This post was submitted anonymously.
My relationship with makeup and skincare has always been a very freeing, empowering one. However, I can never pinpoint the exact time I actually developed this strange, yet uplifting dynamic. But for the longest time ever, I have suspected that it was directly related to my weight.
(I ain’t gon’ lie. I’m a big girl. I’ve always been. Even when I lost weight I was still considered ‘plump’, ‘fleshy’ or ‘curvy’.)
I’m sure you’d be rolling your eyes thinking: of course it relates to self-esteem; it’s why women put on makeup in the first place.
No, you see, I refuse to let that relationship be cheapened because of that notion. I refuse to let anyone undermine my efforts all these years to look good, just to boil it down to the simple factor of ‘she doesn’t feel like she’s good enough’.
The meat of the matter is, my face is, and will always be, perhaps, my crown. Not my hair, not my body – especially not my body – but my face.
Yes, I’ve been so used to the compliments ‘Hey, you’ve got such a pretty face’, or ‘your face is hot’, or ‘you’re so damned pretty’. I know that within these words lie the subliminal messaging of ‘you’d be the perfect package if your body was too, though’.
I’ve felt that pressure for more than ten years now, and even as I age towards my 30s, it never truly goes away. Yes, I do fantasise about being skinny. Yes, I do dream of fitting into that two-piece bikini and posting about it all over my Instagram. Yes. I’m only human.
Except… I can’t make that fantasy a reality. I work a 9am to 9pm job, and sometimes weekends, sometimes public holidays, and that leaves no room for me to actually hit the gym. Or exercise. By the time I get home, I’m dead ass tired and all I want to do is watch some mindless cartoons.
I do try to eat healthy. I really do. That’s the best I can do, aside from the occasional running or cycling when I (rarely) have the time.
The point is… I make up for it. I make up for it with makeup. WOOOAAH, #philosophical #bestquoteever #rapping #rhyming.
But it’s a reality. I can’t lose so much weight, especially if it means sacrificing so much of my ‘me’ time, ‘office’ time, or ‘fun’ time. I will fluctuate a kilo or two sometimes but never so much that it would be so evident in the eyes of other people that see me so much. They may occasionally say “hey, you put on weight, eh?” or “you’re looking thinner”, but they have never said that I looked like shit. Never.
I am always pretty. Always perfect on the face. Never slipped up on my makeup game, or my skincare regime. I’m proud of that.
However, sometimes, like most things, it can get quite toxic.
After all, obsessing over your looks is one thing, but to use it as an escape from a bigger problem (according to the masses), is altogether a different thing. What would you do if your biggest, glorifying factor, was at risk?
I remember a time I got so stressed out at work, I started breaking out. That’s saying something because I have never broken out ever since I was like, 12? So that was really a huge deal for me.
Naturally, I got exponentially depressed once I saw a smattering of pimples on my face – marring my otherwise clear canvas. What do I do now? What could I possibly do to save myself, and my self-esteem?
Without my ‘perfect’ face, what else is there to me now? Never mind that I excel at my job, never mind that I am a good friend, a good pet owner, a good lover or anything for that matter … what would society think I have to offer?
God, even writing that sounded pathetic, but that is indeed the reality. My reality.
It’s been ingrained in me for so long, and as early as I hit puberty and starting putting on weight that, well, some things have to be maintained. Weight must be maintained. Skin must be maintained.
For me, I couldn’t have both so I had to naturally pick the easier one. I can’t lose weight for nuts, but I can ensure that my skin remained in pristine condition. Until now.
But yes, back to the issue. I freaked out and felt very low once that breakout happened. It was one of the worst I have ever experienced, and naturally … nothing was worth it to me anymore. I kept going to the drugstore to purchase all kinds of medicated balms to cure my face, to fix it in like, 3 days max so I can go back to my perceived state of confidence and self-loving because I know my face is looking great.
That didn’t quite work out because, well, my skin was going through the motions as were my stress levels and the fact that my skin was in that state only made me even more stressed. So you can imagine how that went.
It took months for me to recover my ‘old’ skin, or maybe my ‘new’ skin. Then, I felt my best again. I felt great. I felt like nothing would conquer me. I was at the top of my game – am, at the top of my game.
The question I keep asking myself is … will I continue to bank on my face, for the rest of my life, just because society deems it’s right? Will I continue to pretend that I am alright, just ticking one box off the ‘perfect girl of society’ – and leave the ‘fit’ box unchecked for always? I fear the day I truly start to see the signs of ageing. For now, I try not to think about it too much. But the future is inevitable, and so are the laws of gravity and age.
I realise that this is indeed a problem, although I’m not entirely sure whether it is a bigger problem for me, or a bigger problem for society.
The point is … I don’t think I would be able to fix this predicament of mine. It may seem like I am gaining a shit ton of weight at times, or losing them during others, but you know what?
At least I’m ‘pretty’.
At least, there’s that.
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Cover photo courtesy of Pexels.