When I first saw Ighwiyisi Jacobs’ video and heard the chatter around Alicia Key’s no-make-up-resolution, I wondered if our hearts really wants the truth.
I wonder how we could really tell our weary souls that beauty really is beyond skin. How we can really get ourselves to believe that “doing our faces up” or “doing up our outer woman” doesn’t cover our dirt.
Yea, because truth is? Letting our dirt hang out, wearing our vulnerability on our skin is proof that finally we are allowing ourselves to become real. And real is our culture’s greatest threat.
Let’s be real here: the girl who won’t “do herself up”? Look “put together”. The girl unafraid to be a little rough around the edges – letting her heart hang out, letting her realness be seen. Women who dare to walk around plain-faced. Who dare to grow their own hair – are seen as “letting themselves go”. If we are being honest: these are the “un-pretty girls” that leave people scratching their heads. Because these are the girls that culture is unable to define.
Because confidence in our skin is not common sense. You’ll find us trying to make sense of our dependence on looks. How our looks can determine how we feel; how we choose to pay attention to someone or overlook them completely. How looks can really be the death of us.
How many times have we looked in the mirror and dared to behold our own beauty? And maybe I could ask you about how you see that other girl: how many times have you seen her without make-up and you asked if she was okay?
“Are you stressed?” I’ve been asked. As if rolling out of bed and washing my face alone wasn’t enough for me to face the day.
But I suppose, I couldn’t have said that or answered that question confidently 4 years ago. Because I think I’ve been around long enough to know that to say that: “looks don’t matter” is to get laughed in the face.
Because, you know? Up until 4 years ago, you’d also find me in salons week after week, changing hair dos, watching tutorials about getting the perfect brows. And it’s all fun until you find that you have become your hair and you have become your face: because this is mostly all you ‘feed’ and you stop there – denying the world of your treasure that is skin-deep. soul-steep and heart-filled.
You bring your best face forward to every relationship; every meeting and you won’t dare to wear your realness on your sleeves. You won’t dare to wear your vulnerability and even your scars all over your skin. You won’t dare to bare your soul, and dare people to see beyond your looks and pay attention to your heart.
Girl, if you choose to be made-up, let it not cost you a thing. Let it not be at the expense of your heart. Let it not be you denying yourself the ease of throwing your hair in a bun, shaving your head, if you must, so that you can pay attention to your inner self. If it takes you longer to “make-up” than it takes you to pay attention to a conversation that will feed your soul. Than it takes you to actually feed the relationships that matter. Than it takes you to study the Word of God. If it takes you more time to feed the thing that doesn’t matter than it takes to feed that which matters, then you need to breathe back…
Because we are living girl! We are running this race, and along the way getting our hands dirty and if we are being honest: we really don’t have enough time in the day to pack lunch, get the kids from school, cook a good meal, take yourself out on a you-date of movies and popcorn – there’s not enough time to actually live doing hard and ordinary things.
Hear me girl: like all these women have said, I am not anti-makeup, I am only inviting you to breathe in deeper and let us feed what matters.
I am only daring you to be unafraid to be ordinary. To be unafraid to be the plain-faced girl in the room. Daring you to be the girl that is unafraid to just be real. Daring you to be that girl!
Anything that holds us captive, that we can’t be without, that we can’t be ourselves without. Anything that causes us to apologize for who we are is a thing we must step back and rethink.
Remember this: beauty is not found in color, in pencils nor powder. Beauty is not what the magazines and pop-culture call it, beauty is a position that you own. Beauty is who you are.
And maybe together we could declare these few words over our hearts until we believe them:
I am beautiful.
Nothing changes this. My beauty is not what I can put on because it never goes off. I carry it in my scars, in my pain, in my vulnerability, in my brokenness; not in color, pencils and yardsticks. I am always beautiful.
About Rayo Adegoke
When Rayo Adegoke is not writing to somehow give hope and promote well-being for orphans and vulnerable children through her work at Catholic Relief Services, you’ll find her penning her heart about the fight for everyday joy on her blog: Iseejoy.