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!

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Endless Possibility

The idea that everything is connected becomes most interesting when applied to ourselves. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your own Butterfly Effect

It is the single tiny thing that caught my eye,

The little curving line below your lip,

That only adorned a true smile,

Or a hearty laugh.

That same little line now traps me

Behind bars of torment and pain,

Each time the memory flashes before me;

A tiny line is carved into me.

And every time I think of your beauty,

Of your magical imperfection

That the line taught me to find in you,

It pushes deeper into the wound

Knowing that I’ll never see the

Tiny part of you

Which started it all

And I can’t help but think

If that mark of happiness

Never accompanied your smile

Would I have ever known you?

Would we ever have been together?

Would I have ever fallen in love?

We are given so many opportunities, it is hard to know which ones we should take. The endless possibility of the world is both exciting and overwhelming.

Relationships are already tough. It only takes one tiny thing, the flap of a butterfly wing, to break. And once the bond that took so long to build has fallen, there’s no going back. It’s unlikely things will ever be the same between those two people. Often, couples wrapped up in love that they become oblivious to the fragile nature of love and relationships. Even the most happy couple could easily be split up within a matter of moments.

Then, there are the forces we cannot control; the forces that cause the death and destruction we can only watch powerlessly.

From the processes that brought us life on this planet, to the processes that brought you the clothes you are wearing, millions of tiny things have built up. So, if one, just one of those things were different, would the end product be the same?

Be it a comfort or a cause of hopelessness, we can’t escape the possibility. We can only try our best at being human and see what becomes of our lives.

A Tiny Little Ring, A Tiny Little Part of Me

Writing 101: The Things We Treasure 

What is my most prized possession?

Since most of my challenge responses are related to childhood, my first thought was my teddy bear. I’ve had him since I was two or three and despite my growth and realization that he isn’t actually that big, he goes by the name of Big Bear. But if I’m honest, I would  be able to sleep without him. I have, a few times. His awkward size meant there wasn’t room in suitcase or rucksacks on trips. That doesn’t mean I don’t want him anymore. I hope to one day pass him on to my son or daughter, however tatty and old.

So, after thinking more deeply, I think that my most prized possession in terms of what it means to me is my ring. Apart from this one ring, I only have a couple of rings, which I don’t wear very often. This ring is a tiny little gold plated one with a heart shaped aquamarine stone, for my astrological sign-Aries. My mum bought it for me when I was thirteen, I think. Ever since she gave it to me, I have always worn it. When I can’t find it after I took it off to get a shower or bath, I have a sudden sense of panic. It seems to have thinned slightly and when I’m not wearing it, it could be mistaken for one of those kiddie’s toy rings.

But the reason this ring means so much to me, is that it reminds me that I am different, and that it’s a good thing. I feel like, even though I don’t really believe in horoscopes (but sometimes it’s fun to see what they say!) embracing a part of me, however tiny, and wearing it everyday makes me feel unique and special.

This ring will always remind my of my mum. And I know that in the future when I’m miles and miles away, studying at university, travelling, living with a partner, building a new family and whatever else I will be reminded of her and how much I love her every time I see the ring.

I have problems with marriage. Having divorced parents and watching the effects of so many failed marriages, I am wary of it. And thinking of rings, symbolizing a commitment, kind of scares me. I have a lot to say about marriage, so I’ll come back to that another time. But what I like about my ring is that it doesn’t have so much meaning and worth at risk. I’ll never have to give back this ring. I’ll never have to take it off to deceive someone (not that I would ever cheat) It can mean a lot to me, or it could seem pretty to me. Its up to me.

Another great thing about this ring is that it’s more likely to stay with me. People grow out of clothes, lose old toys, things get stolen. My hands might get a little wrinkly-or a lot-but they will still wear the ring. I hope that one day my little boy or girl, or one of my grandchildren will point at my ring and ask ‘where did you get that’? And I will tell them how I got it and how I’ve carried it through my life. It’s been through all of the things I have faced. It’s only tiny, and only represents a tiny part of me, but it means the world to me. Thanks, mum, for reminding me that I’m different.

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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.

What do you MEAN?

Here I am, listening to sad songs.

I’m secretly laughing to myself, because I feel like such a stereotypical teenage-emo-kid. I’m really not, honestly!

I like music that has meaning. The real, gritty kind of emotions that can only be expressed in this way, just like the meaning in writing and art. To me, it’s beautiful, even if it’s an angry song, because it’s so genuine.

You can easily get lost in music because of this; for getting tangled up in the artist’s story, their life and their emotions. I like that. I still wish I was less terrible at playing music, because if I were able to bring out the feelings music does in me in someone else, it would just be amazing.

Also, I like the way that music is not just an escape, but an outlet. You can embrace your sadness with a slow sad song, anger with an angry rock song, and it’s okay.

I feel like music transforms the power in the words of the lyrics into something even more beautiful because of the sincerity in the notes. It gives the words life, and-in a way-more meaning.

But before you can do all that, you have to write a kick-ass song, be able to play it and be able to sing! I think this is the first time I’ve been listening to sad music and felt such powerful emotions about my love for music. Usually, all I can think about is my own problems, as I relate them to the issues the singer expresses.

So, I just want to commend all musicians, because I think a world without music would be tragic.