An Artist Finds Their Medium

Make-up and beauty products are something that have always interested me but I always somehow felt like I needed to downplay it or hide it from people. I grew up in such a way that either you were ‘pretty’ or you were ‘smart’. I wanted to be seen as smart more than I wanted to be pretty so with that I felt like to be taken seriously I needed to front like make-up was something frivolous, something that I didn’t need, that it would look like I was hiding my features, that I’d be giving into the patriarchy, unrealistic beauty standards, all that jazz. Deep down inside I really wanted to play with some eye shadows but like I said; I wanted to be seen as smart. I wanted to be seen as capable, independent, strong. I was never taught that beauty on the outside and beauty on the inside could co-exist. I was told the exact opposite, even though I knew many people I considered beautiful and smart. I just didn’t feel like both was an option for me.

My heart wanted to explore it, though. My heart loved fashion, learning about beauty products, desired to learn more about make-up. I wanted to write about it, immerse myself in it, work in it. I dabbled here and there. I even did some modeling for a while, but modeling when I was thin was terrible for someone with my disordered eating. I just let life and that nagging notion that those things maybe just weren’t for me take over. Remember, I wanted to be seen as smart.

Fast forward about twenty years. I’m now 37 years old. I live in the age of social media and Instagram and beauty bloggers. I was at a real crossroads in my life after having been at my previous full time job for over a decade and having transitioned into being a stay at home mom. I’d given myself a year to just exist and be with my family and be with myself.

My time is different now, and with so much out there on social media I started looking stuff up. I started watching Instagram videos because I don’t have the patience for YouTube. I started looking up how to create a smoky eye, how to do winged eyeliner, how to fill in my brows. It became something that I looked forward to when everyone had gone to sleep or the kids were napping.

Then I started experimenting on my own face. My initial attempts weren’t awful but looking back I can see how much I have learned now. The biggest thing I felt was this sense of artist and creative freedom that I didn’t know I would feel. I felt like I was painting a canvas, but the canvas was was my face. I always thought I was terrible at art. My mother was a beautiful painter. My oldest son is an accomplished artist. I thought that passed me by somehow.

I then realized that my art manifested itself in make-up.

When I set out to start this blog, which I have been wanting to do for so long, I didn’t figure that the beauty aspect of it would play a huge role. I figured it would be a little of everything that is a part of my life, like fashion and momming and food. Beauty too, but I didn’t think it would become what it has to me. That the beauty aspect would mean to me what it has become, that it would become a passion of mine.

In my whole life, I have never felt more beautiful and more confident and a lot of that has to do with make-up.

Am I saying that I’m not beautiful without it? I’m not. Am I saying that everyone should wear it? No, not if you don’t want to. It isn’t even so much the act of wearing it that makes me feel that way as it is how it has fueled my creativity. How as I can feel my skills and knowledge growing, I can feel my confidence in myself and the desires of my heart burst wide open.

It makes me look back at that girl who wanted to be seen as smart and thought that smart and pretty couldn’t co-exist and give her a hug. People are so multi-dimensional. You can be so many different things all at once, if you just choose to believe you can.

Not all of us who wear make-up dislike our faces. Not all of us are doing it because we need to hide, or give into some ideal of society, or because we don’t feel comfortable in our skin. Not all of us are wearing make-up because we want to look younger, appeal to men, be someone we aren’t. I welcome age like a dear friend; there are too many times in my life where I wondered if I would make it so I’m all too excited to see the march of time in the strands of gray in my hair and the way my forehead crinkles up when I laugh.

I’m not here to tell you what to do with your face. I’m not here to tell you what to do with your body. I’m just here to share my own truth, and take from it what you will.

You can learn to love yourself just as you are and still want to rock a bold red lip.

You really can have it all.

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