In my life lately, I’m concerning myself with actually just being a person. This is rather difficult, as it’s been so long since i cultivated a valid identity instead of perpetually re-living all my past trauma in a broken down fight or flight cycle. I think it’s important to reflect not only on who we are as women, but who we are as human beings. It is too easy to get caught up in the notion of being the best of your gender (be that gender biological or psychological) while not considering the overall picture of being the best of your species. I perceive gender to be an expression of our souls and the purpose we’re living on Earth for. But ultimately, soul has no gender; the thing that makes us human, that collective desire to strive for more, to be more, to see more, to understand more- that is genderless. Those very basic desires are inherent to each human, and we each express them differently, though we often fall into broader types.
For myself, I have constructed a simple human vs woman challenge to live by, a trial that I feel tests my progress in getting to know and love myself.
The stress of constantly monitoring and obsessing about appearance wastes time and lowers women’s cognitive abilities. I have become rather relaxed on looks over the past year or so, and no longer feel compelled to wear a mask every day that I go out. Now, I do it when I want to, and only when I want to. Any time I feel like I HAVE to wear make-up to face the world- be it to impress someone, or because I feel ugly, or because there’s a social event to go to- I won’t do it. If I feel so vulnerable I need to have a mask on to go into the world, or if my desire is caused by a need to divert attention or cover up weakness, I should probably be making more constructive use of my time than trying to look pretty.
I have found that, the more that I hold myself to this standard, the more confident I feel overall. I have rejected the notion of being sexy for others and accepted the idea of being beautiful for myself- with the most important realization being that, while there is nothing wrong with beauty, it is not meant to be a priority when there is work to be done or people to be helped. Beauty is a thing which is best appreciated in the moment, be that moment a perfect sunset, a fresh bouquet, and yes, that fluke day where you either woke up with the most amazing hair and perfect glowing skin, your soul shining through your body and/or you magically applied all the make-up just right and your canvas completely matched your creative vision for once in your shaky-hand life.
So here’s the challenge: if you don’t feel like putting on make-up, but feel you have to, or that it’s required for the situation you’re entering- don’t do it. There is nothing wrong with using our faces or clothing as a tool to express ourselves, among other forms of communication like language, music, dance, or rhetoric. If our bodies are temples, celebrating them when we feel joyful is a powerful thing. But a temple is not a religion, or a god. A temple is a manifestation of belief and the physical need to acknowledge belief. So we adorn it when spiritually proper, and allow it the right to be solemn in times of strife or conflict.
And if you find you literally can’t go out without your make-up, that you experience anxiety or stunted behavior in the absence of physical decoration, seriously sit down and analyze the reasons why. Brainstorm. Free write. Make a chart. Draw a picture. Shoot some hoops. Experience your body and mind simultaneously. Allow your body to bring forth the physical manifestation of your emotions- be that through fine motor control or athleticism. If you follow the emotional reaction back to the factual trigger, you may just open up an entire new realm of thought in regards to your concept of self-worth.