My love-hate relationship with make-up

The first few years that I began to wear make-up was a way for me to express myself. Mostly, I was trying to be the emo rock star that I felt I was. I saw myself in artists like Avril Lavigne, Billie Joe Armstrong, Bill Kaulitz and Synster Gates. All I wanted to do was be like them. I wanted to shock people when I went on stage; not just with my singing, but with the way I looked. I became someone else. It was my way of getting into character, to be someone no-one really believed I could be. And sometimes, a person, I couldn’t really believe I could be.

When I recently met a few friend from high-school that I hadn’t seen in almost 5 years, I had on some winged eyeliner and some lipstick. It’s something new I’ve been trying out. One of my friends jokingly said that at least I had chilled out a bit on the goth eyeliner. That it made me look borderline whoreish. Well, that took me aback! It was funny as hell, but it made me question how people thought about these things.

I have been going through this weird phase for the past couple of months where I’ve been trying to get into wearing lipstick. Why? Well, I’m trying to get into character again. Be the kind of woman who is ok with having lipstick on; with standing out and being totally comfortable with that. I guess I’m trying to play mind-games with myself. Isn’t that crazy?

This summer, I got myself a deep purple lipstick. This was it. I felt like I was turning into the alter-ego I’d always kept inside. It made me feel good. However, then, I was in a place where no-one knew me and I felt comfortable enough to do that. As soon as I came back home, I found that I could only keep it on for about an hour or so before I would give up and wipe it all off.

I found myself wondering, as Jung Hyun Lee talks about, where the aspect of femininity and shame comes into play. There are these ridiculous double standards about make-up and how women look that simply drive me up the wall.

Shame is felt because of a reaction to how you think people are observing you. And it becomes a nightmarish thing where you can’t win, no matter what you do. I think, whatever you do decide, you need to find a way to be confident about it and pull through. At least that’s what I tell myself.

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Identity, personality and relationships: works-in-progress. Join me in the unearthing of myself through my writing. Karibuni!

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Aleesha Suleman

Aleesha Suleman

Identity, personality and relationships: works-in-progress. Join me in the unearthing of myself through my writing. Karibuni!

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