I have an obsessive personality. I don’t know how to enjoy things halfheartedly. When it comes to losing weight it’s been fantastic. I’m so obsessed with working out, eating protein and counting carbs that I’ve been more successful that I ever imagined. But when it comes to the more trivial and materialistic things in life it can be a bit much. Coffee, tea and WWII memorabilia are things I obsess over. But at the top of my list, makeup.
Since I’ve been old enough to wield a tube of lip gloss I’ve been hooked. My girlfriends will attest that I am the person who is least likely to be seen in public with a bare face, and that I have no shame in taking an extra hour to get ready just to make sure I have the right application of primer, foundation and powder on my face. And lets not forget the setting spray!
Things have started to change over the past few months. I’ve started to feel comfortable leaving the house with no makeup on, and my hair in its wild, unruly, curly jungle hair state. These are things that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing, so why all of a sudden am I comfortable with it? I’ve had to dig deep and be more introspective than I like to be. I’ve had to face some facts about myself. Makeup allowed me to cover up what I thought were my own imperfections. Wide nose? Contour it. Small Asian eyes? Nothing some eyeliner and highlighter won’t fix. Kinky hair? That’s what flat irons are for. We live in a world where if you’re not happy with the way you look you feel the need to change it rather than understand the reasons why you feel that way. I was the type of girl who would apologize to others for my appearance “Oh I’m sorry, I slept in and didn’t do my makeup, I know… I look like shit”.
Being overweight made me feel like I was less attractive. And since I didn’t feel like I could hide the fact that I was overweight (and therefore in my mind unattractive) I could at least fake being a girl with a pretty face. When you feel like you can’t control a lot of what is going on in your life, at least you can control the face you present to the world.
It’s been clicking for me a lot lately. I look in the mirror and I’m starting to see a different face. I’m starting to see features that I didn’t necessarily see before because they were obscured by the excess weight. I’m starting to realize that I don’t need that extra coat of mascara and that really, that bronzer doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. I think the ultimate moment for me was a selfie that I posted not too long ago (yes I’ve become one of those people who posts selfies, sue me). Never in a million years would I have allowed a picture of me without makeup to be posted on any type of social networking website. I would have to make sure that my makeup was in check and that I had the appropriate “fat girl” pose down to a science, where I’ve avoided all angles that would accentuate my double chin. But in this picture I had just woken up and tossed some scrubby clothes on before getting an early morning jog in. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought “hey, not bad!”. I took the picture and posted it without even so much as a second thought. And you know what? No one recoiled in horror. No one told me I should slap some paint on the old barn because I looked like hell. Because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, my face is my face. My features are my features, and if I don’t embrace that how can I expect anyone else to?
Do I sound like one of those dreaded motivational speakers? Probably. But these are the kinds of things I need to tell myself so that I stay positive and on the right track. I’ve got a few friends who mock my addiction to taking selfies and posting them. One even coined the hashtag #selfiesanchez. In a way it’s amusing to see the reactions my friends are having to my changes. But at the same time, I don’t let it get to me because I know that I’m starting to become comfortable in my own skin. I don’t think there is anything wrong with confidence when you’ve lived so long without it.
Does this mean that I’ll be tossing my brushes away and saying goodbye to my good friends Bobbi Brown, NARS, and Stila? No. Will I always be a girl whose heart skips a beat when she steps into a Sephora store? Of course. But do I think I’m stone cold ugly without a full face of makeup? No, and I don’t think I ever will again. I like playing around with makeup because it’s fun. But it’s no longer necessary for my self-worth. It’s an accessory, not camouflage.