Until I started working as a waitress I never wore make up regularly. I actually had a really difficult time applying make up. Growing up my grandma stressed that I didn't need to wear make up because I was beautiful without it, that I had gorgeous skin people would die for, that I only needed to wear it on special occasions to be fancy.
During that time I had no problem waking up in the morning and doing my hair, not doing my make up and finding no fault in how I looked. I had no problem thinking I was naturally beautiful. I always told myself that if I didn't feel pretty without make up, I wouldn't feel pretty with it, either. I went through all of high school and a year of college not wearing make up and not caring.
But then I started wearing make up. I started having to work an extra 15 -30 minutes into my routine to "put on my face" and it changed everything. I would like to pretend that starting to wear make up didn't change the way I perceived myself, but it totally did. And I know that some women wear make up to feel pretty, some women wear make up to enhance their beauty, and some just like the process of putting make up on. There is no fault in that. But I started wearing make up and suddenly I felt ugly without make up. I can pin point the moment when I changed the way I thought about how I looked with make up on, too.
Someone saw me on the street while I was walking to work, and after not seeing me for literally years their first comment was "ohmygosh you look so good...with make up on!" Their one comment killed my self confidence. And I know that is a lot of power to let one comment hold. But after going through 20 years of life believing I am beautiful without make up on, one person making it seem like I should wear make up 24/7 to continue looking pretty really just shatters all that work.
So I am fighting back. And again, with another lesson from my grandmother. Every morning when I don't put on make up and look back at the mirror, see my face, and get disappointed, I look myself straight in the eyes and say "I love you". Because to love someone, even yourself, is to love them (you) in spite of them (yourself). In spite of all the imperfections, the frizzy hairs, the pimples, the eyes that look so small without eyeliner, and in spite of the lack of self confidence I feel without make up now. Because believe it or not, I still get stopped on the street and told I'm pretty. Not often. But who goes out of their way to tell someone that they are good looking? One in a million people. But people still compliment my eyes, my smile, they tell me I'm kind for treating them well at the grocery store, on the street, and those are qualities worth loving.
And if the "I love you" trick doesn't work, I turn on Feeling Good by Micheal Buble and listen until I feel good. We shouldn't have to depend on things to make us feel gorgeous. I know we all do. But we are all beautiful in our own unique way. I have a friend who is seriously one of the most beautiful women I have ever met just because of the way she carries herself and her willingness to help anyone at any given moment. Beauty comes from your soul. Let's all try to remember that.
Alexis Olmstead is a part time waitress, and full time diva who strongly believes winged eyeliner will be her undoing. She is currently consuming too much coffee and trying to maintain her foothold on sanity. For more opinions and reflections (and a lot of ranting) check back often