Try Something New: Editor leaves beauty materials at home

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I’m doing something I haven’t done in years: I’m leaving my materialism at home and going out into the big, bad world looking like I just rolled out of bed.

Like Ms. Norbury in “Mean Girls” once said, “I’m a pusher,” especially when it comes to my personal growth. I’m goal-oriented, and I constantly seek to better myself. I’m confident in my academic and leadership abilities.

But my appearance is something I’ve never been confident about.

I was raised by a hairdresser mom and two older sisters, so I was introduced to cosmetics at an early age. I grew up on “America’s Next Top Model,” and I was always in a hurry to grow up. I was trained to believe my outer appearance should reflect my inner personality and beliefs, which is why I get ready every single day.

I’m the beauty industry’s typical victim.

I envy people who are comfortable showing up to class without their makeup or hair done. They look fine still, and it’s not like anyone really notices the difference anyway; however, not getting ready in the morning stresses me out to no end. That’s why I’m really challenging myself here, and I hope by the end of these next three days I can say I’m more comfortable in my natural skin. Other writers have done similar challenges for personal growth, like me, or for health reasons like trying to clear up their skin. Hopefully I can say I’ve become just as enlightened as they are.  

   1. I will not get ready whatsoever for the next three days. Makeup, hairspray and “nice” clothes are banned.
   2. I will check in daily by recording my own thoughts and notable interactions I have with others. 
   3. I must go throughout my day like normal; I can’t skip any classes or regularly-scheduled meetings I have during this challenge.

I face the unknown tomorrow. Check back daily, and follow me on my journey while I try something new.

Day one

Leaving the house this morning in sweats, a t-shirt and flip-flops was more difficult than I thought it would be. Although I wear minimal makeup, I still felt naked and oddly vulnerable. 

I walked into my 8 a.m. class and heard the first comment of the day about my appearance.  

“Are you trying to trip people out as part of your article because of how relaxed you look?” he said.

I thought this comment was interesting because I felt more uncomfortable in sweats and a t-shirt than I do in jeans and a blouse. If I know I look OK in the morning, I usually don’t worry about my clothing or appearance at all throughout the day. I had other people tell me how “comfy” my clothing looked. To me, that’s the equivalent of someone telling me I look tired. If someone tells you you look tired, don’t take that as a compliment. 

I found myself particularly annoyed in my math class, when someone who I sit by everyday (but hardly ever talk to) said two words to me.

“Nice sweats,” he said. 

I laughed and said thank you sarcastically, but something about this exchange really bothered me. He obviously noticed my attire was out of the ordinary, but he never felt the need to compliment me on one of the many days I’ve come to class looking better. He only felt the need to bring it up when I look haggard, which makes me wonder if the “bitch” stereotype was at play here. 

Powerful, assertive women are often wrongfully portrayed as “cold” or “heartless” in pop culture. Some people are intimidated by a strong, smart and good-looking woman who has everything together.

Since I looked “lesser” today, I wonder if the guy who commented on my clothes did so subconsciously because he knew I was more vulnerable, and he was in a position of power. 

Maybe I’m reading into things too much. Honestly, the only good thing about my experience today was that I got to sleep in an extra 45 minutes.

Day two

I’m a quitter. 

First of all, I had to anchor Dixie Sun News’ news show yesterday, and I definitely wasn’t going to go on television without getting ready first. Secondly, I hated this challenge. 

Do you blame me? I don’t really care, and here’s why. 

I reflected on my challenge a lot the past few days, and I decided that in my quest to become less materialistic, I was actually being more so. To think that anyone really cares if I wear makeup or not is self-centered. Although the challenge initially was mainly about my feelings toward myself, I found I was more focused on what other people thought of my appearance. 

I just feel better when I know I look good, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Some women like to wear a lot of makeup, some like to go all-natural, and some, like me, fall somewhere in between. That’s OK. We need to stop judging each other just because we all feel more comfortable with our own beauty routines. 

So, I didn’t come out of this challenge with more confidence or being comfortable with my natural self or anything like that.

Taking three hours to get ready in the morning doesn’t have to mean you’re materialistic, and you’re not any less beautiful if you prefer to rock yoga pants, a sweatshirt and a messy bun to class. The important thing is to never let anyone influence you to be anything other than what you’re most comfortable being.