In this installment of “Revisits,” I commentate on how I viewed make up a little over two and a half years ago and where I am now. For point of reference, the original piece of writing I wrote back in 2017 is in bold, and my additional commentary is in italics. Enjoy!
January 2nd 2017
Let’s talk about dark lipstick. Over the past year, I’ve become more interested in actually partaking in the social norms of being a girl. Oof, we are off the the races, aren’t we, Abby? Oh you pretentious writer soul, you! By social norms, I’m referring to styling my hair, creating fashion combinations that aren’t just t shirts and jeans every single day, and wearing more noticeable make up. Fun fact: I once had a person in my life (whom I love dearly) who was talking about how they used to wear only t-shirts and jeans everyday before we started class. I expressed, “Me too!” I was quite proud of my graphic tee collection. Right after my exclamation though, they said they weren’t really proud of that fact. I was twelve, and it was the first time I was self conscious about my appearance. I’ve liked this one tube of lip gloss an awful lot since the summer. It was one my mom didn’t use anymore and had somehow ended up in my stage make up bag. After wearing it for Anything Goes, I found that I actually really liked the color. God bless that lipstick that made my bartender character look like a woman. I would wear it more often, and if I was seeing someone I wanted to impress, you could bet that lip gloss was in my pocket. “Someone?” Who are you kidding? You wore it around that boy you liked who didn’t give you the time of day and you know it!
About a month ago, Mom introduced me to this fancy new lip stain that stays on all day. LipSense: the gift from the make-up heavens. Currently wearing Blu-Red, which I fell in love with when I saw Taylor Swift in Tampa this summer. It’s truly magical stuff. I never wanted to be a girl that redoes her makeup when out with guys, but I still wanted them to think, “Hey, she actually looks like a girl.” Oh my gosh, sweetheart, you’ve always looked like a girl, you poor thing. I’m about 95% positive that this insecurity came from the fact that I have played so many male roles on stage. With my stature, it really is easy for me to look like a boy with the help of costumes and stage makeup. Whenever you get repeatedly cast in male roles to the point where it becomes a running joke, it can be rough on the still developing mind. When I auditioned for “Beauty and the Beast,” I blatantly went after the role of Lefou, not only because I thought playing the role would be fun, but also because I didn’t think I was the type of girl to play a princess. Granted, I tried really hard to claim the joke for my own, but no matter how much I made cracks at my own expense, it still hurt at least a little bit every time. I’m not very good at it yet though. I miss parts of my upper lip or put too much gloss on almost every time. But last night, when I went to see my friends in a show, one of my girl friends said, “Wow, that dark lipstick looks great on you!” Ah yes, the validation of other females. More often than not, much more impactful and/or scarring than that from men.
Now, I don’t usually carry comments around about what people say about my appearance. While this is true, the comments I do carry are HEAVY. For example, one that still creeps into my thoughts every now and then is when a guy kept making lesbian jokes at my expense when I had a pixie cut and was wearing a flannel. Granted, that first pixie cut was not the greatest thing in the world, but goodness, that messed with my head for years, especially when I was still dealing with gluing my heart back together after my first break up. This is quite the sidebar, but hey, can we all choose to not use sexual orientation as a way to tear another person down? K thanks. Sure, when a fella says, “You look nice,” it boosts my confidence for a bit, but I don’t often have a comment from a fellow female floating around in my head for almost 24 hours. Yet, here I am, wearing my pjs with my mismatched socked feet on my desk with dark red lip stick on. Fun fact: I am SHOOK on the days I accidentally match my ankle socks. I didn’t leave the house once today, yet I still put the stuff on. Why? There was no one to impress. The only people I had interactions with were my family, my dog, and a few snapchat exchanges. Abby, you did have someone to impress, and you know darn well who you were snap chatting with that A+ lip stain.
I never used to care. I went through a phase where I wore this wool newsies hat EVERYWHERE. This hat currently resides on my “CYT Shrine,” resting on top of the wig I “styled” for Scottish Play and a styrofoam head that I think I accidentally stole. It didn’t matter what I was doing, I wore that freaking hat all the time. In a sense, I feel as though that hat was a shield. I didn’t like my hair, so I covered it up. Puberty was ROUGH. Keeping thin, blonde hair clean is quite difficult. Can you blame a girl for wanting to cover it up? With that logic in mind, I sometimes wonder where or not I used makeup to cover up the face I’m not particularly fond of. There was a day my parents gave me the green light to start using the stuff, so I did. I wasn’t very good at it then, and certainly not super great at it now. The difference now though is the mindset. Looking back, I don’t think I was covering up a face I didn’t like. With or without makeup, I didn’t feel pretty at all. I was friends with the girls in elementary school who grew up to be the “popular girl” stereotype. I was always surrounded by people I thought were pretty. I tried to have what I thought they had, but it was a lot of effort and after a while, I chose not to consciously care (at least for a little while).
Full disclosure, yes, I do put in more time on my make up when I see my guy friends. Ah, there we go. There’s the true honesty. They most likely don’t even care, but I do. In the back of my mind, I want to thought of as a beautiful person, like the girls who get asked out to dances and on dates and are pursued. OOF. This was a BIG deal for me: dances. I wanted so badly for one of my guy friends to ask me to a dance in high school and would be very upset when one of the girls I viewed as being super gorgeous got asked instead. But that’s not the only reason, and definitely shouldn’t be the only reason. I like looking in the mirror and thinking, “Dang girl, you look good today.” I enjoy feeling confident in the sense that I don’t need a boy to tell me I look nice; I can do it for myself. Yes, HOWEVER, it is good to surround yourself with both men and women who will unapologetically build you up.
It’s fun to be pretty. Yep. It’s okay to spend time enhancing your features. Hmm, let me rephrase this. I feel it’s okay to enhance the features God has given you if you are doing it for the right reason. Calling attention to yourself for selfish reasons instead of wanting to reflect the Light of Christ inside of you: not the right reason. While it’s not something I spend hours doing, I like fluffing up my “puff” and putting on makeup. *snickers* “Puff” is what I lovingly referred to my mop of hair as I was growing out my first pixie. I feel as though I had once had a stigma against being “fancy” because I wanted to be ready to goof off and horse around. Hence why I ALWAYS wear booty shorts underneath skirts and dresses. You never known when you’re gonna get into a snowball fight while walking across campus. Also, WIND. Where does it say though that you can’t hang upside down from a tree while wearing dark red lipstick? I’m sure someone said that somewhere, and whoever did it has no imagination or joy in their life.
There’s a reason why I’ll never be a Beauty Guru on YouTube: I still don’t know how I truly feel about the stuff. Okay, now I know how I feel about it. I like it. It makes me feel more confident. Do I need it to feel confident? Heck no! But I have found on days that I feel sick or unmotivated, putting on at least mascara and eyeliner does a world of wonder for my mood. While I’ll never be a girl to spend more than ten minutes doing their face in the morning, I have come to have an appreciation for my little bag of products.
To the kid who feels insecure with how they look: you’re not alone, Dear One. To the teenager who doesn’t feel like you’ll ever fit in because of how you look: you are valuable beyond measure, Dear One. To the young adult who feels ugly: you are not defined by your outward appearance, Dear One. To anyone who has ever been torn down by the negative thoughts from others or yourself: you are not defined by the words of flawed human beings, Dear One. Everyone is uniquely hand-crafted in an absolutely wonderful way: relish the fact that there is no one on Earth exactly like you.
Until Next Time,