The concept of beauty has recently become a bit of a trial for me. I've never been happy with the way I look (not helped by years of bullying) and have always struggled in seeing my beauty - even though I am always seeing it in others. Whilst at uni I always felt I could never compete with the other girls on my course so I took on the role of 'intelligent-girl-who-makes-people-laugh-so-they-think-she-doesn't-care-she-looks-shit'. Even today I take this approach.
I generally don't wear make up, mostly because I can't be bothered with the daily tedium and also because I have very sensitive skin so don't want to aggravate it more than necessary. However, whenever I am going to see certain people, want to impress or know people will be looking at me and judging me I wear make up. It's kind of a mask for me - in two ways. Firstly it hides the features I want to conceal and then secondly, rather ironically, it gives me a painted face of confidence. My boyfriend has always made a point of saying I don't have to wear make up for him and I love him for that but part of me still thinks I do.
A moment of revelation sort of came in my last job. I was working in a predominantly male office and was waking up at stupid o'clock every morning to put on my make up and make myself 'presentable'. One morning, when I was sat in the office yawning and wishing I'd had half an hour more sleep, I looked around the office and it struck me. These guys didn't have to paint on a different face every morning, they could just get up, maybe shave, wash and go. They didn't feel an obligation to make their face more easy on the eyes so why should I. So, from that day forward, if I did wear make up it was minimal and I would put it on at work. There was some exceptions but the benefits were endless. I got more sleep, I didn't have to worry about smudging my face or putting too much foundation on, my spots decreased and I felt more like myself than I had ever felt. This had a bit of an unexpected knock on effect in that I realised that I was not being myself in that job and did ultimately add to my desire to leave but that's another story.
Today, while trawling YouTube for cats, I came across this video as an advert before my video started. Usually I skip them but this time I kept watching. And I am glad I did. It has reminded me that it doesn't matter what you look like, so long as you know that you are, in your own special way, beautiful. Whether it's the twinkle in your eyes when you smile, the unique freckles on your cheeks, your petite button nose, the colour of your hair, the shape of your face or the way you make someone happy with just a look. We have so many ideas of beauty shoved at us from such an early age (Disney, I am looking at you) that the last thing we need is to be shoving these destructive ideas at ourselves. I, like so many other women, am not going to suddenly think I am beautiful, but videos like this (even if they are adverts) are little nudges towards the truth - we are never as ugly as we think we are.