You walk into a room in your own comfortably chic attire sans accessories, sans foundation.
And then some random off-hand jeer, “You don’t look like you can manage (whatever your job role is).” or “You can still pass off as a stupid school kid.” harps at the last bit of self-confidence you manage to muster.
You look around the room and suddenly feel so tiny, so not-good-enough, so inadequate.
As you try to keep to yourself and get away from the crowd of oh-so-grown-up people, a couple of “well-meaning” benefactors offer to teach you how a shade of lipgloss and a hint of eye-liner on a perfectly fitting foundation dabbed face is so absolutely essential to get you the respect of being a knowledgeable, skilled, sensible adult person in the society who is to be taken seriously, who is not to be laughed away or mocked at.
You smile, nod, feign agreement and leave.
You come back home, look into the mirror and realise that the mind you have so carefully and diligently nurtured for days on end just doesn’t show on your too-plain-to-catch-the-slightest-attention face. As you get pulled apart in the tussle between being yourself till the world adjusts, and being smart enough to give the world what it asks for if that means getting ahead in life; all you have to revisit is your own priorities in life, your own ideal self that you aspire to grow into. That introspection is your greatest and surest fallback option whenever you feel like you are not presentable enough in terms of how you look and how you dress.
Right from childhood, one of the bestest things mommy dearest absolutely normalised for us is this:
“You don’t need the slightest tinge of make-up to face the world, or yourself, for that matter. Occasionally, once in a while, maybe, yes, if at all you want to. And no, the proportion of make-up one uses daily is not up for a judgement call either, and depends on professional requisites.”
The utmost importance of developing a personality to carry the looks we are born with is something she has always taught us. Growing up, she only lectures us about actually taking care of our skin and hair if we really care to look good instead of learning to simply present a flawless face just for the sake of it.
Why don’t men need make-up to feel confident every day?
Because society doesn’t tell them otherwise.
Most importantly, confidence is an attribute of the mind, not really of the body.
Of course, society crossing the line to ridicule a man, or even a woman for that matter, should (s)he want to wear make-up is equally unfair and absolutely not required.
In short, accept the fact that you are a human with an imperfect silhouette, irrespective of your gender. You are not a custom ordered mannequin, a hand-sculpted idol who is supposed to have the perfect everything.
The idea of using colour cosmetics to make yourself look a certain way just because that is what’s more acceptable to the world is only an injustice to the person you are, to the person you have struggled to create over all these years. If using make-up becomes a professional requisite because you are an artist and you are in fact representing a different character altogether, of course, it makes perfect sense. But, if using make-up comes from a place of inadequacy and insecurity of any sort whatsoever, then we really need to have a conversation with ourselves.
Being sensibly presentable revolves around genuinely taking care of your body, your health, and your mindset. Yes, your face will always, always reflect your thoughts. Trust me when I say this: When you do your very best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, take care of your skin and your hair even in minimalist ways, know your trade, read enough to be aware of the society and the human race and the environment, when you work on expanding your perspectives and developing an empathetic mindset – you, sweetheart, are bound to make heads turn even if you are the most petite creature with unkempt hair, dressed in worn down shorts and t-shirt, dancing about carelessly in silly flip-flops. Or maybe not. Does it even matter in life? Does our worth really, really hinge on being physically attractive?
Making peace with the person you are becoming and this incessant process of understanding yourself, what holds value in your life, and consequently how you care to present yourself to the world is indeed an integral part of adulting.
How you respect your body, and how you choose to adorn it is a crucial part of building your identity too.
I for one shall remain forever grateful for this super important lesson in self-acceptance so early on in life. This say-no-to-make-up upbringing has been a huge blessing that we get to appreciate more with age than we ever realised in college.
Today, I know for a fact that every time I refuse to wear make-up just because it’d make me look my age maybe, I say YES to being the plain-looking girl-next-door who has the guts to stand her ground and fight injustice with this innocent baby-face.
I also know in my heart that you too have your own strength to idolise and cherish. Realise that. Enhance that differentiating factor in you to the point when you no longer feel the need to paint your face the way the world wants to see it; when you no longer feel the need to hide away the truly glowing face that you know can offer the best of you to the world.
Say NO to Make-Up, and Say YES to YOURSELF, Love!