~ honest. sincere. embarrassing. funny. with a healthy dose of sarcasm. ~

Tuesday, January 23

In the eye of the beholder....

A recent disturbance in my make-up regimen has caused me to examine myself closely. A few weeks ago, I came upstairs to find that my make-up bag had fallen (I'd like to believe with no help) into the toilet.
The immediate panic that followed should have been "Oh my God that's going to be expensive to replace...."
But instead I thought "Oh my God I have no make-up to wear out to get my new make-up!" ....followed by "Wow, I have more makeup than I thought I did! (and wait for it.....wait for it....) That's going to be expensive!"

While I was at the store replacing the drowned items I picked up one of the pieces that I thought I couldn't live without - and put it back down because of the horrific price. And I began thinking -- when did I start believing that these were all necessities? When did I become one of those women who couldn't leave the house without make-up on?

Let me just clarify that I am really not that bad. I know some women who need an hour every morning - before they will even set foot outside. There are still mornings that I drop Tim off at school with my PJ's on, unbrushed hair and not a touch of make-up. But that's only because I know that tinted windows and a child who can get out of the car by himself are my protection. And on the days where I am that bad - I still have it down to a good 15-20 minute science.
But still, Garnet frequently reminds me of the time in my life when we were dating, when I wasn't even remotely close to how I am now. (Mind you, he usually does the reminding when we are in a hurry, running late and I'm just putting the last touches on...and he's like "enough with the make-up and blow dryer already!!")

Nevertheless, there was a time.

In highschool I had a severe addiction to lip gloss. But besides that - and a few brushes of mascara - I really didn't wear make-up. I didn't have the slightest clue what foundation was - and couldn't understand why you would want to cake your face with it. Tweezers were non-existent (I couldn't understand why someone would go through that much pain for eyebrows) and I never even tried the balancing act of a blow dryer in one hand with a brush in the other. I was make-up and beauty rule clueless. I have never been a morning person and 80% of those high school mornings I ran out the door with wet, unbrushed hair. (No, really, I did -- and it gets worse) I would sit in the seat on the bus that had a heater in it so I could thaw my hair out on winter mornings. That was great for the flat, frizzy, static look I was going for. Totally.

It was ok, though, because I had the "I don't care" outfits to match. I would spend my hard earned babysitting money on Cotton Ginny comfy pants and Northern Reflections over sized shirts. I ran around in sock feet cause I hated shoes and chose clogs when I couldn't be shoeless. I even had a great lumberjack jacket that I thought was the coolest. (see picture) Wow, I was really rockin' the style.
(we're sleeping because we thought we could stay up and watch the sunrise at ABK)

Fast forward a few years after my pregnancy, when a bout of post-partum and a few extra pounds made me freakishly aware of my reflection in the mirror.
(my driver's license picture from 6 years ago and Garnet and I in the early months of marriage and parenthood ;)

I remember breaking down in Garnet's arms saying how ugly I felt. That day we went shopping, that day I threw away my oversized sweatpants and sweatshirts that I had lived in throughout my pregnancy and bought some nice clothes. I looked at my butt in a pair of jeans and was like "girl, you got back" (I'm just kidding, I'm not that cheesy) but point is - I liked what I saw. I reintroduced myself to lip gloss and mascara and started experimenting with other make-up stuff that I used to be afraid of. I bought a pair of tweezers and found out that I actually had 2 eyebrows! And before long it was nothing for me to spend $100 getting my hair highlighted and $20 here or there on make-up. I joined a gym, lost 60 pounds and thought I was the shit.
(Garnet and after 5 years of marriage and parenthood)

But I have a wonderful encouraging husband, who would always tell me I look the best when I roll out of bed in the morning, hair a mess and half awake. When I'm having a fat day and he tells me my rolls that I'm complaining about are all in the right spot, and he doesn't see a difference between now and a year ago when I was at the weight I thought I should be at.

And I start to wonder - do I really feel better about myself now, than when I was a 16 year old running around with wet unbrushed hair? I have insecurities now - just like when I was that care free teenager. I wanted people to think I was beautiful then, I wanted people to like me then - just like I do now. I had the same and always will have the same insecurities about my body, I will always be severely more aware of that zit on my face than anyone else who's looking at me, I will always know when those jeans are a little tighter than they were last month. That's part of living. That's part of being a woman. And make-up and well-placed hair are not what help me with those struggles everyday - and they never will. We are constantly bombarded by air brushed, soulless sticks who tell us that we are nothing unless we are a size 2 - we are not beautiful until we wear this lipstick. There is nothing wrong with enhancing our beauty - but it gets to a point where we're taught to cover up ourselves while aspiring to look like these empty models. I think I'm beautiful - most days - but I will never look like the plastic women that we are taught is 'beautiful'. They don't sell air brushing in the make-up isle, and because I actually eat I'll never be a size 2. And that's ok.

(the kind of painting my face that always makes me feel beautiful ;)

After some school work this morning at home - I jumped in the shower at 10:35. I was dressed, had a few dabs of mosturizer, a little blush, some mascara and lip gloss, hair brushed and out the door by 10:45. I gave my reflection a little nod and a smile when I caught myself thawing my hair by the vents. I bucked the system, I didn't need the layers of 'beauty' and surprisingly, I still felt beautiful.


code said...


^ captures the heart of it.

I suspect, if asked, most guys would agree that most girls look far better with far less makeup than they insist on wearing. By far. Farly.

Jessi said...

yes i posted a link for that way back in october -- i loved it!


'most guys' should speak up then!! and relieve the pressure on girls...

code said...


Girls: Almost all of you, without exception, look MUCH better with MUCH LESS makeup on than you usually wear.

"Most guys" have spoken. Rawr.

Charity said...

I was right there with you in the lumberjack jacket and comfy pants stage...and we matched. Plaid pj pants and an oversized hoodie and we were ready. You so eloquently captured the struggle! Since when do I need make-up to go to the gym or buy groceries?

Jessi said...

thank you jer, you're going to start a revolution ;)

Thanks Charity, we did both rock the grunge style awesomeness didn't we? ;) i should find some pictures of you....hehe