Growing up I was an over-weight chubby child. I wasn’t blessed with the best of looks either and people around me always made sure to make me realize this. I was awkward to the point of being nerdy and dorky. My mother was an orthodox catholic and my siblings and I weren’t allowed to wear any makeup or beauty products.
My mother was authoritative to the point of being unreasonable and this helicopter parenting turned me into THE AWKWARD girl at school. I was bullied for being different; not cool like other kids. All this bullying resulted in me being anxious, depressed, and low in self-esteem.
I stopped socializing completely and grew up having no friends. I was constantly looking for, and thinking about ways to change my physical appearance. As we were not allowed to wear any makeup, I started making lip-balms with coconut oil at home using my mother’s old lipstick to add a tint. This is the probably only positive outcome that came out of my overly strict upbringing; I learned a skill.
When I was 15, I developed an eating disorder. I stopped eating and felt guilty after eating even a grape. I became too thin, still loved the compliments I started to get on my weight loss. No one realized the self-destructive behavior behind it. The thing that most people don’t understand about eating disorders is that they have nothing to do with food. An eating disorder is an extremely unhealthy way of dealing with emotional problems. The reason why even after losing all these extra pounds I wasn’t confident enough, something was still missing.
My older sister knew about my struggle with self-esteem as I always confided in her. On my 16th birthday, she gifted me a Clinique kit that included two small lip-glosses, two tinted lip balms, which came in really cute packaging. One small eyeshadow palette (with only three nude shades), one mascara, and one blush on. This was my first stash of makeup. The kit was small enough to hide in my bag. Every day, I used to wear makeup in the school bathroom and wiped my face before coming back home.
Psychology suggests that overly strict parents raise the best liars, and I was the living proof of it. After I started wearing makeup, I noticed a difference in my confidence. The first time in years I took part in a school play, went on stage, and performed in front of (at least) 700 people. On that day I decided to come clean with my mother about me wearing makeup and about her unreasonable restrictions. As expected, my mother was disapproving. Still, I told her I was going to live my life on my terms. I wasn’t asking to be immodest, just the basic liberties, I just wanted to breathe.
I made a friend; a good friend who invited me over to her house, the first time in years. Humans are social creatures; just as our body needs food for nourishment and withers when we don’t eat enough, making us sick, When our need for social interaction is not fulfilled, our mind gets sick. Growing up as an antisocial nerd may leave major flaws in one’s personality.
I was trying to fix myself; it wasn’t a rebellion against my mother. My friend helped me cope with my eating disorder. She was like a free therapist to me. My life started to get back on track, the only thing lacking was my mother’s approval; she stopped talking to me. I am still not over the narcissistic parenting of my mother.
As time passed and my makeup skills got better, I started posting makeup tutorials on Instagram.
Most kids at my school saw me for the first time. I got a mixed response. Some kids didn’t want a dork to become cool and posted hateful comments, others were encouraging and the rest didn’t want anything to do with me; they were mere spectators.
I kept on posting my tutorials. Soon I started to gain more followers. People started to recognize me as, “the makeup girl”. Makeup became my drag; it was a mask, behind which I felt safe. I built a persona for myself; the makeup girl. She wore makeup and she was invincible, She could do anything, She was confident.
How I used this newfound fame to earn money:
As I mentioned I learned how to make organic lip balms at home. I decided to use my newfound fame for something productive. I could make lip-balms for girls like me who were not allowed to wear makeup. I contacted a local packaging company to get custom lip-balm boxes at wholesale rates. I marketed my product specifically to conventional families so that mothers like mine would at least let their girls wear it. The product became popular after I decided to share my struggle online, so people like me would know they’re not alone. Soon this venture became more than just a business to me. I was getting DMs from other girls who faced the same trouble with their parents. People were confiding in me.
I felt accomplished after doing something nice for others.
All parents need to understand that their actions have consequences. Their parenting styles can make or break their child’s personality. Makeup is not your enemy, not everyone is born the same, our imperfections are what make us unique. I’m not saying that you let your child wear makeup because they think their natural self is not worthy enough, but just to give them a kick start; to let them feel more confident around people. Wearing makeup has been scientifically proven to help elevate women’s confidence.