make me over

I see so many articles and blog posts and books and scripts and zines (and so on) that I read and go, “Hey, I had this idea x amount of time ago.” I think we all do that, but now I’ve decided I’m going to do two things:

1)When I have an idea I need to not be lazy. I will be better about writing the idea down and putting it up here or submitting it elsewhere.

2)When I don’t do the first option, and others get to the idea first, I’m still going to throw my two cents into the hat and enter the conversation.

Case in point – the current conversation going on around beauty and makeup. Whether you’re with fresh faced singer songwriter Alicia Keys (whose no makeup routine still reportedly takes hours and many dollars!) or with Feminist author and beauty brand ambassador Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or somewhere in between like me, you must be aware that your face is the source of a hot debate.

To where makeup or not to wear makeup?

I could never understand why makeup was such a big deal. I have always loved it. When I was a baby I had a pretend makeup set of plastic pallets  and lipsticks that I enjoyed playing with. As an adolescent my older relatives bequeathed me their old makeup to use as play makeup, and when I had allowance I would spend it at Claire’s jewelry store, buying body glitter and purses to carry my accoutrements around in. I have always been a femme, but I don’t recall judging girls who weren’t.

In middle school I was just barely allowed to wear makeup until seventh or eighth grade when I began experimenting with neon eyeliners and temporary hair color. It was fun. Every night I would pick out my clothes (a little bit 80’s chick, a little bit evanescence goth) and makeup to go along with it. This lasted on and off throughout middle and high school, but there were many periods where I did not wear makeup at all. And I had never worn foundation.

But I knew many girls who wore foundation. One girl wore so much daily, her neck and face were different colors, and by her own admission, her pillow cases were covered in makeup. I wanted her to wear whatever she wanted, but also to feel beautiful in her own skin. And really what I want is for all people to feel beautiful in their skin.

My mother’s wedding is the first time I wore a full face of makeup, complete with airbrushed foundation and false lashes. I did feel beautiful; but I also felt wonderful when I took it all off at the end of the evening and hung out with my boyfriend in my sweat pants.

I rarely wear makeup to work. My biggest makeup fear is that it will smear all over my face and no one will tell me and I will be embarrassed when I get to a mirror or someone finally mentions it. I admit it; I get a little skittish when it comes to makeup vs no makeup as well. Articles over the years have annoyed me, titled a bit like this: “I wore NO MAKEUP for one week!!!!” The author, who is someone who would never dare to go barefaced under normal circumstances decides to go bare for a week and write about how daring it was. I also see articles saying bosses pay more money to women who wear makeup. Makeup supposedly looks more professional than a bare face.

My made up face is gorgeous. My bare face is gorgeous. My face does not determine how professional I am. No man will control my makeup. Alicia Keys and even queen Chimamanda do not control my ideas about makeup.

I love myself with and without. I hope you do too.

Core.

The past week has been a blur, a fog, an endless night. But not a lovely starry night. A dark stain on the fabric of humanity. My heart is broken. But the show must go on. I vow to keep fighting, and keep fighting the only way I know how. I will continue to read. I have been reading more and more diversely, and vow to keep going in that direction. I will support writers of color, all genders, and races. I will read more women than men. I will give an ear to marginalized voices. I will write diversely, and educatedly, as well. I never have felt comfortable writing male characters. I will learn how to do that, but I will also hone my skills as a writer who writes about women. I will focus now more than ever on my dreams and goals because when us women individually achieve our goals, in the end we will all be closer to achieving our global goals. I will write even when it feels like no one is reading. I will submit my writing even when it doesn’t feel like the solicitation is for me. I will write in my journal and on my blog and in my virtual classroom. And I will wow the fuck out of myself and others, both longtime fans and those who have never met me. And I will champion you. My friend the filmmaker/yogi/barista. My friend who is looking forward to a career in social work. My friend who is going for her law degree. Women all around the world I don’t know, but who are doing extraordinary and great things.

I have been MIA from this blog because of work and school. But I cannot be MIA from my own life anymore. This blog is important to me because it gives me a voice. I will be posting more book reviews, as this is primarily a book blog. But I will also be posting essays, opinions, my voice. I will be using this as my platform to speak my mind. The middle of my journey towards getting my Masters degree has been rough. I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders from my job, my government, my family, my school, myself. I have been more about pleasing others, but it is time to please myself. So I have been putting school first, because I want to finish and walk away with my head held high and a new degree on my shoulders. I prioritized my job second because it gives me the means to eat food and pay rent, even when I hate the work and don’t have money left over to pay other necessary bills, let alone fun. I try to give enough time to my family and friends, to prove that I am “good,” a “good daughter,” a “good friend,” a “good sister,” a “good daughter-in-law.” But in prioritizing all of these things that make up a facet of myself, I left out my love of writing, and my love of French, and my love of independence.

My path has changed many times, but whenever I get back on track I always have the same thoughts in mind. It is no mistake that the best grade I got in one of my classes this semester was on an essay on Music and Literature informing each other. This is something I love to write about, and will write about here on this blog. It is no mistake that a story that has been floating around in my head but was never good enough to sit down and write is finally coming together, with France as the glue, after I recently vowed to myself to get a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate so that I could teach English in France.

We all have a core, and while many things about us change and grow over time, our core is always our essence, always guiding us. Listen to your core and let it guide you.

Thank you for reading.