Most women are not comfortable in their own skin. The media is readily targeted as the most devious culprit in this matter, but I have learned that it is within a woman’s vain imagination that she is likely to find the root cause of her lack of self-confidence. If she is honest, she will admit that more often than not, she is her own worst enemy. Well, I’ll admit it as a part of my past and happily announce that I have become my own acquired taste.
Until last week, only three men had ever seen me without make-up: my father, my son, and a friend who caught me in a Wal-Mart trying to replace a coffee pot in the middle of the night (I tried to hide from him). I managed dating and two long term relationships staying one step ahead of ever being seen without my “face” on. I even warned my best friend that if I were ever in a coma and was awaken to find that I had been allowed to convalesce without at minimum my foundation, blush, lipstick and mascara, my subsequent ire would find her as my ex best friend.
A combination of residual self-consciousness thanks to my days as an acne-prone teenager, an ongoing battle with adult acne, as well as a poor rendering and interpretation of the mythical “Proverbs 31 Woman” during my days as an active church member held me hostage to the mask I thought I had to wear. I believed that I was more exposed without makeup than without clothing. And the paint covered up so much more than my bare face.
As comfortable as I had been with my face painting ritual, I knew that one day I would have to put down the brushes, sponges and cotton balls and face my bare, naked self; and allow someone else to do the same. I did not know when this great reckoning would occur, but I knew that the motivator of this “face-off” would have to be the mate to my soul—the one who could do what no one had done before: take me by the heart and by the hand, and seeing beauty in my perceived exposure, pull me out of the web of my self-consciousness.
Last week I presented myself sans make-up. To my surprise, the request triggered more reflection than anxiety. My acquiescence gave me a new measure of freedom as its inheritance. My own beauty has been confirmed from within. I now possess the gifts of bare passion and great courage.
This emancipation lacks the power to coax me into a permanent state of “make-up commando”. I remain committed to the notion that “every house can stand a coat of paint”. Besides, I love playing in make-up and I want to look my best at all times. It does, however, mean that love and liberty have replaced an unnecessary, self-inflicted burden.
I wish the same for my sister-readers.