I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty : Rambling on Beauty, Self-Esteem, and Makeup

I’m going to be honest with you: I can be pretty shallow. I think we all can be. Isn’t everyone guilty of having at least once looked and somebody and thought ‘Urgh, what is {s}he wearing?!’, or ‘That’s a face only a mother could love!’, or something to that effect? Perhaps there are some saintly people out there that do not do this, but I am not one of them. I try not to let my aesthetic taste change how I act around people, but it happens…often. I admit to judging people for how they look (I’m lookin’ at you, hipsters!). The problem is, this leaves me with an awareness and wariness of others judging me for how I look.

I look quite average, I think. I’m not hideous; children don’t cry or hide when they see me (with a few exceptions), nor do I have rocks and/or insults hurled at me where ever I go. However, I’m not gorgeous either; nobody trips over their own feet while distracted by my beauty, no one emulates my style (with a few exceptions). I’m normal. My face is more or less symmetrical, but it is fairly long. I have lovely eyes, but they protrude, get dark circles, and are hidden behind glasses. I have nice full lips, but they are covering less-than-desirable teeth. I just can’t win, haha! 

Luckily, there is makeup. Between my aesthetic sensibility and artistic talent, I can do some cool stuff with makeup. I can change the way I look drastically or subtly. Now, I don’t tend to wear much makeup on a normal day, mascara is about it for me, maybe with some concealer. I still look like me, just with better-defined eyes and even skin-tone. If I’m not wearing that though, I feel uncomfortable. I don’t want people to see me without it, despite that – or perhaps because – it is how I actually look! While in a perfect world I would not care one whit about how I look with or without makeup, in this world I do, but I also know that many others do as well, so I’m not too hard on myself about it.

Even though I recognize the difference between how I feel sans makeup vs. a little makeup, it still surprises me how a little more makeup can affect me. Today, I was playing around with my makeup. I had no plans to go anywhere or see anyone, so it was just for me. My end result pleased me quite a lot. When I ended up going out to grocery shop, I was friendlier and less anxious around people because I knew I looked nice. I took a photo for Facebook (and the ‘likes’ from friends and family were a nice little boost for my self-esteem). I had a pretty good day.

So I’m caught between wanting to make myself look as nice as possible everyday, and wanting to not give a damn about how I look and how others perceive me. I was never told ‘you don’t need makeup to make yourself beautiful!’ or anything of that sort, but I’ve learnt a lot of self-esteem and self-confidence. It would be nice if I could be confident without the makeup, but I just don’t. I sabotage myself, because my low self-esteem means I’m not confident, which means I’m anxious about interacting with the people around me. Yet, for me to feel good about myself and feel confident and enjoy going out in public, I have to slap makeup on myself and essentially change how I look.

How sad.

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