As I was sitting in the bathroom reapplying my fake tan, right after spending the night getting my fake nails put on, something occurred to me. Why is it that I put this sort of effort into my appearance?
I’ve got one word for you: self-esteem. (After having a debate as to whether that is one or two words, can confirm is one). Other than getting that Offspring song stuck in my head, the whole concept of self-esteem really gets me thinking.
I mean in terms of why I get my nails done and put fake tan on the answers are obvious. 1. Fake nails stop you chewing your actual nails (gross but true), 2. So I can look more Italian, which is obviously any Italian-Australian’s life goal.
So really, neither of those things are really a self-esteem issue. But I do remember being 14 years old and being super judgemental of the people who did these exact same things. It brings me back to the original question, why put in all this effort? Perhaps some people do feel embarrassed by the whiteness of their skin (I mean same, but that’s a racial issue and for another day), or maybe they put layers upon layers of makeup on to cover up some nasty acne scarring?
Funnily enough back in the day when I was 14 and had the same amount of self esteem as Donald Trump has brain cells, caking on layers of makeup along with drawing on eyeliner so thick that I’d be giving Taylor Momsen a run for her money, was very much about being ashamed.
Now days you still won’t see me leave the house** without a layer of foundation and winged eyeliner on at the least, but just like the fake tan and the fake nails it’s not really a self esteem issue anymore. In some ways it’s the exact opposite.
I could go on a massive rant about how messed up it is that young girls are so ashamed of the way they look at this age, and I know it’s not just me. I had a friend who covered up every mirror in her house because her self-esteem was that bad. I could go on about how it’s a collective issue of tv shows hiring 20-year-old actors to play 15-year-old characters, or magazines advertising EVERY possible beauty product under the sun (obviously including fake tan).
Instead I’m trying to work out what was the exact moment where I told myself that stuff didn’t matter? I know for certain that I am not entirely comfortable in my own skin, but I do know that I’m getting there. I know that instead of trying to cover up how I look with layers of makeup I use simple products to highlight one of my favourite features, that being my eyes.
Source: Amity Bailey
I guess the point I’m trying to get at is, even despite the acrylics at the ends of my hands, or the not-so-natural glow (which did I mention is completely skin cancer free), or those little black strokes which seem to be permanently on my eyelids, it’s not necessarily a self-esteem issue, it’s about showing the world your best face, literally and metaphorically.
**the small exception to this rule is either on the rare occasion I have to be somewhere before 6am or the just as rare occasion I’m doing some sort of physical exercise