“Making up” with myself
Greta Kooy // Campus Life Editor
Anyone that knows me knows that I love makeup. I love looking at it, touching it, beating my face with it. I’d sacrifice necessities just so I could pick up another $64 highlighting palette. I have sacrificed necessities for a $64 highlighting palette. My addiction started when I was in middle school and has only intensified since.
Makeup can be powerful and it’s not always about vanity or insecurity. It’s a fun, creative thing to do that can make people feel happy and more confident. And while it does a good job at masking certain insecurities, it can unfortunately create more of them. If we’re calling it a mask, even as a joke, doesn’t that imply that we are attempting to hide something?
The other day, my friend Jasmin showed me a YouTube video called “Getting a Man 101”. It was hilarious, mostly because of how relatable it was. “They’re looking at necks now, they’re learning,” the girl in the video joked. I howled, thinking about all the times I failed at blending and left the house looking like a clown made up of two different skin tones. And while there are ample parodies about women’s appearance anxieties online, this one hit a little too close to home.
I’m a self-conscious person and that unfortunate trait becomes magnified in my romantic relationships. In fact, many of my past relationships were built on half-truths – I only showed the parts of myself that I deemed good enough to show. This, of course, did nothing for me, but cripple my ability to – as cheesy as it sounds – really be myself. It also meant that any relationship I was in was going to be temporary and essentially hollow.
Fast-forward two and a half years: I’m in a relationship, and an amazing one at that. I don’t feel entirely suffocated by my own insecurities, and I realized that once I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I could just be happy and reciprocate love on a real level.
Illustration by Rachel Wada
It didn’t start like this, though.
Throughout the first month of dating I would sleep with my makeup on. I’m not talking a light, tinted moisturizer and some mascara, I mean full-on foundation, contour, eyebrows, liner, everything – something my editor called a “Natasha Deno-no.” Not only was I fucking up my skin, but I was leaving cosmetic portraits of my face on his pillows.
Gross, I know.
At some point he said something about it, and bless his soul he acted no differently when I started washing my face before bed. Of course, he didn’t, this is a sincere, honest person who was opening his life up to me, expecting me to do the same.
He’s also not an idiot. He saw right through that $150 mask.
In hindsight, something as trivial as my vanity is a ridiculous thing to be hung up on, but at the time it seemed like such a big deal. I was wasting my time worrying about the little things and wasn’t allowing myself to relax. And 90 per cent of the time, that’s exactly what I need to do.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still love wearing makeup, I just learned that I didn’t have to hide behind it. It used to be a shield for my insecurities, I was scared that once I was exposed, the person underneath wouldn’t be enough. That same first night without my camouflage, I thought to myself, “That’s it, now he knows you’re a big fucking liar.” To my delight, and in his words, I looked “exactly the same.”
It’s sad that this is something that truly bothered me, but I wasn’t alone. It seems like every female-focused publication has written about this at some point – When is a good time to take your makeup off in front of your boyfriend? When is a good time to “expose” yourself? How soon is too soon? Looking at all the articles, it’s hard not to feel a little ridiculous, but it’s important to remember that the beauty industry wants us to feel this way. They wouldn’t make any money if we didn’t.
So, while I’m not about to give up make up, I’m giving up the idea that my self-worth is tied to a brush. Whether my face is beat or completely bare, I’m 100 per cent myself, and still “exactly the same.”