I started wearing makeup in sixth grade. I wore it for the first time for a role I played in the school play. Before then I'd never thought of ways to alter the appearance of the dark circles under my eyes. One day my science teacher Mrs. Stolz walked by my desk, looked at me, and stopped. "Are you wearing makeup?" she asked. I told her I was. "Looks nice," she said and kept walking. In one seemingly meaningless moment I realized the power of cosmetics: I could make people see a different me. After that it wasn't long before I started to use makeup on a daily basis.
The next school year I wore concealer, eyeliner, and mascara regularly. That was also the same year I had my first boyfriend and got my first hickey. Covering my flaws and enhancing my beauty made me a more confident person--and people noticed. As great as my newfound tool was, it became a security blanket. It got to a point where I didn't let anyone see me without my "face" on.
This began to haunt me because I worried about my makeup coming off when I had sleepovers or went swimming. While most girls were nervous about being seen in a bathing suit, I agonized over being caught sans concealer. I was so deep in by the time I got to college that I would take my makeup off, and reapply concealer before going to bed with my boyfriend. The strangest part was he never even mentioned it. Some mornings I'd wake up and my face would nearly be clean from rubbing my eyes in my sleep, but I still liked sleeping with my security blanket.
Fast forward about five years to 2015 when I started seeing my current boyfriend. As you may know, we're neighbors. One night when I was in bed ready to sleep, he called me and asked me to come out to the hallway for a minute. I knew it would be ridiculous to put makeup on in the middle of the night. It would take too long and he'd probably call my bluff. So I let him see my bare face. To my astonishment, he didn't give me a second glance. He looked at me exactly the same as he always did. I ended up sleeping over his place that night. It was so refreshing to wake up and not worry about the way I looked.
I still love makeup and prefer to wear it when it's practical. But now when I go to a pool or beach I don't feel the need to reach for my makeup bag. Looking back it seems crazy that I took such extensive measures to feel comfortable in my skin but we all have our quirks, right? The real magic is seeing beauty in myself from the inside out.