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An Artistic Expression, Not an Expectation.

Today there are many concerns with body image, self acceptance, and pressure from the media to be perfect. Recently some businesses and companies been listening to their publics, reacting and changing their approaches. An example of this is Sports Illustrated recently running an ad for Swimsuits for All featuring size 16 model, Ashley Graham. Sports Illustrated has also introduced their first plus size model, Robyn Lawley, although only at size 12, that she be “plus size” is certainly debatable. To me, she appears simply healthy, and beautiful.

The pressure for perfection isn’t just physical, but it’s also personal appearance based. Makeup, for example, is a topic that some feel very strongly about. Some love it, swear by it, others hate it and swear it off, some even going so far as to toss out all their makeup to prove a point that they are above covering themselves up.

Today was the first day I’ve gone to class since the beginning of the semester without makeup on. It isn’t because of proving a point, or due to laziness, but rather because I ran out of time with unexpected set backs. I am comfortable without makeup, but I have acquaintances who won’t leave the house without it. Sometimes this is interpreted as insecurity, but having used to be that way myself, in many cases it isn’t. In adolescents and teens I would be more sensitive to that potential, but as we grow, we form our own opinions, beliefs, and learn to carve our own way. With increased media literacy, we learn to see through the media and what it does. Still, I suppose non-communications students may not get that opportunity, so I can understand the media influence on health and beauty expectations in young adults.

If anyone has ever had a reason to be insecure, it could have been me in my teen years. I’m lucky that I never really worried too much about others perceptions. Then again, as a child I had dealt with angiofibroma’s across my nose, part of a genetic disease I was born with. They are basically fibrous skin bumps that are often reddish, bleed at random or if scratched (Like having an itch even) and cause discomfort and pain. When I was a little girl, I had a couple procedures to remove them including dermabrasion and laser removal. That helped slow the growth, and *knock on wood* after the last procedure years ago, they haven’t become an issue again. Needless to say, after going through all that I am definitely comfortable in my own skin with or without makeup.

If you can’t be comfortable as you are, happiness is hard to achieve. You deserve happiness and contentment as you are. Makeup, numbers on a scale, stretch marks… none of these define you or your worth.

I used to use light foundation powder after healing from procedures to tone down the redness, not for being embarrassed, but for my own sanity. Nothing is more frustrating than getting questions about why your face looks sunburnt in the middle of Winter. Since then, makeup has never been about hiding myself, but rather it is an expression. So is my overall appearance. The way I dress, make myself up, present myself is a presentation of my personality, and what I want others to see. When applying ma882335_10200725060992867_699980286_okeup I tend to do so sparingly these days. I find I often go toward nude and neutral tones that brighten my face and highlight my skin tone, from my eyeshadow to my blush. Every so often I go for more bold colors, red lipstick, or eyeshadow that compliments my eye color, and no lipstick.

An example of one of my favorite makeup methods is this photo of myself from Fall 2013. I used muted tones, peachy blush, a touch of red lipstick and smokey-nude eyes, and it didn’t even take an hour to put myself together before going out with my friends.

Moral of the story is, be happy with yourself no matter what, and do what you feel is best for you, not what others say is best. If you are unsettled by something you see, feel, or do, then change. Life is constant change. For example, I want to get back in shape for me, not because I feel I have to. I feel good when I run, or do yoga, so I’m getting back into it after a hiatus since Christmas. If you want to wear makeup or dress a certain way, or dye or cut your hair- do it! If you are expressing yourself, and not hiding from the world, do what makes you happy, not what you feel is expected by society. Makeup won’t make or break an opportunity, it’s your personality that is the most expressive.

Expression in all forms is art. Be it a new haircut, makeup experiment, clothing style, you are a work of art in and of yourself as is all that you do. Never forget that!

~Laura

P.S – My feature image is a collage of Younique products, a brand I am an independent presenter for. Shop from me at my presenter page!

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