If you have been around me long enough, whether as a friend or reader, you will know that I have no problem wearing a red lip and cat eye make-up look on a day to day basis. As an individual woman, make-up has brought me an empowering joy since I was twelve years old. However, the journey throughout the must have thick eyeliner to simply mascara and a deep rose lip has not all been the same empowering joy I feel today.
I still remember the first make up product I used; a baby pink eyeshadow bought from Sephora and courtesy of my amazing MAC make-up artist Aunt. Yes, my Aunt is that cool. She was most definitely the spark of my curiosity and love of the art. The days and nights of going through her for what seems infinite drawers and containers of every lipstick to blush will forever have a cozy place in my mind. But I rocked that baby pink eyeshadow everyday. Perhaps a little too much and only my best friend to this day had the guts to tell me to chill out with the pink. What twelve year old best friend tells you to chill out with pink eye shadow? Mine apparently.
Then when I was thirteen, my make-up love began to kick off as I explored more products. But something I could not use was mascara. Not because my mom forbade it but because I had no eyelashes to voluminize or make look longer. Back to when I was twelve, I developed a disorder called Trichotillomania. You can read about my journey here, but in short it is an OCD condition which you pull hair obsessively and/or compulsively. The severity of the condition can be any place where hair grows but I only pulled my lashes and brows. It was one of those struggles I dealt with as a pre-teen and teenager that set my self-esteem to an all time low. Not to mention the FOMO struggle was as real as it gets with mascara in the modern age of girlhood. So in substitute, when I was fourteen I discovered how to use this amazing invention called liquid eyeliner. I thought it was my saving grace! If I applied it just thick enough, no one would see my lack of lashes. And so for years, my relationship with eyeliner became the product that I hid behind. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I truly learned about my condition and came to peace with it.
Despite my unhealthy relationship with make-up at the time, I truly enjoyed it. I watched beauty gurus such as Zoella, whom I still watch to this day! Then, when I was sixteen and struggling with my self image and identity as a person, I one day decided to try a red lipstick. This day changed my life as silly as it sounds. I believe that red lipstick helped me with my confidence and identity. It didn’t give me one, but gave me the power to explore myself and pursue what I love.
Yesterday I was listening to The Heart of It podcast by Estée Lalonde who recently recorded an episode all about the history of make-up with author of Compacts and Cosmetics: Beauty from Victorian Times to the Present Day Madeleine Marsh. After learning about how much make-up is tied to women history and how far back it goes inspired me to share my own story. Within the podcast, Estée asked the question, “could you ever go to a job interview with no make-up on?” She could not imagine it because it is such an empowering and intimate thing, Estée said. For me, there were two things that came to my mind: a) intimate. What a perfect word to describe baring your face to someone, especially a significant other and b) I had no choice but to go to the job interview of my current job with no make-up on! Until now, do I realize what a moment that was.
A few months ago I was on my way to my horrid job at the time where I was currently on the hunt for a new one. Beforehand, I stopped at the store to briefly grab some things I needed and was currently in restaurant employee clothes; black pants, gross black shoes, the restaurant’s logo tee shirt, and a bare face. This store I had already applied to 3 times and even received an email saying they were not interested. But lucky me, there was an employee at a small desk hiring people on the spot! I was so excited but also very unsure if I should go up. Besides, I had already applied 3 times, been rejected, and was also a mess. But I was not ready to quit now, I hated my job and desperately needed a new one and so I went up and talked to the lovely employee. One thing after another, I found myself in the waiting room awaiting the second interview. My heart was pounding because I had half an hour until work and couldn’t believe this was happening. But in the end, you guessed it, I got the job!
There were a couple of reasons that went into me doubting myself to try for this opportunity, but can you imagine if I let because I wasn’t wearing any make-up get in the way of it? It may be easier for others to say, but we all have our own battles and doubts, each as valid as the next. Thinking back to how my mindset with eyeliner was, I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come. Make-up is an art form that empowers me to be confident in my everyday life.
It feels so good to be back. I apologize for my absence, but I am trying to do better with my writing. Today, you won’t believe it, I woke up at 7am BY CHOICE and took control of my life. I did yoga, took a bath, painted my nails, laundry, research on pillows (which I am very much grossed out by and will not be using my pillows till I go out and buy new ones) and wrote this entire thing. I deserve every single gold star and a patch that says G I R L B O S S. Thank you very much, peace out.
Much love, Yasmeen