So, I'm going to be real for a second here. There have been times where I have straight-up HATED my reflection when I looked in the mirror. And I don't mean the typical, "I have a zit that looks huge and utterly ginormous" kind of hating my reflection. I mean the "tears running down my face" "oh dear lord why am I so freaking ugly?" kind of hate.

A lot of this comes from the fact that I spent the past three years in an on and off abusive relationship. No, I don't blame my abuser for my low sense of self-worth. That one is on me. In a previous article of mine, I had mentioned that I feel strongly that true self-care and self-love both stem from the ability to take accountability for your feelings—both good and bad. What does my own personal story of being abused have to do with that? Literally everything.

A good part of the reason why I, (more or less), stayed with this man was because of the fact that I truly believed that no one else would ever or could ever love me and that I deserved to be stuck somewhere with someone who was vastly incapable of giving me the type of love that I needed. I had to learn that abuse is not love. Let me repeat that: abuse is not love.

So, how does a simple tube of red lipstick tie into all of this? Well, one day, I decided that living my life in a cloud of constant self-doubt and self-deprecation was absolutely not the life I wanted to live.

I was running errands for my parents, and I had driven to our local pharmacy. As I was waiting for my name to be called for pickup, I happened to peruse the makeup aisle. I then found this killer shade of gorgeous ruby red lipstick. I bought that shade on a whim, and it changed my outlook on myself.

Every day, I started wearing that shade of lipstick. And to my pleasant surprise, I found that the shade I picked accented my cheekbones, brought out the color in my naturally blonde hair, and highlighted the twinkly green of my eyes.

Slowly, I started piecing together small fractals of self-confidence and self-worth. Then, my abusive ex-boyfriend and I had our final, dramatic, "balls to the wall" fight, it's like I flipped a switch inside my soul and realized that he was not and is not the right person for me, nor I for him. Love shouldn't destroy you. Throughout the first month of us finally being out of each other's lives for good, he would sporadically try to contact me, and I him, and it culminated in this dramatic event (that I still don't know if what he told me was actually real), but I had had enough.

Do I regret telling him that I wish I had left everything between us at a simple hello? Yes and no. Yes, because that was probably a harsh and terse way to phrase the myriad of emotions that I was dealing with at the time. No, because walking away from that man, and putting on that ruby red lipstick gave me enough confidence and self-worth to be able to proudly look myself in the mirror. Because I found that red lipstick, I found my self-worth.