Ever since middle school, make-up has been a big thing that practically every female has encountered. From having foundation that is too dark, to plucking nearly all your eyebrows off, we have all been through it -- the good and the bad.
However, time heals, and as time kept progressing we all mastered our skills in blending, contouring and winging our eyeliner. I have been wearing it for so long, and setting aside time every morning just to make sure it gets done. It was like a habit. I wouldn't dare go to high school without it, even if I was wearing a t-shirt and running shorts. I had it on regardless of how early I woke up. If it was 5AM for work or 6AM for school, it was on my face.
To give it some perspective, we will do some math. I started wearing makeup around age 14, and have been wearing it daily since 21. That is 7 years of getting used to a morning ritual, or even afternoon (if it was the weekend and I was able to sleep in). Regardless, I did not know a life without having something to cover my natural skin and eyelashes. I had grown so accustomed to having my "face" on that I was disgusted by the way I looked naturally. I would wipe my makeup off before I went to sleep, and feel terrible my make up was not permanently tattooed on my face. I would wash my face in the morning after I crawled out of bed and be disappointed with what I saw.
The pimples, the uneven tone, the dark circles, my imperfect eyebrows -- the list goes on. I was not comfortable, and the only way to solve it was to cover it up and pretend it was not there. It was a tough battle to deal with. Eventually, having a natural radiant face was back in and was praised. I was not on board right away and had to ease my way in.
I started to just cut it out of my morning ritual this summer. I began to only put moisturizer on my face to prevent it from getting dry. As I got more sleep the dark circles disappeared. I wasn't wearing something that prevented my skin from breathing, and the pimples never showed up. I began getting compliments that my skin is so clear and I'm lucky. I haven't worn it in so long that it now feels like my natural face. I don't have to prevent myself from rubbing my eyes, and I don't have to watch for my clothes to get make-up rubbed off on them.
I felt a little free when I stopped. I don't want to say fully free, because I think that might give make-up too much credit for making me who I present myself to be. I felt just enough freedom that I didn't have to worry who would see me without it, and if they would think I'm uglier. I didn't worry how others would react, because that is my actual face, and not the one that is covered.
I am comfortable in my skin. I should have felt comfortable with it to begin with, but make-up for me was only used to hide my insecurities. I know others may use it because they express themselves through it, and for many other reasons, but not for me. It was a way to make myself feel better. I wanted to look pretty, and I wanted to hide what was wrong with my face and what I was not comfortable with. As I let go and experienced a few weeks without it, I began to not feel like others were disgusted or interacted with me any differently.
Of course, I love the occasional "going out make-up with a cute outfit," but it's nice to not worry about it. I am able to wake up and not be uncomfortable by something I can't change. I'm happy with what I see, and that is something that took me too long to realize.