As a kid, I was never confident. There were a good number of things I hated about myself – but most of all, I really, really hated my freckles. More than anything.I’d be so envious of my friends who had clear, flawless skin. I viewed my freckles like a disease and honestly felt like I’d drawn the short straw in the genetics lottery – which I realise now is ridiculous!
When I discovered makeup though, it felt amazing to be able to cover up what had made me feel so bad about myself. But even though I felt more confident in makeup, underneath it all, I still hated my freckles, and felt so unattractive without makeup on. If I was staying at a boys house, I would wake up early to put makeup on, or (and this was often the case) I would just sleep with my makeup on – sorry skin! The idea of being without makeup made me feel physically nervous. I felt like my natural self would put people off me, and felt so envious of any girls who could pull off the ‘au naturel’ vibe. For me, makeup became something I relied on to make me feel myself.
Now, I obviously still love makeup now – I love how it can change how you look and how you feel – but over the years, I’ve gradually learnt to feel happy in my natural skin too. I’ve toned down how much makeup I wear every day, and learnt to embrace my naturally freckly skin. I will even happily go without makeup – in fact, I love those days when I leave my skin to breathe. And life would certainly be difficult if I still had to hide my natural skin from my partner of 7 years! But it doesn’t bother me like it used to, because I now know that my natural state isn’t going to scare the living daylights out of anyone. No, I’m not one of those girls who looks as good makeupless as she does with it on (who the hell does?!), but I know that all of the flaws that I used to hate, are actually just part of who I am.
In part, I think this acceptance of my own flaws is down to my friends and family. I’m lucky to have an amazing group of friends who don’t judge each other on how we look, and a family who I know love me for who I am, not how I look. I remember one of the first times I was 100% makeupless in front of a group of friends – I don’t know if I expected people to gasp in horror or what, but I was surprised when nobody seemed to even notice let alone make any comments about my naked face. It was scary but felt so unbelievably freeing knowing that I could be completely myself and not be judged. And the truth is that good friends and loving family don’t judge you, regardless of what flaws you think you have.
What I really wanted to say with this post is that underneath it all, nobody is perfect. We’re all made to be completely different and it’s our differences that make us unique. We all have flaws and imperfections, but it is how we wear them that is what people are going to notice. Some of the most amazing, confident people that I know are those who embrace the things that make them different. They don’t hide 24/7 under tons of makeup, or cover up their bodies in layers of clothes. They know that worrying about your flaws is only going to make them more obvious to everyone else. Wear them with confidence and all people will see is somebody who is happy and comfortable in their own skin. That’s what real beauty is – and it’s something that many more of us – myself included – need to embrace.