Getting ready in the morning for a woman is annoying. For most women, it consists of plugging in the hair curler or straightener to warm up while you put on your hot girl disguise. You start with the foundation. Layer that stuff on so no one can see the microscopic pores on your face that only you can see. Next, you want to contour. I think that’s the right word? It’s the step where you draw the shapes on your face and color it in like a color book. It does something to make you look better… I think? Anyway, now that the bottom layer of the cake is on, you want to get your eye shadow. You use about four different colors to create that smokey eye look. Next is the eyeliner. You make sure to draw the perfect wing before filling in the waterline right above your lower row of eyelashes. Finish off with some mascara. Careful not to poke your eye. But we’re not done. Don’t forget to pluck your eyebrows and get rid of those nasty strays. On to the lips! Make sure your lipstick matches your outfit and eye shadow. Maybe not a dark red, but a lighter pink for that spring look. Lip liner. Outline your lips to the best of your ability and then smack them together so it looks natural. Because natural is still achievable despite the cake on your face. Put some blush on and make sure your hair curler or straightener is hot. As you curl or straighten your hair, you’re bound to get burnt at least once. You run your hand under cold water really quick then go right back to curling or straightening. After all, pain is beauty. Beauty is pain.
Why do we go through this struggle? Who are we putting this effort in for anyway? Boys have no clue what you put on your face. They probably won’t notice it or say anything about it. They’ll forget about it I’m sure. Other girls are too busy checking their own face to notice yours. We take all these selfies and bend over backwards to find the right lighting. Then we scroll for minutes searching for just the right filter so we look natural. We end with the infamous #selfie #nomakeup #nofilter. Oh my gosh I got another follower on Instagram! I feel so great about myself!…for about a minute. Then it’s onto the next selfie, the next pose, the next filter, searching desperately for affirmation. Soon, you forget what you actually look like. I know I did.
Taking off my makeup at the end of the day was always a pain because the girl underneath looked so… plain. She’s so young. She’s so ugly. Look at all those pores, is she breaking out again? Her lips are too nude, eyebrows undone, and her eyes draw no attention. Buns aren’t in anymore either. There’s so much criticizing happening in the mirror that I couldn’t stand to even look at myself anymore. Not until the hot girl disguise was back on anyway. I would avoid eye contact with the plain girl but spend hours looking at the hot girl, the girl I wanted to be but wasn’t.
Hi, I’m me. (Hello, me) And I hate myself. I have hated myself for almost my entire life. I’ve only recently begun to think fondly of myself. (Welcome to haters anonymous)
Man, I wish Haters Anonymous was real. It’s sort of like AA but for people who hate themselves. I would awkwardly stumble, not even walk normally, but stumble over a few chairs and trip over my own feet on the way up to the podium and knock the microphone over. The audience would kind of stare at me and I would hate myself more. After apologizing ten thousand times and regretting this decision, I would clear my throat and begin.
“Last August, a friend challenged me to stop wearing makeup. I noticed how confident she was and she told me it was because she stopped wearing makeup. I told her I would try it for a week. The first couple days were awful! Especially when I went to work. I worked at a high end retail store at the time and was constantly surrounded by beautiful co workers. My head was low for a couple days. I didn’t want anybody to notice me or to see me looking so… plain. You can imagine how awkward I felt when I still received compliments and still got hit on at work. I would respond with a surprised look and turn around to see which beautiful co worker was behind me. Nope, it was a wall. They were actually talking to me. Plain, old me. After the awful first days, my head gradually came back up. I could look the world in the eye and be okay knowing mine wasn’t caked in makeup. I was okay with myself. Soon, I began to like myself and actually think I was pretty. A week turned into a month and now I’m close to a year of not wearing any makeup. The benefits are incredible! First off, more sleep! Hallelujah praise the Lord I don’t have to wake up an hour before normal people do! Second off, I know people are actually fond of the way I look. I don’t have to question whether or not they think I’m pretty or if it was just the makeup because there is no makeup anymore. Soon, I loved the way I looked and could spend hours staring at the girl I once thought was plain.”
*Insert crazy applause here*
“But things changed.”
*Silence falls over the crowd and a few nod. They know the feeling.*
“I liked a boy.”
*A few, no, every woman shakes her head as they each remember the boys who destroyed their self love at one point or another.*
“He was kind. At first.”
“But towards the end, he started saying nasty things and the self hatred returned. I shoved him aside and tried to move forward. I am ashamed to say I found a rebound who seemed much nicer.”
*Nobody moves as they think about their own rebounds*
“He was very kind and helped me regain a lot of self love. One day out of the blue, he told me to kill myself and that I was a waste of space. I was a monster and unworthy of love. I was ‘too much to handle’ because of my brain disorders. For a minute there, I believed him.” I look down at the microphone and desperately try not to cry as I remember the pain that comes from being treated like trash and thrown away without thought. The grief in my heart is heavy as I remember that day, that moment when my heart dropped and five months of work towards self love after my diagnosis of depression and anxiety almost got erased. “The worst part is, he probably doesn’t know the damage he did and he doesn’t care. I will never get an apology.” I need a second to breathe. “I feel like I’m back at square one. No, I am not tempted to go back to makeup. I can’t figure out how to wear it anymore. There’s too many things to buy.” This may warrant a few giggles. “But I can’t stop playing that day and hearing those words. I hear words from both men now play in my head. They keep me up at night and take away my good days. I feel low and sad a lot of the time. It hurts more thinking of the good times. They were fake. Now, I have a man who is actually good to me trying to love me and I can’t let him because I don’t think I’m worthy of being treated right.”
*Silence continues to blanket the audience as all the women look down and remember their stories*
It hurts knowing that this story is a common one. Even now, I am trying to remember my self worth comes from God alone. I know in my head that that is true but my heart is too grief stricken to remember. It has placed the worth on the negative words I still remember almost verbatim. I wish it was easy to go back to Jesus and flip open my Bible to exactly what I need to hear but it isn’t. Even now as I type, the pain is flooding back and my fingers get more heavy with each word. I don’t want to think about the negative words that cut me to the core but I need to get it out there. I don’t want to remember them. Heck I’ll admit I bought a session of hypnotherapy I’m looking forward to so I can forget. I don’t even think hypnotism works!
As of now, I can not honestly say I love myself the way I did a year ago or even two months ago. A lot of progress has been made since the diagnosis and there was a point where I was completely okay with myself, depression, anxiety and all. Thanks to a couple phrases, the flowers I had been growing has been cut down. I don’t really want to plant the seeds again, not if there’s a chance they’ll be cut down like this again but I have to. I at least have the seeds in my hand but I’m not ready to plant them. I need this season of grief to pass and for my heart to catch up with my brain. Patience is not my specialty but God is teaching me slowly that being patient isn’t a bad thing, not if it means these flowers can bloom once more.
Before I leave the podium I want to say this: to the men who cut me. You may have cut the flowers but my roots are still deep. They are thirsty but my God is the one watering me with life so that I will bloom and you will never cut me again.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18)
Amen. Mic drop.