I remember the first time I put on lipstick. I was four, and I was hooked. Out shopping in the dead of winter, I asked my mom for chapstick and all she could produce was a berry red Clinique lipstick in a moment of desperation. I saw myself in the mirror and from that moment on, I never looked back. As I got older, I would practice applying makeup on anyone who would let me. I was the only 4th grader who would try to go to school with a full face, until my parents would send me to the bathroom to take it off. I just couldn’t get enough.
I never considered myself an artistic individual, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized that I could do more than just apply lipstick really well. It became an outlet for me, the same way people my age were using sports or theater as an outlet for themselves. High school was rough with multiple family members getting seriously ill, pressures of college creeping up and just the added hormones of being a teenager. I felt the most zen in the morning when I could sit and just apply mascara and not have to think. Friends started asking me to do their makeup for proms, dances, weddings etc., and I finally felt like I found my niche. It felt nice to be recognized for having a talent in something I was really passionate about.
College was when my anxiety was at its highest. Managing living three hours away from home, balancing school work, a job, and a social life got the best of me at some points, but there was always one thing I could sit down and focus on--makeup. And it wasn’t a vanity thing; I felt confident enough to go out without a stitch of makeup on my face, but it was more of an art form that I just loved so much. Girls now were paying me at this point to doll them up for formals or Saturday nights, which gave me a boost of confidence knowing that people thought I was good enough to pay me.
During final exams, most people would wake up early the day of and cram last bits of information in while they still had the chance. I was in my bathroom working on my winged liner. Don’t get me wrong, I studied very hard but we all know that trying to remember information 30 minutes before the test isn’t going to help and will just stress you out even more. Applying makeup calmed me. My roommates would laugh at the fact that I was probably the only one in the class who looked like she was going to a fancy dinner and not a final exam. All I could do was shrug and say, ‘you’re probably right!’ I saw a lot of kids turn to hard drugs and drinking when the pressure got to be too much. I turned to lipstick and that was perfectly fine with me.
Post college, I fell into a real funk. I went through a breakup right after graduation, I wasn’t getting job offers, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything with my life--I was scared. I didn’t wear makeup that whole summer unless I really had to. Nothing could cheer me up.
Fall came before I knew it, and I met a new friend who helped me publish my work on Instagram, and almost a year later I built up the courage to even start a YouTube channel. I still can’t believe how my pages have grown, and it makes me proud to see how I’m getting better and better at my craft. I still have my days of anxiety, but now I sit down and turn on the camera to teach others. I’ve even focused my career path towards working with beauty brands. I learned to take something I thought was just a small, private hobby and turn it into a paycheck. It seemed pretty shallow to me that makeup could make me feel this good, but my mom once told me that no one thinks this way about sports, acting, cooking or whatever else someone’s passion is. She was totally right. And to this day, I feel my most confident when wearing a berry red lipstick.
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