College is where I learned how to look pretty.
Well, America’s version of pretty.
It’s where I learned how to put makeup on and curl my hair for hours until I had perfect beach waves to match by fake sun-kissed skin. Until then, I never wore makeup and hardly knew how to do my hair. I never really even thought about it, until I met my roommate.
She was a cutie. Wait, let me rephrase that—she was a hottie. People actually called her J-hottie, because she was always adorable. And, funny enough, she really didn’t wear that much makeup. She didn’t have to—she was a natural beauty.
She loved making other people feel beautiful though. It’s no surprise she became a super-talented makeup artist and owner of a fun, affordable makeup line called GlamourDolls. Before we went out, we would all hang out in her room singing, dancing, drinking and painting ourselves.
It was more than just makeup—it was a bonding experience.
J-hottie taught me everything I know about glam. We used to trade talents. I would write her papers for her and she would buy me MAC everything and teach me how to use it to get my now husband’s attention.
She showed me the magic of makeup.
I remember the first time she ever did my face. I posted a picture with a caption “The magic of MAC”, because I was shocked at my transition. She said, “You’re a pretty girl but in a dark room those eyes don’t stand a chance next to the girls who are rocking their smokey eyes and lashes.” She was so right.
I am beyond grateful for her countless glam life lessons. She taught me how to make myself feel and look different and showed me how to transform others too. Sometimes it’s fun to feel like a celebrity—and even more fun to make others feel like one too.
We all felt so beautiful.
A lot of girls forget, I was just naïve to what a beautiful façade the media is. It’s truly nothing more than a stage and everyone on it is acting. “No Beyonce, you most certainly did not wake up like that. Yes, you are gorgeous when you wake up, but please don’t sit here and tell me that your eye makeup didn’t smudge at all while you snuggled Jay, ok?”
Most of us have seen how unrecognizable celebrities look without makeup on. Still gorgeous, natural beauties—but unrecognizable, nonetheless.
But somewhere along the way, I took it too far.
I went from never wearing makeup, to wearing it almost every day. I didn’t realize how dependant I was on my visual transformation until one day I went into work without anything on my face and almost everyone asked me if I was really tired or, even worse, “What’s wrong?”
But that didn’t stop me. I didn’t realize that I had taken it too far until after I had babies and my dependency on “pretty”—unnatural hair, nails and skin—grew. I felt insecure about my body. I would use makeup as a crutch.
Rather than see myself as a new, improved version of the old, I compared my new body to my old one. I was never going to be exactly the same and I thought I would never measure up to the celebrity status I once felt. Instead, I felt plain, ordinary and sometimes even ugly. I began to be unfair to myself and others.
I thought I needed to spend money and time in front of a mirror in order to feel ready to go places. I found myself focusing on my hair, my makeup and what I was going to wear, more than the new beautiful, important things and people around me.
Makeup and weaves can be addictive if you abuse them—like any drug. That is when I decided that while celebrity status is nice, less will always be more.
I promise it’s true. I promise no one has to try so hard.
Life is really quite simple. So simple, sometimes it feels surreal.
Everyone is beautiful—crazy fucking beautiful.
Our DNA alone makes us all one of a kind in this world. Our lights shine brighter than any of us realize. It’s really quite simple. Less is more.
We don’t have try so hard. We’re allowed to be ourselves, unapologetically. We all should walk around barefoot, forget to brush our hair, wear whatever we want and eat whatever makes our heart smile. Who the fuck even cares?
All of the “important” and oh so useless stuff we do to fit in this world is nothing but surface bullshit. Its reality only holds weight if we allow it to. We hold the magic. We have everything we will ever need. We have the ability to say enough is enough.
Enough staring at ourselves in the mirror. Enough spending our money to chemically treat our bodies and our hair. Enough wasting time doing what we think we need to do instead of doing what we really want to do.
Ladies, let’s put down our makeup brushes, let’s wash out our perfect blowouts and let’s eat some chocolate. Life is meant to be delicious. Learn that less is always more—except when it comes to chocolate.
I decided to stop.
I decided not to dye my hair, paint my nails or give a shit about my outside appearance anymore. I decided to focus on my insides. Guess what? Our outside reflects our insides. Once I began focusing on what really mattered on the inside, everything I wanted on the outside started to fall into place.
I am a Gemini. I enjoy experiencing both extremes before I attempt to find a comfortable place to rest somewhere in the middle of every situation. I used to pile the makeup on—now I forget to brush my hair.
You don’t have to be like me.
I don’t want you to ever be like me. You are you.
Please realize how special you are to be you. You are beautiful—crazy fucking beautiful.
A scale or a mirror cannot measure our beauty. Beauty is a feeling deep inside of our hearts that beats true just for us. Its light can be seen by those around us, only once we have recognized its strength.
Remember that less is more. Remember that how we feel is how others will perceive us. Remember that we are a reflection of our accepted thoughts. Remember that we don’t need fake nails, an expensive weave or that name-brand purse to feel beautiful.
They are only Band-Aids that cover our wounds—they can’t ever heal them. There comes a time when every Band-Aid will need to be ripped off and our wounds will still burn if we haven’t addressed them properly.
All we really need is love for ourselves. When we love who we are, unapologetically, others will recognize our beauty and, like bugs, be attracted to our bright light.
Embrace needing nothing. Enjoy having some things.
We must love who we are and focus on who we are becoming. We must let go of who we were and who we think we should be. We don’t have to try so hard, but we are allowed to try if we want to.
Less really is much more than any of us will ever need—except, of course, if we are talking about balance. Then, more is definitely what we’re after.
Author: Jennifer Martin
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Renee Jahnke
Photo: Author’s Own