Make-up Or Making Up for Something?
I must admit that I became a girly-girl when I started reading fashion magazines in my early teens. I studied how to apply makeup along with fun ways to paint my nails. I wanted to look like the models in the magazines. Their flawless beauty mesmerized me, and their entire look from head to toe was impeccable. I wanted to emulate them.
In my naivety, I was unaware that what made those models look perfect was lighting, airbrushing, and other special effects, so no matter how much I practiced to imitate their appearances, it was an impossible goal to achieve.
This became an obsession for me that challenged my self-perception, causing a beclouded viewpoint of my femininity, and before long I became extremely dissatisfied with my looks. The need to have a flawless look in the flesh became incessant, and makeup became my mask that I refused to be seen without.
I suppose you could say that makeup for me was like the mask for Erik, the phantom of the opera. His looks were so repulsive that his own mother became aghast looking at him, which impelled him to run away and never be seen without his mask (with the exception when Christine took off his mask, twice).
My mask became heavier as I layered my face with primer, foundation, powder, and that was just the beginning!
Family and friends regularly made comments regarding the amount of makeup I wore, but the thought of going bare-faced was oppressive, so I kept up the disguise.
I was so insecure about my looks that I often went to bed wearing makeup or would rise early enough to put it on before anyone saw me.
I continued to follow the most recent trends in the fashion magazines, which became my creed for womanhood.
This would radically change after I met an energy healer who knew a very good friend of mine. He had seen a picture of me at her house and asked her who I was indicating to her that I needed healing. He asked her if we could meet.
After my friend introduced us, he invited me to a spiritual awareness workshop that he was hosting. I made excuses as to why I could not go, but he just kept looking into my eyes as I babbled on. I soon found myself agreeing to attend.
This man was the very first individual who would lead me to a path of enlightenment.
I arrived at the home of my friend where the meeting was being held with my designer luggage, my fashionable outfit, makeup, and jewelry. My costume was complete!
I was led into a room where people, who were dressed in frocks, were sitting on Indian-style pillows on the floor. The delicate smell of incense filled the room.
I was lovingly greeted by each person with a hug, and the man who had invited me said that he was “very glad” that I was there. He then showed me to my room and asked me to join them when I was ready. I was uncertain as to what he meant when he said to join them when I was “ready,” but I was struck by something in his voice.
I kept telling myself that no way was I going out there to join anyone, yet the sound of this man’s voice kept resonating.
After a couple of hours passed, my friend came in and gently said to me, “Don’t be afraid to come out.” She went on to say that once I found the courage to take off all that was covering true beauty, then I would begin to understand.
She handed me a wash cloth, a towel, and a robe, which all smelled as delightful as the incense, and she left the room.
I began taking off the makeup, and I did not like what I saw. Something inside me kept saying that I had to continue, so I washed my face, removed the garb, and put on the robe.
By the time I went out to participate with the others, dinner was being served, and that too was aromatic. I was welcomed again, just as warmly as the first time.
Each one of us had a plate of food and sat on the pillows, and before eating, someone said a lovely prayer of thanksgiving.
I told my friend that her guests were so loving, and then I asked her how she managed to get everything to smell so fragrant and the food to taste so good. She said that she works with pure and natural ideas that manifest in all she does. That concept set in motion for me a new way of thinking.
Activities during this meeting went on for three days, and with each one that I participated in, I began to feel a sense of freedom that I had not known for a long time. It would be many years later when I would fully implement this approach to life of “pure and natural.”
I had to challenge every spurious thought tempting me to make up for what I seemed to be lacking, especially in comparison to those images rooted in my mind from the fashion magazines.
I researched higher ideas of beauty that would replace the harmful thoughts that had me penned in. I came across one in particular from a book by Kahlil Gibran my mom had given me. He wrote, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” This was a very refreshing idea and one that would orbit my consciousness to redefine my womanhood.
After much dedication in practicing this advanced way of thinking, I was eventually freed from the belief that I had to wear an ensemble in order to qualify me as beautiful. The new womanhood that I was embracing had been based upon improving character, maintaining a sense of poise, and probity. It would no longer be contingent upon external costumes, body shape, or cosmetics.
There is a lot of outside pressure for women to keep up appearances in order to feel attractive; in fact, there is makeup for all occasions: weddings, “selfie-makeup,” and makeup to sleep in, which companies claim is better for your skin!
I am not intimating that makeup (cruelty-free makeup!) is a bad thing—it can be fun and complementary, but if we women feel as though our beauty must be imported and applied, then we may find that our true beauty will remain under the veil we call makeup.
Though I still enjoy being girly and use very little makeup, I have come to the understanding that making up for something I once believed I lacked was just an attack on my real femininity.
Presenting oneself properly is a demonstration of self-regard, but hiding under fashion, trends, and make-up reflects a disregard for the beauty within you.
Below are some citations and passages that have helped me along the way to a more beautiful view of myself.
In the book of Psalms 139:14, it is written, “I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.” (The Voice) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms+139%3A14&version=VOICE
Song of Solomon 4:7: “You are beautiful in every way, my true love. There is no blemish on you.” (GW)
1 Peter 3:3-4: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.” (ESV)
1 Samuel 16:7: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (NASB)
“The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul,…” Mary Baker Eddy
ESV-English Standard Version
GW-God’s Word Translation
NASB-New American Standard Bible