Well? What is it for you?
The perfect selfie?
I never really cared about my appearance until I was about thirteen. I had just started crushing on guys and wondering why I didn’t look like most of the other girls I saw. So I started blow-drying my hair, trying to pick out clothes that matched, earrings that weren’t just “fun”, and generally asked my mom if I looked okay every time I went to church or another place.
Each Monday I had Model United Nations class. It was my only out-of-the-house activity, and I spent ages getting just the right outfit that would hopefully allow me to be on the same level as another girl. I wore weird things, cute things, ugly things, and stuff that generally kept me looking like a twelve-year-old playing dress up for the next four and a half years. I got comments like this:
Are you waiting for a flood? Your jeanss are too short.
Really? You look so much younger than the age you just told me!
I was uncomfortable when I wore nice clothes because they didn’t always fit right (I ignored that in the store and then wore the outfit once, never to be touched again because it was so uncomfortable.) or because I’d ignored my mom’s advice and picked a not-so-great outfit.
When I was fourteen, my mom let me start wearing clear mascara and darker lip glosses. When I was sixteen, I was allowed to wear blush, eye makeup, etc. We went to Belk and got the Clinique lady to do my makeup so I could see what I would look like. This was the result:
I hated it. I thought I looked like a monster or something. My skin was even whiter than normal, my lips were fat, my eyes made me look terrifying, and I hated myself.
I hated the fact that I looked terrible while all my friends and peers looked gorgeous, and I hated the fact that my face wouldn’t do what everyone else’s would. But mostly, I hated the fact that I didn’t like looking like everyone else.
Some of you, like one of my friends, may be saying, “you look beautiful!” Thank you. If you didn’t, don’t feel bad. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Here’s the bottom line:
I was trying to find myself. In this time period of 2014 to 2016, I’ve been trying to find my views, my purpose, and my style. I’ve been trying to be so many things, looking for what God wants me to be.
When we began attending a traditional church last year, after coming out of a wonderful house church where I and my brother were the only teens, I started wearing makeup more regularly. I wore eyeshadow, blush, a skin-tone-evening-cream, lipstick, and, last summer, eyeliner.
And guess what?
I still didn’t measure up.
I’d get to church on a Wednesday night and see that the girls in sweatshirts and athletic shorts still looked prettier than I did in my jeans, boots, and nice shirt. Their makeup had a flawless look to it- they talked to the guys.
And I still thought I looked ugly when I wore all that makeup. I hated the feeling of all that creme on my face- of all the stuff on my eyes.
It’s taken me eight months to figure out why.
Last Friday, I attended a Father-Daughter Banquet with my dad. Our church hosts one for girls in the 7th through 12th grades. The senior girls get to give tributes to their dads. That was my whole reason for going.
I don’t own any formal dresses, but a family in our church lent me one. My mom was at a basketball game while I was getting ready, so I didn’t have her to ask questions as I second-guessed every decision I made.
This was a big event, so I knew I needed to do a great job on my makeup. I put on the skin-tone-evener, bronzer, blush, dark eyeshadow, two types of mascara, and eyeliner.
Looking into the mirror, I smiled to get the full effect.
Once again, I looked like a clown. My blush was obvious, my eyeliner was uneven and too dark, and my skin felt awful.
Furious, I scrubbed everything off. Why wasn’t it working? I had taken my time. I’d been careful. I’d watched tutorials and spend a good bit of money to get high-quality makeup.
I had obeyed all the rules, checked off all the boxes, but I was not rewarded like I thought I should have been.
This is a mistake I make in all areas of life: if you obey all the rules, you get a reward. If you don’t obey the rules, yet get punished. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t always work like that. It’s a legalistic way of looking at things.
I took a deep breath and tried not to cry. Again. There had to be another way to do this. Something I was missing. I thought back over the last several months and weeks, praying for clarity. What was I missing? What was my makeup supposed to be?
My brother has no qualms about mentioning his views on makeup. he thinks it looks ugly. He hates it when I wear a lot of eyeliner or a lot of lipstick. It’s taken me some time to get used to this because he’s finally been good enough to say that this is his personal opinion.
I’d fought his comments for a long time. It’s my face. I think I look nice. What does he know? But he knows a lot, in my mind. His opinion means the world to me.
So I thought about what Philip said I thought about my reactions to myself when I put on the trendy amount of makeup. And I realized something.
I don’t like how I look in all this makeup- not because I look bad (I often get compliments when I wear it)- but becuse I don’t look like me.
I know what I look like. I know what kind of clothes I like and don’t like.
And now, I know what kind of face I like.
Mine. I like MY face. I like the way GOD made me. I like me.
Not the sinful me, not the sarcastic, cruel, me- the pure, washed-white-as-snow, cleansed-by-the-blood-of-Jesus me.
I like the me that Jesus sees.
In this picture, from that Friday Night Father-Daughter Banquet, I’m wearing a bit of color-correction stuff on my nose, some lipstick, and mascara.
Most of the girls at church had on a lot more makeup than I did. And they looked beautiful.
But you know what? So did I.
Because I looked like me. And even if my nose is fat and always red and my eyes are always slanted down and my teeth aren’t blindingly white, that’s okay. Because that’s me. I’m not perfect because no one is.
And I don’t need makeup to make me beautiful. I don’t need a filter.
What makes me beautiful is my smile. It’s the Holy spirit inside me. It’s God.
So I dare you.
Let a smile be the only makeup you wear this Wednesday to church. Don’t think that you need to cover up. Don’t be so insecure or prideful s to think that all anyone sees is your acne or your thin eyebrows.
Don’t worry. Smile. Let the Light of Life shine through your face.
I dare you.