The storm was an interesting one.
Just to recap, the Lower Mainland was hit with a massive wind and rain storm that left many people without power for the whole weekend. My family was included in that power outage. But, to add to our misadventures, we couldn’t get back into our house, leaving us to stay with my godmother for the night.
Obviously, the situation is not ideal. We were caught off guard, with only the clothes on our backs and the money in our wallets. Thankfully, everything resolved itself and we were all safe. I am so thankful that my godmother had let us stay with her overnight and that we had friends to help us get back into our home so that we didn’t have to wander around town another night.
But I came to a revelation, a small but sad one.
I didn’t know that blustery wind and the torrential downpour would result in a whirlwind weekend excursion when I woke up on Saturday morning. As we went through the day, everything was going fine until I got ready to go to sleep that night.
I realized that I had no make up to wear the next day.
And yes, you have my permission to scoff at my superficiality and non-existent fears. But hear me out.
I woke up the next morning with red splotches, acne scars and barely there eye brows. I was so used to relying on a little moisturizer, foundation and an eyebrow pencil to wake up my face. Unfortunately for me, my morning routine was cut short as I brushed my teeth and hair. So I walked through my day – church, lunch, walk with my godmother and the mall – and felt self conscious about everything. My eyebrows were invisible. My acne scars were larger than they were. The redness was not going away. My skin looks dry and I look incredibly tired. But after my fifth bout of feeling sorry for myself and looking at myself in the mirror, I began to realize how incredibly superficial I was being. My personality and who I am is not defined by how flawless my face looks. I define myself through what I say and how I act. I should be proud and confident in myself, make up or not. And I suppose this is where my insecurity lies. I still am dependent on make up to make me feel better about myself. This is not to say that I am hating on make up or not wearing it ever again – you have no idea how happy I was to have it available to me this morning. But on the flip side, make up should be a nice to have and a way to enhance my natural features, not my lifeline.
Being so exposed to social media and pop culture on a daily basis, it is easy to be persuaded that you are not good enough or that you need to be like the models in magazines or on TV to feel good about myself. It is easy to complain about our “flaw-ful” features and compare it to that of the unattainable and somewhat impossible standards that the media has bombarded us with.
Adding to my shame, I remember a video that I saw on Facebook about a Youtuber who runs a make up channel, My Pale Skin. There was a video that was titled something shocking – “You Look Disgusting” – and it tugged at my heartstrings and my attention.
The video came about when this girl named Em began posting no make up pictures of herself to her social media. This resulted in mean comments directed at her, along the lines of “you look disgusting”, “you are so ugly”, and other nasty stuff like that. But even when she does her make up – and she looks beautiful regardless – the comments (which are pulled from her social media) continue to take a disrespectful turn.
How superficial are we as a society? How demanding and self-centered are we? The standards that we have come to swear by are impossible, and we not only hold each other to such standards but ourselves as well. It has become a never ending race to becoming the perfect human being.
But here’s the thing – we may not be perfect, and perhaps never will be. At the same time, though, we are perfect in our own ways.
This is a struggle for me to live with everyday, because I am my own worst critic. I tell myself that I need to lose weight, tone my arms, and learn how to apply makeup better. But all of this self-deprecation becomes tiring and worse, is unhealthy for me. And it’s unhealthy for you too!
Being healthy, living and breathing should be the things in life that we are grateful for. If we are not truly happy about that, is there anything in life that we can truly be happy about?
Keep using makeup and making yourself look pretty, but remind yourself that it’s not the be all or end all. And as cliched as this sounds, you are amazing, just the way you are.
Thanks, Bruno Mars.
Here is the video from My Pale Skin – while it is difficult to watch, it definitely is a must see: