I carry a small tube in my backpack every day. The product is made by Revlon. It’s called “Photoready: concealer.” The purpose of the product is to conceal blemishes and even out skin tone.
I apply it regularly. Almost obsessively.
I don’t want anyone to see my real face with all its blemishes, odd spots, and uneven tones.
I want to cover it up. I want to look beautiful. I want to feel picture perfect.
I’ve let myself fall for the lie: “You’re only beautiful if you look a certain way.”
When I was 15 years-old, I overheard a conversation between two adult family members.
“Have you shown Katie how to use make-up yet?”
“No, I haven’t even thought about it.”
“Well, it would certainly cover all that acne.”
A flame of red surged into my cheeks. I ran to the bathroom to examine myself in the mirror. All I saw was imperfection.
I’ve worn make-up ever since that day.
But in the last few years, I’ve started to stage a protest. Just in my own head. I’m revolting against the idea that I have to pile on “gluconate, magnesium aspartate, paraffin, copper glucate, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, dimethicone, isododecane,” and other various ingredients, on my skin to be beautiful.
That list up there? Actual list from Maybelline’s Superstay Better Skin foundation. I stopped typing because the list was too long of the ingredients.
And those contents?
All noted under “Drug Facts.”
I’ve been applying drugs to my face.
“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter,” said Cicero. The face holds expressions and reflects the meanings behind our words. The face represents our nature, ourselves, our souls. The face shows the world who I am.
So why am I desperately covering it up? Why am I buying into the idea that drugs will make it better? That without these products my face is ugly and worthless? Does the make-up help people see my true essence?
I remember when I first starting dating my now husband, I met up with him a few times without makeup. I wanted to see what his reaction would be. When I was a kid, I had heard a story about a pastor who wouldn’t let his wife go to sleep without make-up. She always had to “look good.”
Thomas didn’t say anything. Truly. It gave me another reason to fall in love with him.
I’m still in a process. I’m not completely ready to go to work without make-up. I’m not giving up my foundation, and eye shadow, and lip gloss. I don’t really think I ever will be; sometimes I just like the way I look with make-up. It’s the self-deprecating part of me that I’m trying to change. If I honestly believe that I am a created being, that the God of the universe has a good plan for me, that I’m destined to fulfill a purpose for me life, then I have to accept my face. Something bigger is going on. I’m more than just my skin. I have thoughts and plans and dreams and goals.
I’m trying to not cover up so much. I’m trying not to live behind the mask. I’m trying to be more genuine, more honest, and more vulnerable. Because at the end of the day, I’m still me, reflected through my face.
No drugs necessary.