My four years in a private all girls high school were some of the best years of my life, despite a lot of the obstacles I overcame. One obstacle I never struggled through was the lack of self-confidence.
In my younger years, I went to the same K-8 private school for nine years. During that time I had boys tell me I was ugly and I was in a constant state of comparison to the other girls. We all had to wear the same unflattering plaid skirt, yet somehow I felt so many lightyears behind the other girls. I believed every taunt those bratty prepubescent boys threw my way. I still remember one boy who made fun of me for not wearing makeup like the other girls, and when I finally convinced my mom to let me wear it, he made fun of me again.
As I transitioned into high school, something clicked inside of me. Maybe it was the lack of boys in class, or just the realization that I was finally out of the prison I’d been stuck in for nine years. All throughout high school my makeup skills became more developed and I began to wear more and more of it, even though I didn’t really need it. It was never a matter of self-confidence that made me put on so much makeup. It was something I was good at, and it made me feel more comfortable in my skin. There were plenty of times in high school that I didn’t wear makeup. There was no huge battle there, but I always did feel a bit uneasy walking through the glass doors of my all girls school without a stitch of makeup on.
Now that I look back on that experience, I realize that maybe I liked wearing makeup so much because there were no boys around. Anyone in their right mind knows that girls wear makeup for other girls, not for guys. It wasn’t until after I realized this that I was struck with just how stupid that concept is.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against girls who wear makeup. This is in no way a makeup shaming article. I have a lot of respect for girls who put on makeup because they like the way it makes them look, and they don’t give a crap what other people think. From a personal standpoint, it just seemed wrong to be wearing it to assert my “dominance” over other females.
(First image: Normal, everyday makeup look my first year of college...plus the dog Snapchat filter. Second image: Normal, everyday makeup now.)
About a year ago, I started my first year of college at Texas Christian University. For those of you unfamiliar with TCU, or the south, the girls there are long-haired pristinely made-up beauties. Going into TCU, I felt the lowest self-confidence I ever had. It only got worse with the more people I met. I let my envy of girls get in the way of making friendships, and I also let my own self-image plummet. With every plunge in my self-esteem, I added another swipe of mascara or more globs of foundation.
Now, months into the summer and a few weeks away from starting my second year of college, I feel more confident than ever. It took a break up and a newfound success at a summer job to pull me out of the rut that my low self-esteem had put me in. It was then that I had the realization: my confidence didn’t have to come from a Sephora bag. This summer has been the most successful one of my life, and it had nothing to do with looking flawless.
So, I took the leap and stopped wearing makeup. OK, so it wasn’t cold turkey. I still splash on some concealer and a bit of mascara before I run out the door, but it’s nothing close to what I used to put on every day. I’ll definitely still take a couple days out of a month to doll myself up if the occasion arises, but it won’t be because my self-confidence is lacking. I still look in the mirror and think the same things about my face, but now I can see my freckles, and the little bit of natural red cheek my family is known for. I’m proud of who I am, and where I am in my life right now, and not one bit of that has to do with makeup. And I freaking love that.