Winged Eyeliner

So,  I’m a little down today so I put on make-up to make me feel like I was going somewhere, even when the only place I am going is down to the office to write this.

But as I was putting on my winged eyeliner, which I love so much, I started to think about what I was doing.

Everyone does their winged eyeliner differently. I’ve seen Amy Winehouse wings and I’ve seen eensy teensy wings. I’ve seen thick black and I’ve seen thin lines. I’ve seen it done with eyeshadow and I’ve seen it done with a pencil and I’ve seen it done with liquid.

And it made me really happy: the fact that all these women (and yes, men) can put on their winged eyeliner in different ways. And still feel beautiful at the end of it. Including me.

If you’re not feeling pretty, try your own winged eyeliner, but try it your way.



Permission to be Unpretty

Let’s get something straight tonight, okay everyone?

You should feel pretty. No one should make you feel unpretty. In whatever form that takes. Take the selfie (or don’t). Put on the make-up (or don’t). Do your hair (or don’t). Wear nice clothes (or don’t). Whatever makes you feel most comfortable in your own skin (sometimes quite literally) you should do. Your life is too short to worry about how many likes/marriage proposals your photos get on Facebook (or not).

Okay. That’s a nice reminder, but that’s not what I wanted to get straight: I need everyone to remember that it is more than okay to be unpretty.

That is, you don’t actually have to be or feel beautiful all of the time. I mean, there is absolutely something about everyone that is beautiful. But you don’t have to acknowledge it every time you feel like you need to acknowledge your worth. (Well, I have nice legs, so that means I’m a decent human being, right?)

Really, why isn’t it enough to be smart, or generous, or organized? (Oh, that’s right. Because you can’t easily convey that through an Instagram picture.)

And don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine if you take pride in your looks. But the fallout is ridiculous. I pull up my hood and hiss at people when I’m out in public without any make-up on so they don’t look at me too closely. I try to stand up straight and look sufficiently bored but pretty when waiting in line at Starbucks. I treat every sidewalk like a runway. Just because I’ve been taught that I need to be attractive to other people at all times. Just because the media has told me that men and women are supposed to be desirable, always.

But do you know what I would really like to do? I would like to just look like myself. And not worry about the way the light is hitting me, or if my make-up is smudged, or if I have resting b**** face. I would like the permission to be unpretty (or at least not worry if I’m beautiful or not).

And so, since I believe that you too would like the permission to be unpretty, I’m giving it to you. You don’t have to be perfectly put together all of the time (but go you when you do get it together some of the time.) You don’t have to be camera ready, you should just be ready for anything. And of course, you don’t always have to be or feel beautiful. You should just be and feel.

You’re alive and that’s enough.

War Paint

Let me tell you a little bit about myself (as if I don’t do that every night).

When I was younger, I was a tomboy, which is a term that I don’t even agree with. But if I had to describe myself in a context that most people would understand, I would proceed to tell you that I mostly chose sports over dresses. I chose books over Barbies. I chose being dirty over taking showers, every time. I pretended that I wasn’t a “girl,” and all that it does or does not imply.

And, of course, that meant that I forewent all makeup. No eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, foundation, blush. Nothing. (I had enough on my face with glasses and braces.) Who even had time for all of that when there was homework to do? Why wake up an hour early to paint your face when you had gym for your first class? What was the point of all that effort?

So, I continued to arrive fresh faced at school while I slipped quickly into the bathroom and out, as a line of my peers applied lip gloss and shadow with their fingertips. They would make kissy faces in the mirrors on their lockers, chatting with each other. It was like a secret society that I was on the outskirts of, without the tools to communicate.

Except, I exiled myself. There was no reason that I couldn’t join in. I simply chose not to, and so armored myself against it all. I perceived makeup as vapid and shallow. I then convinced myself that the people who wore it were only trying to beautify their outsides to make up (pun intended) for their insides. I told myself that I would never, ever be so self-conscious that I would carry around lipstick, just in case I needed a touch-up, just in case someone started to see through it all to the real me.

So, what happened to little, proud BaileyDailey? She grew up, and she grew up. She realized that it was stupid to judge people on their appearance, no matter how they chose to enhance or detract from it. She realized that makeup was actually for people who were completely confident in who they were and simply wanted to transform themselves into something else. She realized that makeup was war paint, a challenge to the rest of the world to smudge her lipstick, to smear her mascara. It was also a promise that she would still come back, looking flawless.

Today, I still don’t wear a ton of makeup. I still don’t know what the best brands to use are. I still can’t put on liquid eyeliner perfectly on the first try. But I’ve stopped rolling my eyes when I see that other people do. As women, we need to raise each other up. But more than that, as people, we need to learn how to learn from each other.

So, when I kissed and made up with makeup, I matured as a human being. I stopped giving the snake eye to the smoky eye. I quit giving lip to lip liner. But most of all, I stopped confusing the content of someone’s character for the color of their eyeshadow.