I can think of less than five times growing up when I felt absolutely beautiful. Even when my parents and family told me how beautiful I was, I never really felt it. Did I look “pretty” or “cute”? Sure, but I didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t feel what I was supposed to, or what I thought I was supposed to feel like. I remember one time I did feel extremely beautiful. So beautiful my heart was glowing. I was in grade school and it was picture day. My mom allowed me to choose my outfit and do my hair that day. I chose a dress my grandmother sent me from the Philippines. It had a white top, with a purple skirt, baby doll style, with three or four gold buttons down the front of the top. I loved that dress. I wore gold and amethyst earrings and I stuck a faux sterling rose in my hair. I think I put my hair up with a clip, very nineties. I remember sitting in front of my mirror that was hanging on the back of my door, inspecting my dress and hair, the purple rose sitting atop my head. When I close my eyes I can take myself there, sitting in front of the mirror, staring at myself. I felt beautiful. I have that photo from school somewhere, I’m happy I was able to document such a special day.
I felt ugly growing up because of the moles on my face. I don’t remember when they appeared, but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have them. My mom told me they were beauty marks and I should be happy and thankful I had them. She explained a lot of famous women drew theirs on with eyeliner. That was confusing to me, but I agreed they were beauty marks. When kids would ask me at school why I had moles on my face, I would tell them what my mom told me. They retorted saying that my mom was lying to me just to make me feel better and they were just moles–nothing special. What a blow to my self-esteem at a young age, it made me hate them. In high school, I used a photo re-toucher to remove them. And guess what? My face looked incomplete without them. So to those mean kids in elementary school, you were wrong.
In high school, I suffered the usual pressure to look beautiful. I was never one to wear makeup and my mom never taught me. When I asked her to buy me makeup, she said I was a natural beauty and I didn’t need any. I would roll my eyes and stomp off. I turned to reading beauty magazines and pieced information together on what to use, but still, I never wore anything too noticeable–mainly because I was too impatient to learn how to do anything too extravagant. It wasn’t until I started seeing my now fiancé at sixteen that I started to wear makeup and do my hair. I just felt like he liked that kind of girl, and I wanted him to think I was gorgeous and worthy of his time. The whole ordeal was actually ridiculous when I look back to it. The days I knew I would see him after school I would wake up extra early to curl my hair and do my makeup. I went to an all-girls school, so normally I wouldn’t care what I looked like. My hair up in a bun and no makeup was the usual attire, but on the days I was going to see a boy so I had to look good. Sure I looked good, but it wasn’t me. I did this for a couple years after we started dating until we were more serious, and I fell into a normalcy and didn’t care how he saw me. Ironically, that was when he really started to compliment me–when I had no makeup on and I wore my hair natural.
But before he noticed I stopped trying so hard, I noticed. I didn’t really want to wear so much makeup and after not straightening or curling my hair for months it became so soft and healthy. I didn’t want to go back. I found my look, natural and fresh, and I felt beautiful! I did, I felt so beautiful! Nineteen years later, I felt like I had grown into my skin and found my signature look, makeup free, and my hair wavy. If I feel like it, I’ll put on some blush and mascara. When my mom did give me tips on makeup, it was always less is more and to enhance my natural beauty. I’ve stayed true to that. Even when I go out to a party, I wear the bare minimal: blush, eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick. If you asked me to contour my face or wear foundation it would end up all over the bathroom. The one thing I will admit to splurging on, and possibly the most makeup I’ll wear, would be my bold lip color.
I love color and my favorite part of my face are my lips. So when I am feeling a little more bold, I’ll pull out one of my many lip colors and apply it very carefully to my lips. This is the most time I will take on my face; my lip color has to be perfect. Other than that, my makeup bag consists of every shade of natural eye shadow, the lightest pink blushes, and black mascara.
However, recently I have been wanting to up my makeup regimen, but I never included it in my routine. It’s hard to break a morning ritual. Plus, the extra hour of sleep I get from not doing my hair and makeup is so precious to me. But, as a twenty-two-year-old woman, looking to start her professional career, I’ve found its important to add a little flare to your daily life and always feel your best self. Like my mom said, enhance your natural beauty, and that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to walk into work every day looking like I just rolled out of bed. In a professional setting, it’s important to look put together. Yes, I’ll be losing my extra hour, but think I will feel more confident.
So, after finding confidence in my natural beauty this is my next journey. It is time to begin enhancing what I have been given and take it to the next level. I hope it doesn’t take another nineteen years to get there! Stay tuned…