Monday, August 19, 2013

(Un)Pretty- Toya

Oh Drake. You are far too kind. 

Until recently (and by recently I mean two days ago) I would have never gone out in public without makeup on- not even the gym.  Now I am not going to the gym with a face beat down with MAC Studio Fix and contoured cheek bones. However even in the earliest times of the day, I would not have thought to leave my house without some sort of concealer, powder, mascara, penciled eyebrows and some lipgloss.  Look just because I go to to the gym to get worn out doesn't mean I have to entirely look like it.   If we are going to be completely honest, being naturally pretty is just not in the cards for all women. I didn't happen to get the effortlessly naturally pretty card. I got dealt some pretty good stuff. Being naturally pretty is one card that I did not get dealt.

And that is quite alright.

Let's be clear: I don't mean any of this in a self deprecating way. Not one bit. There are just certain things you come to accept in life. I've accepted that without makeup my dark circles and puffiness under my eyes tell my age.  Now my best friend thinks otherwise but I honestly think I am unrecognizable without a full face of makeup on.

I accept that if left on a deserted island for a month without any form of facial hair removal, a rescue team may be surprised to find that what looks like a short curly afro'd bearded man is actually a young woman.  It's just real life! And although these are things that I feel I have taken with a grain of salt in my adult years, there is a quote by Erin McKean that I recently came across that changed the game for me as far as what I think about being pretty even with makeup on:

“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.”- From Erin McKean's blog A Dress A Day (please read the rest of what she had to say. It's incredible.) 

You don't owe it to anyone to be pretty.

Game. Changed.

When I read this for the first time, my mind immediately went back to all of the times I was headed out somewhere and would repeatedly and maniacally check my face in the mirror wishing I could get my eyeliner just right; taking selfies with my phone that I would never post because I wanted to make sure that my face looked acceptable in what I like to call the Instagram Second Life World where lighting can be a monster!   I thought to myself  "Who cares if I never quite get my face just right? Who cares if I miss the mark with my lipstick or my eyebrows or anything that has to do with my exterior? Who cares if I come across as pretty enough to other people?" 

- I owe it to this world to be smart.
- I owe it to this world to live up to my potential.
- I owe it to this world to be kind.
- I owe it to this world to love people without prejudice.

I don't owe it to ANYONE to be pretty.

When I read this quote I instantly became more comfortable with myself.  It's not that I've stopped caring about my looks of course. I have just stopped caring about the approval of my looks.  Being seen without makeup or trying to get my face just right just doesn't really matter too much to me anymore. It doesn't matter to the point that soon after this revelations while running errands and recovering from having a wisdom tooth pulled, I went to the mall in the middle of the day without an ounce of makeup on. Not a stitch. All I had on was some coconut oil. I had run out of moisturizer and needed to make my way to Kiehl's to get some more because it was Friday Rodriguez*.

*For those that don't know, Friday Rodriguez is payday. The only thing that I find more exciting than Adam Rodriguez is payday. The only thing more exciting than that would be to actually run into Adam Rodriguez ON payday. Moving on...

This was not a flippant decision.  I washed my face that morning and stared at it for quite some time. It had been a long time since I had really taken a look at my face without makeup.  Usually I just wash, pluck, conceal and go.  But this time I actually took some time to get to know my face.  One thing I noticed is that since I have been juicing my skin is a lot brighter. I noticed more of a golden undertone. It is the healthiest it has been in a long time.  I chose to ignore the scab on my face from a pimple extraction gone terribly wrong, some ingrown chin hairs, some wacky brow hairs gone awry, and the discoloration around my eyes.  For a split second I thought about putting just some concealer and powder on but then I thought to myself that I owe it to my skin to let it breathe. It didn't need to be weighed down with products for the sake of my trying to look "presentable" in public that day. So naked to the world I left the house.

 I stopped off at the MAC counter for a new lipstick color. As I walked towards the mirror to check out my Cyber/Ruby Woo combination, I was reminded on how telling the mirrors at MAC can truly be. They tell ALL your business. I looked in the mirror and surprisingly, the first things to stand out to me weren't my flaws. I saw happiness. My EYES looked happy. This was no doubt because I had taken off from both jobs for a few days to get my wisdom tooth out and was finally getting some dire needed rest. "Heeeeeey pretty girl!" I thought as I chuckled to myself.   As much of a hassle as it has been getting my wisdom tooth taken care of, the time off for recovery could not have come at a better time. Apparently, I needed some happiness recovery as well.  Happiness on the inside can't help but push through as beauty on the outside.

That's what really matters now. How happy am I on the inside? My face could be "beat for the gods" but if I am unhappy, worn out and stressed out on the inside, no amount of makeup or technique could ever really make me feel satisfied with how I look.  I still love makeup. I'm still wanting to achieve my flawless 10 minute face. But the kind of beauty I want to show people is the kind of beauty that comes from being happy and healthy inside and that only comes from loving and taking care of myself more.

So no you don't owe it to anyone to be pretty. You have a lot more to offer the world than that.  Furthermore, no one owes it to you to be pretty either!  We need to stop criticizing women for how they look because we have been taught to view women through a lens of unrealistic and unnecessary expectations based on Photoshop and filtered images.  Let's accept and show love to one another as we grow to accept and love ourselves.  Now THAT we owe.

1 comment:

Tayci Stallings said...

I love everything you wrote. The last time I wore makeup was at my wedding almost three years ago. I don't have to worry about making time to get ready, I don't have to worry about rubbing my eyes, and I don't have to spend all that money.

Now I know putting on makeup is fun, but thats not what I'm talking about. I mean the NEED to have makeup on to look presentable. We are so used to seeing ourselves and other women with makeup on that of course we don't think we are attractive without it. I look bomb with makeup on, but I'm not ugly without it.

Besides men don't have to wear makeup so how is it fair that we're told we must wear it to be presentable, attractive, or whatever when they just have to put on clothes.