I think one of the greatest burdens of American women is that we often foster shame within ourselves. Over the past sixty years our society has evolved immensely, and now we are constantly sent conflicting messages about who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to feel. We should look like models but cook like Paula Deen, have ambitious professional aspirations but always put others before ourselves, act like ladies but never be high-maintenance. Sometimes I feel like the more choices we are given, the more ways there are for people to disapprove of the decisions we make.
I very much want to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sandberg seems to believe that for the most part, what’s holding women back is no longer external forces or a lack of opportunity, but an unwillingness to seize those opportunities and relinquish our cultural shame.
I have a daily battle with that shame and insecurity, and I tend to be very self-critical. I’m working hard to become a more courageous and confident person, and luckily I have incredible friends who build me up. Having command of the message I send out to the world always gives me a big confidence boost and a healthy creative outlet, and that’s one of the many reasons I love makeup and fashion.
Sometimes wearing makeup is really a placebo; when I’m having a bad day and feel like I just look awful, it shields me from the world. Other times, it allows me to explore and play. Taking pride in my appearance gives me a sense of control and self-assurance. Rather than focusing on that ugly hook in my nose or the fact that my eyes are too close together, using cosmetics is all about knowing your strengths and emphasizing your best features (don’t you listen to Carmindy on What Not to Wear?)
In that spirit, let me tell you two things that I happen to like about myself, one within and one without. 1) Although I crave approval, I never compromise my character and violate my morals in order to satisfy peer pressure. 2) I have very long eyelashes.
My eyes and eyelashes are my best feature, and I’m often asked what mascara I use. I’ve tried almost every brand. I absolutely love Covergirl Lashblast. It’s sold everywhere, and it’s only about $7. I don’t need the extra length, so I use Volume (in the orange case), while most of my friends love the Clump crusher (in the green case).
When I stopped by Sephora the other day I was also given a free sample of another mascara, and it’s wonderful! Of course it’s a price jump ($23), but my lashes really do look false when I use it. It’s called “They’re real!” how can you not enjoy that sassy name?
If you look closely all three mascaras have a wand that combs lashes rather than brushing them, this helps prevent clumps and uni-lashes.
I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours! Let me know your favorite mascara, and please, instead of focusing on all the things you wish you could change about yourself, feel pride rather than shame! What are two qualities that you like about yourself?