An Insecure Hug

Insecurity. It’s a word that I feel could sadly dominate a great deal of my life. In a world full of self-love, body-positive, self-care declarations, I’m sure a lot of what I’m about to say is common. But common or not, it’s part of my story.

Don’t hug me don’t hug me, please don’t hug me…Dang it. I accepted the awkward side hug that dominated the church youth group of my middle school and high school years. I hated hugs. You see, if I was hugged, I almost ALWAYS left a makeup transfer on someones clothes. It was embarrassing. It drew attention to how much makeup I had caked on to cover my acne. I desperately used thick amounts of makeup to achieve a smooth complexion. I didn’t care about blush or fun eyeshadows or lipstick, I just didn’t want my acne to show. Most girls my age were playing with thick eyeliner, glittering blush, bright cherry lips and I? Well, I was just trying to not be noticed.

The day I said I do I chose to do my own makeup. I said it was to save money but really I just didn’t want someone looking that closely at my skin. I covered the zits that were on my chest and shoulders, praying the photographer would be nice enough to photoshop them away. I took a step back and felt pretty. Insecurity tickled at the back of my mind but all I wanted was to get to Andrew, to get down that aisle and be in his arms because there, my insecurities were quieter. After our ceremony, after the photos were complete, we stood together ready to depart for our reception. It was a quiet moment together and my new husband put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me in tight. With a smile and a kiss we started towards the door and I saw it. There, on his rented suit jacket was part of my shield, part of my mask. There, smeared for all the world to see was my makeup. I panicked. I was embarrassed. I was exposed. I would have to explain why I had makeup on my shoulders. But that man, that wonderful loving man just shrugged, kissed me and away we went towards our happily ever after.

Insecurity has plagued my mind for as long as I can remember. Oh it’s changed shape over the years, morphing into pride for a “fun” change of pace, but by in large, fighting insecurity, self criticism and a negative monologue has been a part of my day to day. I have spent endless hours at makeup counters trying to hide. So many brands of concealers and foundations and powders emptied and with each empty container thrown to the trash, my insecurity never went with it. I’ve endured the harshest of anti-acne washes and creams and pills all in the hopes to not be noticed. Monthly blood draws to confirm my kidneys were still functioning, my hair thinning and my lips peeling, the side effects seemed worth it; I wouldn’t have to hide my skin. And yet, months later, I was still hiding behind makeup.

I remember hearing the promises “smudge proof, budge proof, long lasting, non comedogenic, anti-aging”. Weary from the constant defeat of makeup failing me and smearing onto the clothes of many a hug, I figured I would try it and prove that it was in fact too good to be true. After all, it was cheaper than my current department store counter makeup; what did I have to lose?

Let me be very clear here: makeup will not fix the underlying lies and fears creating your insecurities. I still struggle with insecurity. Flawless skin is NOT the fix all. But I would be lying if I said that feeling beautiful in your skin isn’t helped by having confidence in your makeup.

For a girl who was constantly double checking my makeup and constantly touching up my powder and constantly adding concealer, now knowing that my makeup will look the same at the end of the day as it did when I first applied has brought so much freedom. It’s been three years since I tried the “magic” makeup I now offer to others at Cassie O Beauty and I will never use another brand. Makeup is no longer something I use to hide behind. Now makeup is used to enhance who I am. And on days when I’m feeling particularly fun, it’s an artistic expression. Getting ready is full of more joy than shame. Throughout the day my mind is occupied by my life and the lives of those around me, not by worrying about my skin. Oh, and hugs? I’ve been missing out because hugs are kind of amazing.