I wake up, make a cup of coffee, have a shower, and get ready for my nine to five. It’s a normal working day; except it isn’t. It’s a working day in quarantine.
Being in quarantine has changed my routine in many interesting ways. One such way is that I no longer wear makeup daily. I’ve stopped spending each morning penciling my eyebrows a little darker, lengthening my lashes with mascara, or carving a cheekbone with my bronzer palette. Without spending my mornings subtly improving my face through makeup, I’ve learned to love my face as it is.
Coming to rely on makeup:
I’ve struggled with insecurities about my face for at least a decade. Like many teenagers, I had bad acne. But my struggle with acne followed me into my early twenties. While I wasn’t permitted to wear foundation as a high school student, I came to rely on it as a matter of necessity as an adult.
To add to my plethora of adolescent insecurities, I also developed insecurity surrounding my eyes. In high school, a friend told me my eyes were, “a four out of ten.” I proceeded to develop new insecurity: my eyes. So I started wearing mascara daily, with no exceptions. Although I’ve since come to love my eyes, I still seldom leave my home without mascara on my lashes.
Makeup became my tool for covering up my insecurities. Bronzer slimmed my chubby cheeks. Mascara made my eyes look bigger and brighter. Foundation covered my acne and acne scars. I only really liked my face when it had makeup on it, and on some days, even that didn’t do the trick.
I had become so used to what my face looked like with makeup on it, that I learned to dislike my face as it is, naturally.
The pursuit of enoughness:
Don’t get me wrong: I love makeup. It can empower the people who use it and I enjoy the artistry of it. But, I had become so used to what my face looked like with makeup on it, that I learned to dislike my face as it is, naturally. In quarantine, without wearing makeup daily, I don’t have my made-up face to compare my natural face to. I look in the mirror and I see myself. For the first time in a long time, the beauty of the person looking back at me is enough.
Enoughness is something I’ve been in pursuit of for most of my life. Much of the way that the world is represented to us through media and advertising is geared towards us feeling like we don’t have enough, and that we ourselves are not enough. I often reflect on how major corporations manufacture our insecurities to capitalize on them. Major cosmetic brand Maybelline is famous for its tagline, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” Taglines such as this perpetuate the idea that what you are born with is not enough. Forced to absorb this rhetoric, it’s easy to begin to believe these ideas of who is and isn’t “enough”.
Enoughness is something I’ve been in pursuit of for most of my life.
Unlearning beauty ideals, learning self-love:
While I’ve spent a lot of my adult life working to unlearn these ideals, that work takes time and is difficult. The work of unlearning beauty ideals that society has ingrained in us often involves deep introspection and a heck of a lot of reading. Imagine my surprise when quarantine (of all things!) helped me to unlearn some of the beauty ideals I’ve been working to overcome for at least a decade.
It’s a strange feeling for me to wake up, look in my mirror, and like what I see. It feels cheesy to articulate this feeling. Writing about self-acceptance often feels that way, but it shouldn’t. I deserve to feel that I am enough, as is. You deserve to feel enough. We deserve to feel enough.