Dear Bare-Faced Self,
I know you haven’t been feeling yourself lately. It started with a nagging feeling of not being your true self and then it was a sudden realisation. It was because you couldn’t identify yourself without your regular winged eyeliner. Well, you are a pro at it now, kudos to you for that. But the fact that you can’t really get out of the house without it makes it more binding. Like now it has become a rule. It’s empowering, yes, but isn’t it unfortunate that you have to, have to do it?
Rest assured, it’s not just you. A few days ago, while you were contemplating this very subject, a colleague told you that she is wearing glasses so she doesn’t look sick. I could instantly understand what she meant. Even if one day you don’t wear your eyeliner, people think you’re sick. It’s the experience with most of us. We just don’t talk about the ramifications of such a comment. It did make me want to wear eyeliner every day even more! For another colleague of mine, she had to compensate the ‘no-kajal‘ look with a good shade of lipstick. This very idea, this very definition of beauty that has engulfed us, bothered you a lot.
I also remember how you got over your ‘kajal‘ phase. It started as a habit when I was in school, and it continued to be a part of my routine even when I went to college. It was a task to remove it every day, and it left me with panda eyes even because of regular use. Just one day, out of the blue, I decided to stop. Going bare face was a dare but what I didn’t do then was to appreciate it. Slowly but surely, the kajal was replaced by the winged eyeliner.
Bare face, don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the freedom but I also love the edge a nicely done winged eyeliner gave me. It became a habit without me knowing it. I got a lot of compliments on the way I apply my everyday liner. I do love the confidence it gives me but it soon became an indispensable habit.
This time I actually realised that it’s becoming more of my armour than a confidence booster. This sudden realisation had a major impact on me. I thought you, my bare-faced self, is not good enough. It’s not enough. That I have to put on the perfect winged eyeliner to look presentable. I just couldn’t appreciate the beauty and liberation of being bare-faced. I do agree that beauty standards that are set nowadays are too high and such insecurities can easily escalate. So, I decided to put a stop to it.
Last week, I went bare-faced except for Saturday. It was a journey, to say the least. For the first two days, I was just new to you. It was like I was being myself though I know now that you are my true self. It was tough to look in the mirror and I felt judged by others. But soon I realised that no one really noticed and acceptance came along with it. It is what it is. You are the real me and instead of being humiliated or ashamed I now know that I need to be proud and confident about it.
With this muddle of thoughts, I went to my soul sisters! I posted a short message that discussed this topic briefly on Malini’s Girl Tribe. I wanted to know if there were women out there, who feel the same way about their bare-faced self. I was quick to know that I wasn’t alone. Also, encouraging words from them have helped me in becoming more confident and more real. I am noting down a few pointers by them to remind my relationship with my bare-faced self:
These are some simple sentences but for me and I bet for you too, they are pillars of strength. Now imagine, me being okay with looking at you every day in the mirror and feeling confident. These words from my soul sisters will encourage me to accept and celebrate your true beauty. The no-makeup face that I used to be shy of is now going to be my best feature.
Other things that have helped me out in this process are just small changes in my daily routine:
Doing all this and then reading the thoughtful and encouraging comments have helped me in this journey. I have come to love you, my bare-face self, and I promise that I will always be proud of you.