15 November 2012

No Makeup November.

"You Don't Have to Be Pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to 
your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to 
random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe 
it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness 
is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female". 

I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't 
owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.) Pretty is pleasant, and 
fun, and satisfying, and makes people smile, often even at you. But in the 
hierarchy of importance, pretty stands several rungs down from happy, is way 
below healthy, and if done as a penance, or an obligation, can be so far away 
from independent that you may have to squint really hard to see it in the haze. "

There was a time not too long ago when I couldn't leave the house wearing my glasses without feeling self-conscious, let alone leave the house wearing my glasses and not wearing makeup. If I did, I would always have my hands by my face as a security blanket. I would try to avoid eye contact with myself whenever I passed my reflection because I didn't want to see my face looking like that.
And then I graduated college, had a baby, and became a car-less stay-at-home mom who ran out of contacts and didn't have optical insurance that rarely left the house anyway. So my glasses wearing increased and my makeup wearing decreased.
Gradually I became more confident in going out in public as a four-eyed pizza faced woman. Mostly because I have a husband who sincerely tells me I am beautiful and a baby who's face lights up like the summer sun whenever they look at me, makeup or not.

You guys. My glasses are from 2007. So obviously before vintage inspired frames were hip and people were bespectacled for fun. I do not have very clear skin. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it's still acne scarred and dotted with blemishes and redness. I'm not like one of those girls in well-meaning makeup/no makeup photo series who still look like models in their "after" pictures because they have impeccable bone structure and nearly flawless skin. Good skin is not one of the presents I received under the Christmas tree.
But here's the thing. I'm finally starting to realize that I am not my body. My self-confidence should not be dependent on how I look on the outside. It should come from all the warm fuzzies that I keep on the inside. It should come from being true to the divinity that I know I have within me as a woman and a child of God.
With that realization, I resolved to do No Makeup November. I've done pretty well. Except I had to speak at church on Sunday in front of our whole congregation, and while I've made progress, I haven't made that much progress. I needed a little foundation and mascara to mask my social anxiety.

I am not against makeup or cute clothes or getting your hair done or working out or any of the things we do to take care of these gifts that are our bodies. I'm actually really for all of those things.
However, I felt like it was important to develop a genuine and sincere love for who I am so that I can teach my children, especially any daughters that may enter my life, what true confidence is and where it should come from.
I'm still learning and progressing. Two steps forward, one step back.

This video about Stephanie Nielson of Nie Nie Dialogues really helped me. As did the blog posts about depression and body image written by her sister C. Jane. (You can find more on the left sidebar of her blog. I really liked the ones written by her neighbor about eating disorders.) And so did Facebook posts and Pinterest pins from my more feminist-minded friends.
The Internet can be really great.


  1. You are absolutely beautiful inside and out Amy Doll. I hope you never forget that.

  2. You are great. I hope that I can be as great as you when I grow up. I don't really wear makeup, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to leave the house without feeling self-conscious, although I hope so. Thanks for being a good example to me (and everyone), Amy Doll. Love you.

  3. great post *_* your blog is very good and interesting. im gald if you visit my blog, too <3 keep in touch!


  4. This is beautiful and inspirational...and so are YOU! Thank you for sharing this. I would like to print this and share it with my 9 year old who is starting to pick up on all of these demands.