I Didn't Wear Makeup For 365 Days And Faced The World With A Naked Face

I Didn't Wear Makeup For 365 Days And Faced The World With A Naked Face

So shine on, whether that's with a little mascara or your beautiful natural lashes.
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For me, makeup was never something that I found to be overly important. When I was younger, probably in middle school, my days were full of electric blue eyeliner and a whole lot of teenage angst. As I grew, however, I didn't lean so much in makeup defining my looks and how I felt about myself as a person. I found that I had been allowing makeup to be a sense of worth for me.

I found myself thinking that I was less than when I didn't wear it, so just like that, I cut it off.

I stopped wearing it cold and really don't even remember many comments being made about it. During this point in time, I found myself receiving compliments that were exceedingly unique. I was complimented on things like the complexion of my skin of the arch of my eyebrows. The comments were a lot more specific to natural features I had.

Now, as an everyday makeup-wearer, I receive ones like "nice eyeliner! I like the wings you did today." The compliments I received while wearing makeup were about my makeup as opposed to the compliments I received on my actual features when I did not wear it.

When wearing makeup, I did feel different. I hear this said all the time by makeup wearers all around the world, however, after not wearing makeup for a year and a half, I had forgotten what the sensation of wearing it even was. I did not necessarily feel more confident when I wore makeup, I occasionally felt more awake or more put together, but overall the only thing I noticed feeling more of was more inconvenienced. "I want to be able to rub my eyes and not have dramatic black streaks across my face." I told my friend. I wanted to live a life that was a bit barer.

A life that is barer is quite different from one that is not. I did have boyfriends during this time and being a bisexual woman, I had girlfriends as well. As cheesy as this line has been given time and time again, who I was inside was truly what they felt attraction to. I never really got complimented on my looks by partners, but that never really bothered me.

Not wearing makeup often times was a lot bolder of a statement than actually wearing it. It would seem dramatic smokey eyes, thick black liner, and ruby red lips would be a much bigger statement than a bare face, however, I found my natural look to be something that people often took as a lot more of a shock. When someone saw my face and realized it was free of makeup things like, "Oh, it's because you're feminist" or "Wow, you're so brave."

This always baffled me. I didn't choose not to wear makeup because I am a feminist. It was because I could sleep in 20 extra minutes in the morning, because I could roll out of bed and go to class, and because I was simply comfortable in the person I was without it. The comments and compliments that I received during this period of time were a lot more backhanded. "You're so pretty, but I would love to give you a makeover," or "You've got great eyebrows, you should let me fill them in." I received comment after comment pretty much reassuring me that there was potential here if I just took the time to do it right.

It seemed to me like every person was telling me I wasn't hideous, but I could do a lot better and this suggestion of a makeover was there nice little nudge in telling me so. I never quite knew how to take this comment. I would always just sort of nod and say, "Oh...well thanks. We'll have to go and do that some time." I knew what the words behind their words were. I was capable of reading in between the lines. I wasn't ugly and there was certainly potential, but you can do better seemed to be the overarching theme of every comment.

The part I did find the funniest about all of this was that an a massive statement of feminism couldn't have be further from the reason from my bare face. Yes, I am a feminist, but I do not line my lower lashes in the name of feminism or refuse to do a smokey eye in order to smash the patriarchy. The reasons were all exceedingly practical. I liked to sleep and I liked to wipe my eyes without a gallon on liquid eyeliner coming off on my fingers. I want to be able to swim or cry without worry of my master piece being ruined.

I now wear makeup again. I started back a few months ago and though I swore I would never let it become such, it has transformed into a chore for me. I do it out of a sense of routine and obligation as opposed to any sort of artistic choice or confidence enhancer. My compliments have returned to ones that are based around my makeup as opposed to ones about specific, individual features of my face. I don't feel offended either way, but that doesn't mean I haven't realized the shift.

I believe that woman should do what makes them the most comfortable whether that is full face makeup, bare-faced, or somewhere in between. I do feel slightly different when I am wearing it to when I am not, however, the one thing I find to be the most important is that I am still me. I was Lizzie Bowen yesterday, Lizzie Bowen the day before that, and I will be her tomorrow. So shine on, whether that's with a little mascara or your beautiful natural lashes.

Cover Image Credit: littledebbie11 / Flickr

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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