This week on my Facebook newsfeed, a girl posted a selfie in which she was wearing no makeup. The caption explained that she was doing an “experiment.” If she got hit on at any point during the day while not wearing any makeup, she would never again say she wasn’t beautiful.
Now, I know where she’s coming from. When guys tell me I’m beautiful and I’m wearing makeup, I automatically think to myself "Yes, that $80 I spent at MAC was totally worth it." I know how it feels to believe that people dont see your real face when they compliment you. I know because I, like the, majority of females, put a good amount of shit on my face before I leave the house.
But the idea that her self esteem is tied to whether or not she gets hit on made and still makes my stomach churn. Getting hit on isn’t a sincere compliment. When a guy honks at you from his car when you’re walking down the street, or a hobo heckles you, they aren’t complimenting you. They drive up the street and honk at the next female. The hobo probably didn’t even get a good look at your face, whether you were wearing makeup or not.
We’re obsessed with “self esteem.” Its a soundbyte, a pressure point. But when did self esteem begin to mean “whether or not you think other people think you’re beautiful.” Your self is made up of so many things. Your penchant for horror movies or lack thereof - the things youre passionate about, the people you love and respect. Things that make you cry, or laugh, or leave you speechless. Are you funny? Do you know and love what youre good at? Do small spaces make you nervous? Do you love the way the facade of Bloomies looks on Lexington Ave first thing in the morning with the sun hitting it in all the right places?
Things like that are what make up who you are, and being secure in those things is the only way to have a shot at being happy.
How long is it going to be before we realize that being attractive to other people isn’t enough? Marilyn Monroe died of a drug overdose. She didn’t slip away in the night in a bed of roses and champagne surrounded by all her adoring fans. Being pretty didn’t mean she never felt alone or stupid or sad.
We constantly tell each other that if we don’t lose weight or look perfect no one will love us - and not just women, men too. But I worked in the bridal business all summer, and I zipped up the backs of PLENTY Size 26 wedding dresses. We lie to each other. We lie and then we blame it on “society” as if its a cloud floating above us rather than the sum of us.
I am 100% certain that I only really love my appearance 80% of the time. There are days when I look like the crypt keeper and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. There are days when the idea of putting makeup on makes me want to vomit. Days when eating healthy is the furthest thing from my mind and Papa Johns is the closest. Days when the Gym may as well be in Middle-Earth for all I care. But the worst days for me are the days when I don’t like myself. When I look in the mirror and struggle with what the sum of all the things I did that day even is.
I’ve been in love - madly so. He told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world and I believe he still believes that. But it wasn’t enough to make him stay. Being beautiful didn’t mean I was right for him. The wrong people will leave no matter how much time you spend on the treadmill or how many meals you skip or how much you work on having skin like Rihanna. And the right people will stay no matter how much pizza you eat in a week.
Having self esteem needs to stop meaning “Thinking other people think youre attractive all the time” and start meaning “Self Esteem.” At the end of the day, its just you in there. And the amount of gravity working to hold you to the earth has nothing to do with that.