Have you been feeling like a less-pretty version of yourself lately? Did you put on the COVID “nineteen” during quarantine (because survival snacks) and leggings or sweat pants are all that fits you right now? Has your makeup formed a mutiny against you due to neglect? Are your roots chasing your highlights straight into the rebellious arms of split ends? Are your feet suffering from heat stroke as you hide your non-pedicured tootsies inside of closed-toed shoes in the peak heat of summer? If you answered YES (or perhaps something a little more snarky) to any of these, then my friend, rest assured that you are not riding solo on that struggle bus.
During “quarantine” you could say that I took a more minimalist approach to makeup. So minimal in fact, that I pretty much wore next to none. Okay, none. I wore none… most of the time anyway. What? I was unemployed, we had just moved to Wilmington, I didn’t know a soul up here (still kind of don’t) and therefore had no one really to impress other than my sister and her family… and my husband, of course. OK look, I’m just lucky I reeled him in like the catch he is while in the prime (and metabolism) of my early twenties! I thank the good Lord he comes home every night because he sees me without makeup and shapewear and knows exactly what lies beneath all of this accessorizing!
Anyway, there have been days over the last few months when I’d look in the mirror and resent the disheveled bag lady staring back at me with her judgy concealer-less eyes. I’d then resolve to put on a light layer of CC cream, dust on a little contouring makeup and, if I got REALLY carried away, applied some blush, lip gloss and mascara too. Because from time to time my man deserved to come home to the pretty wife he thought he married, even in quarantine!
I had a little trouble at first, partly because I had become so pale and ghostly after the winter months that by March my CC cream was too dark for me, which was already the second palest shade in the line, mind you. So not only did I have to make peace with this new level of pasty-facedness (or risk walking around like my face had been photoshopped onto a nocturnal person’s body), I now had to decommission our night light because my mere presence was enough to light up a dark room in the middle of the night. In certain lights during the daytime, you might even swear that my complexion was not only glow-in-the-dark, but also just the slightest bit see-through too. Seriously, if not for the Stay-At-Home / Social Distancing Orders, I could have set up an amusement attraction and charged for admission: “Palest, Most Pasty, Possibly-Vampire Woman on Earth! BYO sunglasses or purchase from the souvenir stand. Not responsible for any apparent blindness as a result of looking directly into the whiteness.”
While the attraction didn’t work out, I did, however, issue a similar warning to my family before venturing out into the backyard in shorts and a tank top — they were all very grateful for my deep consideration of their sense of sight (no really, that happened). I also may have skipped a couple days of smoothing out my legs that week, so I felt that a fair warning was also appropriate that day.
Anyway, after going as long as I could without makeup, I gave into the judgy bag-lady-in-the-mirror’s demands, bit the bullet and purchased that CC cream in the palest of pale shades available. Thankfully, I ended up having to mix it 50/50 with my original shade for just the right coloration (er… pale-oration). The silver lining here was that I was actually only half a shade lighter than I had thought. Phew! That was close.
Sadly, since I had neglected my makeup for so long, I opened up my cosmetics bag to try and remember how it all worked and there it was: my poor little Beauty Blender, nearly catatonic, cowering in the darkest corner of my bag, wondering what it had done to deserve such neglectful mistreatment. My mascara had clearly lost the will to live after going weeks on end without even a little shake or twist of the lid. And don’t even get me started on my Liquid Lipstick, where the colors that had once married together so nicely for the perfect raspberry hue got so sick of their togetherness during quarantine that they appeared to have filed for separation. What had I done?!?!!
The first thing I had to do was perform CPR on my Beauty Blender, splashing it with cold water and giving it several palpitations until it finally plumped back up. Next, I shed a few tears with my mascara (AKA added contact solution) to let it know I still valued all that it had to offer on the inside — and just like that, Stila got her groove back! And finally, my Liquid Lipstick agreed that there were in fact no truly irreconcilable differences after all, though admittedly, I did have to stir things up a bit to get that loving feeling back. It was touch and go there for a while, but Justin and I had made plans for our first date night, post-coronapocalypse and I was not about to make him take a disheveled bag lady out on the town!
So now that my little beauty besties are back in working order, I’m eager to reunite with the outside world on a regular basis. I even accepted an opportunity recently as a Bridal Stylist here in Wilmington, accessorizing brides and making their mommas cry (in a good way). Fun little tidbit: I technically only need to make my eyes look pretty while out and about, now that we are required to wear face-masks in public places statewide. Good thing Tyra Banks taught us all how to “smize” on America’s Next Top Model. Although, there’s just something about knowing you’ve got some sassy lip color going on underneath that mask to give your confidence a little boost. It’s like my mom has always said, “knowledge is power… you don’t always need to share everything you know.” So… why did I go on a self-deprecating rant about my quarantine beauty regimen (or lack thereof) and unearth my flaws for all the interwebs?
Because it’s part of my journey, even if it is by way of the “struggle bus”. But here’s another part — what I know in my heart to be true, what is well worth sharing, and that I often need to remind myself of these days, post-quarantine (and feel free to say these with me): I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am known by my Maker and loved despite my biggest flaws and failures. I am more precious to Him than the rarest, most expensive gems. I am still my husband’s beloved, the one his soul loves. While I am a people pleaser by nature, the approval of people is not what makes me special (and if it was, I’d be in a world of perpetual hurt). I am so thankful that God does not love or judge me the way people do — people look at the outer appearance, but God looks at the heart.
Every anxious thought riddled with self doubt is actually having to scream and shout over my Creator singing over me. I just need to allow Him to take captive those negative, invasive thoughts and quiet them with His love and truth. It also helps to approach each struggle with a thankful heart and intentional awareness of His unmatched goodness. It really shouldn’t be so hard to do — I mean, His beauty is so incredibly evident in the symphonies and artistry of nature alone; but just because it is there doesn’t mean I automatically pay attention to it — I still have to actually make the effort to open my eyes and ears to take it all in.
Which reminds me — thanks to the gorgeous weather we had during the latter part of the shut-down, we spent lots of time outdoors! I’m not only back to my original shade of CC cream, but I’ve somehow managed to achieve what I consider to be a “tan” (or normal people’s “pale“). Literally, for the first time in my 29+ years on this earth, I was actually referred to as “TAN” a few weeks ago! HA!!! Miracles do happen, friend.
You are the beautiful creation God specifically designed to walk the earth, just as you are, perfectly imperfect, for such a time as this.
So to wrap it all up, I am constantly learning to how to find the beauty in the journey that He has so meticulously mapped out for me, and I’ll be the first to admit that some days it is more perceivable than others. But, much like reviving my beauty besties above, when we make an effort to seek out His goodness, the more goodness we will find. And we may just have to resuscitate our spiritual tools too, like quiet time and meditating on scripture. Below are a few verses to help along the way — just know this: You are the beautiful creation God specifically designed to walk the earth, just as you are, perfectly imperfect, for such a time as this.
- Proverbs 31:30
- Psalm 139:1-18
- Proverbs 3:13-18
- 1 Samuel 16:7
- Philippians 4:6-7
- Zephaniah 3:17
- Psalm 19
- Psalm 8:1-4
- Isaiah 40:26
- 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Philippians 4:8
- Esther 4:14
- Philippians 1:4-6
Just one more thing… listening to few upbeat, swoonworthy 90’s-00’s boyband classics never hurts either! Feel free to use my Boyband Wonder playlist on Spotify (below) to put a smile on your face, even on your frumpiest of days. I mean, what girl doesn’t want Justin Timberlake and the boys of *NSYNC serenading them with God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, or One Direction telling you What Makes You Beautiful, am I right? Enjoyyy! 😉