway. And I regret it because people probably judged me more for it. I just wanted to be pretty like the other girls, hot like the other girls, grown up like the other girls. But here is the kicker, I was in my own way.
I don’t wear makeup for anyone but me.
I put on my makeup most day because I love being able to express myself. Because I feel good about myself.
And when I chose not to it because I know that I am a busy working, driven, twenty-something who has a lot on her schedule and sometimes I just can’t be bothered to put on my face when running to CVS at 10 pm.
But I don’t wear makeup for anyone but me. And I don’t think I ever will again.