Image and Makeup

Being a teenage girl means that I am in one of the groups that is, arguably, under the most pressure to fit into society’s expectations of how to look. For me, the topic seems unavoidable as image is constantly the focus of the media.

The other day I was watching an educational YouTube video on one of the novels I’m studying at the moment and as I scrolled down the comments I was met with line after line not on the content of the video, but the woman’s appearance. I felt angry that the commenters actively chose to ignore people’s views and ideas to focus on their appearance. Not only this, but it seems that image decides the quality of the video. This is only one little example, but it’s an issue that I think needs to be talked about.

Makeup…

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With or without?

Some people think that women and girls must make a conscious choice: to wear or not to wear makeup. (That is the question!) Those in favour of no makeup may argue that we shouldn’t feel the need to impress others or feel pressured to cover up our insecurities.

I choose to wear makeup pretty much every day because it makes me feel comfortable and gives me confidence. Sometimes its the boost I need to make me feel able to do and try things, however simple, like introducing myself to a stranger or putting up my hand in class. I don’t think people should say that wearing makeup is always a bad thing for this reason. Though I agree we should accept and embrace ourselves, including flaws and insecurities, gaining confidence often comes from ‘fake it til you make it’. Makeup is a way of ‘faking it’ in a way, and this is why it is important to me. When I see people without makeup I respect them for either having the confidence to ‘bare’ themselves or just not caring what people think.

When I’m still half asleep on a school morning, trying to get my eyeliner to look even, (which is pretty darn hard) I often think angrily, why don’t boys have to do this? That’s just one of those things that has developed in our society that is hard to understand sometimes when you think hard about it, but is so familiar to us that it just seems natural.

Makeup is strange when you really think about it. We paint our faces like a blank canvas. Yet we aren’t blank. We have these sometimes amazing and sometimes not-so-amazing features. Freckles and dimples and beautiful eyes of blue, green, grey, brown, hazel. Lips someone secretly wishes to kiss and a cute little nose. Believe it or not, someone out there finds what you call your horrible chin quite attractive. Maybe not on its own, but because it makes up the beautiful, amazing, unique, special person that is you whoever you are. It’s okay to hide those features under foundation if you want to, and it’s okay to feel happy showing them. People may judge you, but you have to let them do that and let their nasty words and  cruel looks go over your head. In my opinion the important thing is acceptance and confidence. Accept yourself as your whole self, faults and all, ‘covered up’ or ‘bare’, and you have the key to confidence!

How to be (or try your best to be) a good friend

Being a friend is one of the most important roles we have in life. Without friends life wouldn’t just be boring-we wouldn’t have anyone to laugh about all the stupid mistakes we make, ring up when we feel worthless and pour out our hearts to and share our passion for XYZ.

We make friends with people for a number of reasons. Proximity: the first person we see on our first day at school at the sandtray can often turn out to be our best friend just for that reason. Then there’s a shared interest or passion. The main point is that we have a choice with friends, unlike family. Though, some people don’t seem to realise this-me being one of them for a long time.

At age sixteen experienced is one thing I am not. However, I’ve had enough of them to know a fair bit about friends. And I can honestly say that I am not a bad friend. So here are my five tips based on what I have learned about friendship.

  1. Honesty. This isn’t just important. This quality can tell you straight away whether or not you should be friends with someone in the first place. Liars aren’t friends. The issue is being able tell if someone is lying. It took me two years to realise that my ‘best friend’ when I was ten was manipulating me and I was allowing her to bully me because I believed her lies. I let her tell me that I wasn’t clever or good enough and that knock to my confidence still affects me today. I was in such a close friendship with her that even when I had recognised that I was unhappy, I took a long time to break off our friendship. But it was worth all the tears and upset because now I have a much better set of friends. My closest friends are the ones I can trust to be open with and we are just honest with each other. I mean, you don’t have to tell them everything. Some things you have the right to keep to yourself. Most of my friends don’t know that I had counselling a few months ago. My family doesn’t even know that either. That doesn’t mean I’m a liar, though. That is my personal information to share with the people that I want to tell and hide from those that I don’t. My point is that I believe the importance in honesty is not spilling your every last secret to the other person, but feeling comfortable and happy enough to share your thoughts, feelings and ideas freely.
  2. YOU. A friendship is a relationship between two people and, of course, one of them is you. So be you! I don’t have much confidence, but I am not afraid to be me. I’ll be honest, sometimes I get tired of being me and I wish that I could be someone else, but I can’t and I just have to embrace my personality. Then again, if you’re in a pretty bad mood it doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to act happy for your friends. Being yourself is also being human, meaning you are allowed to have days where you feel terrible. Friends are there to help you through those times.
  3. THEM. And of course, there is the friend. Don’t be so wrapped up in your own life, problems and drama that you forget about theirs. There must be a balance of support between both friends for the relationship to work. So let them be THEM. They are allowed to be upset, angry, cranky just like you are. And even if you don’t quite understand how they feel, they need you to be there.This is really important because it’s easy to disregard something just because it doesn’t make any sense to us. But just showing the support they need is sometimes enough to help you friend. Though, you must know them and want to know about them. Tiny things build up, so let them tell you about their grandma’s favourite type of tea or their secret ability to ride a unicycle. You don’t have to remember every detail, but how can you expect to be friends with someone if you aren’t interested in them? This is what I find key in making new friends. Trying to ask questions about them is so much more effective than waffling about yourself. Don’t turn into the person that stops listening until it’s their turn to talk! Like I said, it’s all about balance.
  4. Fun. Relationships can be complicated, difficult and just plain confusing; especially during the teenage years when there’s bitching, gossiping, immaturity, hormones, drama and all that jazz. However, we mustn’t forget that friendship IS about having fun as well as the mutual support. Often having fun comes from just being yourself and letting go. A lot of people seem to think that those who laugh loudest and act craziest have the most fun. Well, I don’t think that’s true at all. Most of the times I’ve had a load of fun have been simply hanging out, walking to and from school and on the odd occasion through a phone call. We didn’t need alcohol. We didn’t have to do anything particularly silly or stupid. We didn’t need to force it. We simply made jokes or chatted or played twister (yes, I know I’m sixteen years old. Yes, it’s still acceptable to play twister, I don’t care what anyone thinks. ) and had some fun.
  5. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Don’t beat yourself up about it. People change, things change, life moves on. Some friends will stick with you and some won’t-just like you do or don’t for others. Seeing people around school that I was once very close to laughing and talking with people I don’t even know is hard, especially when I wonder how things might have been different if I  hadn’t let our friendship fizzle out. But then I have to remind myself of all the great things I could have missed if that had happened. So the most important thing I believe to remember is to make sure you hold on to the friends you really love, and the for the ones you lose, there will be more to make. And even if you fight and do things you regret, there are ways back if they were (are!) a true friend. I called up my friend who now goes to a different school today. I haven’t seen her in person since October and I couldn’t help feeling kind of sad that I don’t see her everyday like I used to. I don’t make silly doodles in the margins of her notebooks or flick through mine to find hers. She doesn’t sit with me at lunchtime and laugh at the way I eat a panini. We don’t look across the room at each other and laugh at something only we find funny. But that’s okay. I mean, there isn’t going to be someone to do all of those things and be the brilliant person and friend the way she had, but there will be new people that do other things. One day I will look back and there will be so many memories and little things people do that makes part of their personality and part of their friendship with me that I won’t remember them all. That cheers me up.

In the end,the key to friendship and being a good friend is not through a set of rules. There is no recipe (and even if it was, it would be a souffle or something pretty darn hard!).

When you’re little your parents and schoolteachers try to teach you to be kind and respectful and polite. But they don’t teach you how to deal with the huge number of assholes you come across in your life. You have to make your way past them and learn to let go of them when you realise that no, they are not friends, they are simply assholes.

Even when you find the best friend or the group of friends you love, no one tells you that puberty and parents deciding to move across the country and just change in general have chosen to shake everything up like a tacky snowglobe. You land on the ground and have to start rebuilding again, whether it’s your fault or not. And that’s before people start dating. No one warns you that you are going to end up being the fifth wheel on what should be a double date; or that you and your best friend would have a crush on the same person. Or even that you might have to face heartbreak alone.

Friendship is harder than it seems. Often harder than romantic relationships. But I know that it’s worth it. It’s worth all of the tears, all of the lonely years and all of the pain because one day you look around and every face you see you trust and love.

This was a (late, sorry!) response to the writing challenge for Writing 201

Hermit

I’m done with the male species, or maybe

It’s away from all people I wish to flee:

The first ever spinster sixteen years old,

In the future my story will be told

I’ll be a hermit in a cave somewhere,

With a  small sign to say: strangers beware!

Alone with my thoughts to write out all day,

And read books until I’m all old and grey.

Happy little hermit, that’s what I’ll be,

Of the problems of people I’ll be free;

No need for makeup, no one to impress,

I can even bare my hairy legs, yes!

I’ll die alone an old sagging soul,

Smiling as death swallows my body whole-

Because I lived a content cave dweller,

They’ll write my tale into a bestseller.


(just to clarify, this is a jokey poem. I don’t actually want to become a hermit, though sometimes the idea is tempting!)

Writing 101: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

As I pressed my face into the comfort of my thickly sleeved arms, I did not think of the collection of bodies around me. Bodies talking, bodies laughing, bodies just sitting. I let my chin rest on the table. Wrapped in my own arms, I was protected from the awkward silences, the loneliness, the jokes not intended for me. In my small cocoon the sound of voices was soothing. All I could hear was the rhythm of their sounds, not caring for their words. I didn’t care what they thought. I didn’t care if I looked like I was crying. I wasn’t crying. I didn’t feel enough of anything to do that. My chin buzzed. Someone’s phone was going off on the table. I flicked my eyelids open, realizing that they had been closed all this time. The pale grain of the table filled my vision. For a few moments I followed the lines, hopping to new ones when they ended. Then, the vibrating phone had finished it’s plea for attention. I tightened the warmth and darkness with a gentle pull of my arms, closing my eyes consciously this time.

I could feel the grooves of my knitted jumper pressing an imprint into my forehead. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to sit there forever, holding my tired and sad head. I ignored the odd pokes and rustles attempting to rouse me at first; but soon I had blocked them out completely, I was in my own world. Just like I had tuned out of the words, I turned all sounds into my own lullaby. But I didn’t want to sleep. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but at that moment I was not going to move.

My cheeks began to grow hot, but a warmth I desired. I had been cold and lonely for too long. Here, in my own little space, none of that mattered. I remembered the rawness of my pink hands as they hung limply by my sides. I never really swung my arms much. Sometimes they called me a monkey.

This moment of quiet, lone weariness was like those long lazy stretches of time when you are just falling to sleep. Not quite there, but slowly losing grip of consciousness, slowly letting yourself be taken by dreams. Yes, this was like holding a dream. Time was becoming distorted, and I wondered how long I had been there. It could have been minutes or hours, it made no difference. I judged by the hum of noise that had lowered slightly that less bodies were surrounding me. Bodies gone to re adjust their faces and hair, bodies gone to fill up their brains with pieces if knowledge.

Somehow the sharp ring of the bell did not surprise me. It did not jolt me back up, back out of my trance. I slowly loosened my arms and allowed myself up. And I traipsed off to join the bodies, pretending to fill up my brain with a teacher’s supposedly useful chatter. But my brain was elsewhere.

The New Girl In Town

Hello bloggers,

My name is Lucinda and I am sixteen year old with aspirations to one day become a successful writer. At sixteen I’m still not sure what kind of writer, but maybe this blog will help me find out. My goal is to express my emotions and ideas in different forms, including poetry and short stories. I chose to start blogging because although writing a personal journal has always been something I have enjoyed, the idea of a community where I can talk to people who understand me and can relate to my situation is something that I am keen to be part of. The topics I’d like to write about are family and relationships, being a teenager, society and culture.

If my blog is successful, I hope to grow in confidence so that I believe in myself and I believe in my ability to write. Another accomplishment I would like to achieve is a relationship either as a reader or with readers of my work (hopefully both) that inspires me to write in new and exciting ways.

I can see that these ideas might be bold, daring and ambitious for a shy sixteen year old girl, but this place is, what seems to me, the kind of platform where nobody can shoot down my dreams or tell me I’m not good enough.

Finally, I want to say that I look forward to reading this in the future and hope for the success I will strive to achieve in this blog by trying, failing and learning from my mistakes-the way I always work.