I’m 23 with incredibly pasty skin, with lackluster cheeks, no naturally tinted lips, and hooded eyes. I started wearing some makeup in middle school and high school. When I say “some”, I mean I wore 8 layers of black eyeliner alllll the way around my eye to match my black band t-shirts and blue hair. After that phase (some say it hasn’t ended), I would put on some eyeliner, lip gloss, and sometimes smear foundation on my face with my fingers.
Even when I started college, I wasn’t overly concerned with how I looked, and then I started to care for some reason. I think I probably had one of my first breakouts after starting birth control, and it really bothered me, and it got me going on wearing cheap, terrible for my skin, foundation. As the years went on, I would wear makeup more and more, regardless of whether I had my monthly breakout or not. After graduating from college, I bought better makeup and watched YouTube videos, and I started wearing more makeup. In reality, I have always been insecure about how I look, and once I graduated, I think I just wanted to look my age instead of a middle schooler.

Over the last few years, I have started wearing more and more makeup, and I won’t leave if I don’t have at least some makeup on. At the very least, I will put on foundation, lipstick, and just throw on my glasses, so it’s harder for people to tell that I’m not wearing any eyeliner or mascara. It took a long time to even get to the point where I could put on just that, and not full eye makeup. It’s so stupid and annoying that I won’t even run to the grocery store without it.

The last few weeks have been pretty stressful and exhausting to the point I barely remember to take my makeup off. I ran to the store last week, and I still put on foundation. I was only going for ten minutes, tops. That was one moment where I realized I needed to get it together.

Yesterday, I knew I was going to have to run to the grocery store, so I decided I wouldn’t any makeup at all. I had taken a shower the night before, so I knew there was no way even a flake of foundation would be left over. And, this way, I wouldn’t have to worry about wasting makeup remover for a ten minute trip.

I felt like I cheated a little bit, because I put my hair in a ponytail and threw a baseball cap on. Maybe no one would be able to see my face? I decided to go to a store nearby to look for the cookie cake we were going to give our roommate, and it just happened to be a store with a self-checkout. In reality, I did this on purpose so I could avoid people. Someone greeted me as soon as I walked in the breezeway of the store. Dammit. I immediately regretted this choice. I couldn’t find the cookie cake, so I knew I’d have to go to the next store, the one closest to our apartment, but doesn’t have self-checkouts. This meant human interaction. Fantastic…
I was greeted by two employees up front, one in the back, and then had to speak to two people at the register. Once I walked out the door, I realized that the world didn’t end, and it really wasn’t that bad. I was a nervous wreck for the short time I was out, but it really wasn’t necessary. It was actually a freeing experience! I didn’t have to pile on makeup to go out, nobody said anything, and honestly, not one person probably cared. How self-absorbed of me to think that anyone would care what I looked like.

Today, I wore makeup but didn’t do my hair. I threw it in a ponytail, but with no baseball cap, and it was a different type of insecure. A “you can see my insane sideburns, maybe even the line of my makeup, but damn it’s comfortable not having my hair in my face” kind of insecure.

Neither of these things are big steps, but they were important to me. If you feel insecure about something, try going out for just a bit without covering it up, and see how you feel after. Nothing may change, or you could feel a small sense of freedom.
Insecurities are not an easy thing to deal with. They come with stress, anxiety, and fear. I still have many insecurities, but I feel a little bit better about just walking out of the door without the stress of having to spend half an hour in front of the mirror.

I would love to hear if you have tried taking steps like these and how you felt afterward! We all deserve to have higher self-esteem, and I want to help any and all of you if I can.