“It’s a shame really it’s taken something life-changing to happen for me to realize what’s important and what really matters in life. At the same time, it really highlights to me how important it is to be surrounded by people who build you up, not tear you down.
From a young age, I was conditioned to believe unless you had your full face of make-up on, you weren’t worthy. You weren’t worthy of love, you weren’t worthy of keeping a relationship, you weren’t worthy of a job promotion, you won’t worthy as a person, full stop.
I believed people judge you all the time. I thought if anyone saw me ‘au natural,’ they would immediately think I was rough, ugly, and not good enough. I was so insecure if someone popped over and I didn’t have my makeup on. I would struggle to engage in a conversation with them, as I’d be sat there convinced they were judging me and telling themselves how ugly I am. I’d wind myself up so much I’d go bright red, feel physically sick, and want to throw up. All because my lashes weren’t 6 inches long, and my skin didn’t appear ‘flawless.’ I believed it defined who I am.
Now someone doesn’t grow up with these beliefs and insecurities about themselves naturally. This happens after years of negative influences and comments just slowly being dropped into their mind by people they trusted and who were meant to care.
The end product? A superficial, insecure human mess whose real reason she couldn’t hold down a relationship properly was because she was so insecure within herself, not because her then-boyfriend saw her without make-up.
But then my circle changed. I moved in with my best friend and family, and all of a sudden, I wasn’t told I wasn’t ugly without make-up. I was questioned why I didn’t feel good enough without it. They would say, ‘You don’t need to spend so long doing it, you’re perfectly fine as you are.’ All of a sudden, I was getting compliments without my makeup on. ‘It’s nice to not see you all done up. It’s nice to see the real you.’
Of course, I didn’t believe them. You can’t undo years of negative self-image overnight. But you can start to slowly chip away at it so the demon voice in your head becomes quieter. The same way you’re told negative things and believe them, if you’re told enough positive things, you won’t believe them straight away, but over time, your thoughts will start to change. It’s a shame our brains naturally hold and react to negative emotions and dismiss the positive ones. But if the negative emotions start to reduce, it will have less to react to and no choice but to listen to the positive.
But sitting here in this hospital bed, I realize a lot of things. I realize time spent with your family on a walk is 1000x more important than spending time trying to perfect your eyeliner. I realize me running in the sea and letting the water splash all over my face is a feeling of freedom and memories I was too scared to create, but is something I can’t wait to do now.
I realize that 95% of people don’t judge you on your looks and don’t even give it a second thought. Most people wouldn’t even think that way. And if they do, then it says more about them and how shallow a person they are and you don’t need them in your life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love doing make-up and see it as quite artistic. I love experimenting with different colors and looks. There’s nothing wrong with this if you do it for the right reasons—if you do it for YOU. We all need a little boost from time to time and to feel pampered like a Queen!
But a good question to ask yourself is when the fake tan fades, the false lashes come unstuck, and the blusher is wiped away—what’s left? No amount of makeup will make you sparkle, no amount of makeup can disguise an ugly heart, and no amount of makeup will heal the past and change how you see yourself long-term.
The girl on the left was happy and the girl on the right felt glam, but the girl in the middle is having to be the strongest and most courageous she has ever been. The girl in the middle is having to confront every demon, every insecurity and release the past and let go or risk never truly getting better.
The girl in the middle is learning how to become a true fighter and still treat others with kindness, as well as herself. The girl in the middle is taking on more than she ever felt capable of. The girl in the middle is the most authentic and is finally learning what it really means to be happy with yourself. And that is true beauty.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by The Blondie Northerner of Northwest England. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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