Picture this: I’m sitting in an extra-large T-shirt that makes you wonder if I’m even wearing pants, barely matching socks that are practically black on the bottom, and half of my makeup rubbed off from where I got eyebrows threaded, revealing my too-dry and flakey red skin underneath. Don’t believe me? Here you go:
Let’s not forget: I’m in desperate need to brush my teeth from drinking too much coffee, I haven’t shaved past my knees in a couple days, and I’m long-overdue for an upper-lip wax. I’m sorry to break it to you guys, this is what we’re really dealing with today. I haven’t edited these photos to smooth my pores, make the whites of my eyes appear brighter, or hidden any blemishes that are so graciously dispersed across my face.
Today, I’m just basking in my authenticity; what you see is literally what you get. It’s one of those days where I don’t feel like doing much else besides watching that episode of Law and Order: SVU, just one more time, even though I guarantee I can tell you exactly who did it, why, and what their sentence was within the first two minutes of watching it. Really, it’s a problem. Okay, maybe not a problem, just a beautiful addiction. Who else doesn’t totally wanna be Olivia Benson? Talk about a real badass woman right there. Anyway, I digress…
So often I think we, as young girls, feel the need to hide our real selves from the world. For whatever reason we’re fixated on the need to appear “normal” within the context of society. There have been so many times I’ve sat in front of my mirror desperately trying to cover up a pimple on my forehead not because I really wanted to, but because I didn’t want people to see that I wasn’t “perfect”. It’s a lame confession, I know, but I guarantee you all know exactly what I’m talking about. Ever since I was in middle school, people have told me I have perfect skin. So when my face started freaking out due to those lovely little hormones raging throughout my already too emotional body, you can only imagine the amount of pressure I felt to keep up the “perfect skin” facade. Again, lame confession, but it’s a real one.
Just today I was trying on clothes at the mall for an interview when I absolutely lost it inside the fitting room stall of Forever 21. I’d tried on about five different pairs of pants, six different shirts, and I could not for the life of me find a single thing I liked. Let’s add the fact that I’m on my period (it’s 2016… if a girl can’t talk about biological processes going on with her body then we have a whole other host of real issues to tackle) so naturally I feel bloated beyond belief and practically the size of a whale. I’m not kidding when I tell you I was slumped over half naked with crumpled up clothes surrounding me frantically texting my best friend to explain that I was in a real crisis. Luckily, she came through with the pep talk I needed saying, “Find a high waisted pencil skirt and blouse and rock the fuck out of life like I know you can.” *Ladies, this is where I tell you to find a best friend like Sara and never, ever ever let them out of your sight.*After getting that text, I kid you not, I went back out there, found a pencil skirt and shirt, and felt like a brand new person ready to take on the world.
We all have days where we feel like crap about ourselves. We have moments that seem so dark and miserable that we forget just how incredibly incredible we are. The point of all this is simple: so often we favor the bad thoughts over the good ones. Truth be told, I know I’m the same person whether or not I’m wearing my favorite pair of fake eyelashes. The fact that I don’t have on an hour and a half’s worth of makeup doesn’t change who I am internally, yet we see all of the little things that we perceive to be “bad” and let them overwhelm us to the point that we end up crying in a public bathroom (yep, that’s happened to me multiple times). How incredible would it be if we could spend twice as much time praising ourselves than we do putting ourselves down?!
Now, let’s switch gears a little bit and look at instances where I spent the time to actually do my hair and makeup…
I will not lie to you…I am probably WAY too proud of my highlight and the fact that I got those dang lashes to stay on for as long as they did. I’m happy that it only took me seven minutes to apply that liquid lipstick as opposed to the twelve it normally takes.
While makeup continually gives me a way to express myself, boost my confidence in my appearance, and allows me to show of what I like to think is my only talent, it doesn’t change who I am internally. Deep down I know my value is not based on the fact that I vainly spent an hour in front of the mirror to make myself look “presentable”. I understand that my physical appearance doesn’t make me a better person. I have a grasp on that reality…most of the time. But at times I still find myself loving me just a little bit more after I smear expensive products all over my face.
As a girl in 2016, I can say that life can be mentally exhausting. We have the tendency to attribute our worth to our appearance. This, in my opinion, is largely due to the society and social structure we live in, but there are other contributing factors. Why is it so hard to love ourselves but give out compliments like Oprah gives out free cars? I can’t tell you the amount of compliments I receive on my skin, the exact thing I find myself hating every day. This is not to be conceited, it’s to show that because of our internal monologue, we are so blind to the beauty that others see in us. I challenge you to accept your faults and recognize that those are what makes you unique and what makes you gorgeous.
To be honest, I don’t even know if anyone besides my family reads the stuff I decide to put out into the world. The things I say probably don’t make it to 1/20th of the people I’d like to reach. But that’s okay. Just today I read a quote a friend wrote down in her notebook. It said “Just make your dent in the universe.” And today, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to overhaul the world and have everyone know who I am. If a single person reads this and it makes them smile or feel anything at all, I’m happy with that. I truly believe that everything starts off small; we only have to do something seemingly insignificant in order to begin the chain reaction.
So, I leave you with this: know your worth. No one is going to be perfect, not even you. We need to remember to live our lives for ourselves and not to achieve an ideal set out by some elusive idea. It doesn’t matter if you have on the most expensive dress, or if you’re sitting in yesterday’s pajamas with third-day hair. As long as you are you, completely and unapologetically, that is all you’re ever going to need.