You have to be careful with mirrors.
Because they don’t always tell the truth.
Last week, a student walked into my classroom before school for tutorials one morning, and the first thing she said to me was, “Merrill, please don’t look at me. I don’t have any makeup on.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say something similar to this, and I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why girls and women feel like they have to be wearing makeup in order for their appearances to be presentable.
That belief is completely false.
I’m not going to say that there is anything wrong with makeup. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not fun and useful for other people. But, I do have a problem with women not feeling like they are beautiful enough when they don’t have any on. Looking different doesn’t mean looking ugly.
A few years ago, one of my coworkers was selling Mary Kay products on the side, and she invited me to an event of some sort. I really didn’t want to go, but she asked me about it more than once, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to support her endeavors for one evening. I hadn’t realized that everyone in attendance would be applying makeup and learning various techniques, such as something called “smoky eyes” that I still can’t comprehensively explain. At one point, the woman leading the demonstration came over to me with a concerned look on her face. I let her know that I never wear makeup and don’t even know how to put it on, and she frowned a little and said, “You should probably go wash your face off and come back and start over again.” I went to the restroom, washed my face off, then went home.
Prior to when we had actually started trying to make “smoky eyes” and whatnot, I had looked around the room at all of the women there with me. Each one was so different and so unique in her own way. They all looked like they already knew how to put on makeup, because from what I could tell they were all already wearing it, but I’ll bet you anything that they would all look fine without it.
I just wish they all knew that.
One woman who had been sitting next to me was rather shocked when she heard me tell the other woman that I didn’t know how to put on makeup. She told me that she could never be brave enough to go out in public with her face “undone” and that I am lucky that I don’t need it–but I’m not lucky at all, because no one actually needs it. A lot of women don’t realize how pretty they are naturally simply because they are so used to wearing makeup. No makeup doesn’t mean ugly–it means different but still just as lovely. Most guys don’t wear makeup, and we don’t suggest that they need to. So why do women feel like they have to wear it to look their bests?
In the great 2004 movie A Cinderella Story (which somehow got left out of Oscar contention), Sam (Hilary Duff) is afraid to reveal her true identity to Austin (Chad Michael Murray), because he is one of the popular kids, and she is not. Sam is afraid that who she is simply isn’t good enough for Austin. But, at the end of the movie, she finds a new boldness and stands up for herself, and Austin realizes he loves the real Sam. She didn’t need to be wearing her mask and in an extravagant gown to catch his eye again–she was enough as she was. (I apologize if I just ruined the entire movie for you. You should still watch it.)
And you are enough as you are.
I love Colbie Caillat’s song “Try.” If you have a few minutes, you should listen to it and watch the video. It contains such a wonderful message that so many of us, man or woman, need to hear. You don’t have to look a certain way to feel valued. It’s OK if you like to get dressed up or wear makeup, but it’s also just as acceptable to be seen when you aren’t looking like you just stepped out of a magazine ad. The people who matter in your life are going to love you regardless of what you look like, and you should love yourself just the same. I think everyone is beautiful without makeup.
At the end of the day, you have to take makeup off, anyway. There’s nothing wrong with wearing it, but don’t be afraid to be without it. You can feel confident and beautiful with makeup, but you can also feel confident and beautiful without makeup. Either way, it doesn’t change the individual you are.
Because you are enough as you are.