There has been a lot of hullabaloo going around about the recent "No Make-Up" tag circulating on the interwebs. Some people think that it's gimmicky, or ill advised, or pointless, or whatever else.
I was hesitant about the whole thing. Sure, there was definite merit to snapping a picture of yourself without the crutch of makeup, but by the same token, it made me nervous.
The pictures starting popping up on my Facebook News Feed.
And do you know what?
Every single one of those pictures made me smile.
The first thing I noticed was that every girl taking that picture looked stunning. And I do NOT mean that in a pandering way.
Without makeup, I picked up on things that I hadn't noticed before. Little things in my friends that, to me, made them even more gorgeous than they already were. Mostly because, for any 'flaws' that they had, or thought they had, they had been brave enough to post that picture.
Then I got nominated and all my nerves rushed back.
There are memories and imperfections all over my skin, ones that I work hard everyday to cover and conceal. Primer, concealer, correcting powder, foundation- I have a veritable army of products ready to bring me as close to society's beauty 'standard' as possible. There are things on my skin that I would never want to show. Lines, marks, red spots, you name it. The things that society told me were unattractive.
I was standing in my bathroom, taking picture after picture, trying to make myself look my best without any of the things that, in my mind, allowed me to achieve that. The light obscured my face, the shadows made the red spots brighter, it was dreadful.
And then I realized something. And I know this is going to sound very Oprah and scripted, but it wasn't.
I realized that every other girl out there who had done the challenge had probably struggled just as badly as I was. Had felt the whales doing trust-falls in their stomachs.
In the end, I settled on the very last picture I took. No filters, no makeup, no hairstyles- just me. And I was terrified.
I posted it. I fought with myself about whether or not I should just take it down and pretend like I hadn't done it. THAT was how anxious it made me. And that is ridiculous. That we as a culture have gotten to the point where letting people see how you look without a layer of chemicals covering your face is an actual ordeal.
And for all that, it was one of the best decisions I have made. Crazy, I know.
But, as the day went on, no rude comments assailed the photo. No snide remarks about how I should hide my complexion. Not. One. Only support.
So, to every girl who has done the challenge, you have my whole hearted respect. And to those who haven't been 'selected' yet, do it anyway. Take a picture of yourself without makeup and look at it. I mean REALLY look at it. Pick five things that you love about yourself and mean every word of it.
Beauty doesn't come in a bottle.
They could never bottle something as unique and perfect as you.