This is what I look like without makeup. Basically, what I look like on a daily basis since makeup and hair is a weekend thing. It reminds of a not-so-long ago when I avoided pictures like these –pictures in general –because I felt ugly.
Remember when you were ugly? When your ears were too big or your teeth all jumbly and out of place. Maybe you had a fivehead (instead of a fore). Or, perhaps it was your weight. You were frail-looking skinny or waaaaay-past pleasantly plump. You had an insignificant amount of boobs or so much boobage that everybody stared at you. Your hair with its inability to be presentable or well-mannered and the acne that punctuated the topography of your face.
Remember how uncomfortable it was just to exist? How your very skin was ill-fitting and improperly-sized and you would have paid any price, accepted any exchange in mental or athletic ability, to just look like someone else. Sometimes for fun you’d even calculate what plastic surgery would cost: how much you’d pay to remove that mole, how many months of allowance it would take to sculpt cheekbones out of a round face, or the amount of work you’d have to do to get yourself a decent chin. Remember when you would stare at your reflection for hours trying to find something redeeming about the face staring back at you? Or the time you just avoided mirrors altogether?
Remember the coping devices you developed? How you angled a certain way in pictures to hide the spreading birthmark around your eye or the witch bump on your nose. Or how you casually stopped smiling or eating to taking pictures to rid yourself of your particular ugliness. How you grew quiet and did your best impersonation of a wall so as to draw no one else’s attention. Remember the day you discovered that there was something called “coverup” for all that is wrong with your face? Or that day—the one you couldn’t pick out of a lineup – when you decided that every picture needed the dewy glow, and illumination that only filters provide?
I remember an ugly duckling phase that lasted for an uncomfortably long period of time. And I remember never believing anyone who gave me a compliment – especially if they used the words “pretty” or “beautiful”. I remember using my glasses with the coke-bottle lenses as a shield to cover my witch-like nose stuck awkwardly in an entirely too-dark face. And I remember that my personal journey to self-acceptance was mostly uphill.
I have no idea where you are on that journey. I hope that these are just memories from an awkward adolescence that is far behind you. But if they aren’t, then I will tell you something that I wish someone had told me a long time ago:
You look like you.
Exactly like the person you were lovingly crafted and designed to be. (weird nose and all)
You are perfectly and wonderfully made.
The only person good enough – and pretty enough
To star in the story of your life.
And you can spend the little time that you have here on earth
in an unwinnable civil war (marked by one enduring casualty)
Or you can accept the “flaws” – like fingerprints – that make you,
You don’t have to contort and tame yourself to fit into someone else’s standard
There is no one way to be beautiful.
Being yourself is enough.