When Natural Is Better

A few weeks ago I posted a selfie. But not just any selfie, this was a no-makeup selfie. gasp Why exactly? Well at the time I had just woken up after sleeping a solid eleven hours (it was post Vegas extravaganza…I needed it) and when I looked in the mirror at my naked face, my eyes rubbed clean, and my skin bare, for the first time I felt beautiful.

Now, I know I have a baby-face, and that thought crossed my mind along with a few other negatives, but I pushed them out and focused on the good. My skin was healthy and pink. My eyes were bright and refreshed. My hair was loose and wavy from being in a braid. I felt effortless. I felt feminine. I felt natural.

I decided to snap a picture because I wanted to remember that moment, remember how wonderful it felt to be comfortable in my own skin, to love myself. Sure, there were imperfections—there are always imperfections—but I chose not to focus on them. I smiled, and clicked.

I think it’s strange how social media can shape our lives sometimes. I wanted to remember the picture for me, but I knew my self-image and the picture itself would carry weight if it was on a social networking site. So I decided to post it, with a long-winded, somewhat poetic caption.

selfieIf my twenty-two years of life has taught me one thing, it’s that being real is the most important. Taking off the masks, peeling back the layers, being true to how you feel and showing love, always, even if the world doesn’t seem to deserve it. There’s too much hate today: hating on what makeup we wear or don’t wear, the clothes we put on, the people we choose to marry, the choices and ideas we fight for. Sometimes it’s all too easy to fall victim to what is around us, to change how we really think or who we really are to match the norm. But there’s something to be said about letting go of those expectations and being yourself sometimes, no makeup, natural smile. There’s fear in these decisions to be ourselves when the world might say no in return, but there’s something beautiful about not worrying so much about what everyone thinks #loveyourselfie #beyou #natural 

That was scary. I kept looking back over the picture, wondering if I should edit or put a filter on. I felt exposed in some weird, new way. I wondered what other people would think. If I would still look like the same person. Then I felt guilty, did makeup really have the power to make me feel that different?

The reactions I got back, though I wasn’t really looking for any, warmed my heart. People sent encouraging words, thumbs up, smiley emojis. I felt encouraged. I felt beautiful.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing a little makeup, with getting dressed up, with wanting to put on or wear things that make you feel pretty. But if there’s one thing I can’t stress enough—you are wonderful the way you are. So try taking off that makeup sometimes. Peel back those layers. Expose that naked skin. And most of all, smile back at that reflection in the mirror. There is only one of you. And you are perfect the way you are.

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