I have combination skin. Oily and dry. I’ll be honest, sometimes, I’m really mad at all you people with beautiful skin, who go out in public with no foundation, or cover up. I also have Rosacea. So yesterday, when I was nominated by my cousin for the “Makeup Free Selfie” Challenge, I was more than a bit mortified. Because, even with makeup, my skin is often red, with blistered sores that the best foundation can’t really hide. So without makeup? Mortifying.
My conversations with hairstylist and estheticians have often been humbling. My colorist would say, “You can’t dye your hair red, you have too much red in your skin for that.” When removing my makeup, the lady giving me what is supposed to be a relaxing facial would make comments like, “Ooooh… so many things happening here, so many things that need attention. This area is really red, and you definitely have some acne here.” Uh yeah, because I came here for a re-cap of what I see in the mirror every day. Thanks for charging me $100 so you could take a few notches off my self-esteem.
But I’m 35, and that’s half-way to 70 years old. At this point, I better have learned a thing or two about who I am, and what I stand for. For those of us who suffer from skin conditions like Acne, Rosacea, Eczema, or scars… there’s a truth we need to embrace, and to teach those around us.
When we smile, it is brighter than our cheeks.
When we are happy, the sparkle in our eyes is more captivating than our pimples.
More importantly, when we live a joyful life, our spirits sing louder than our skin-tone.
We can’t always fix all that is happening with our skin. And people will be mean. People will judge, and so-called ‘beauty’ professionals will sometimes remind us of the world’s definition of beautiful. But let’s remember this: We have lips that can speak love and life to those around us… and those same lips can kiss the people we love! We have hands that can paint a picture, cook delicious meals, help build a well in a 3rd world country, or push our children on a swing. We have feet that can kick a ball on the high school soccer team, run in a race, or take a walk with a friend. We are more than what our makeup mirrors reflect. We have brains that can invent, and create ideas that can change the world if we let them.
We can be bitter and small, paling under the shadow of our imperfect skin.
Or we can be salt and light – bright spots in a dark place, refusing to let the taunts and stares of a shallow world darken our path.
Our worth in this world is not built upon our reflection. It’s in our refraction! The way we allow the goodness inside of us to escape, rebounding off of the people and places around us, creating an illumination of hope and love. We all have that power! We just need to turn on the light switch.
Enough of being defined by the world’s standards of who we need to be, and how we need to look. Enough! We look how we look – which is exactly who we were meant to be. Vow to define yourself, not by the condition of your skin, but by the condition of your heart and mind. Craft them and shape them into something beautiful, and your reflection will naturally follow. Oh, not because your acne will magically clear up, but because your heart will help your eyes adjust in focus.
As for life and love? I remember the first time I had to remove my makeup in front of my husband. Back when we were dating, I came out of the bathroom, sort of hiding my face, and sheepishly explained that I had Rosacea, and that my skin was awful, and that I’m sorry… More than five years later, I can’t believe that I wanted to hide who I truly was from the person who would love me more than any other. He held up my chin, kissed my cheeks, and told me he loved me. He didn’t care about my skin except that he wanted to make me feel better, and now, he happily pays for me to see the best dermatologists in NYC. Because that’s what love is – and none of us need to settle for anyone less than someone who, when all the falseness is stripped away, still only sees our heart.
I’m sure you won’t catch me a whole lot without makeup on. I prefer to cover up the redness. But that’s for me, not for you, or anyone else I might encounter at the grocery store. And for all of you who struggle like I do, I want you to know that I see you – I see past your pimples and pinkness. I see your mind and your heart. I know there’s a bright light in there, ready to radiate out of you! Shine it brightly! And everyone else will see it, too.