Beauty Vice: Pretty Under One Condition
“Don’t you know your imperfections/Is a wonderful blessing/From Heaven is where you got it from/I love your smile/You can do it without style/From your lips, all the way to your eyebrows/It’s the beauty in her/But when makeup occur/I don’t see it/all I see is a blur.” -- No Makeup (Her Vice), Kendrick Lamar
As the lyrics floated in and out my ears, I couldn’t help it -- these honest and vulnerable lyrics tugged at me. The fresh West Coast rapper, Kendrick Lamar's, debut album, Section 80, was on repeat and "No Makeup" was one of the many songs with lyrics that triggered and intrigued my interest. The song discusses a truth that we all battle with: the mentality that we all have beauty vices and sometimes only feel beautiful under one condition.
That one thing; that one accessory; that one hairstyle; that one lipstick; that one environment; that one pair of earrings. Even as small as it may seem, we all have at least one item and/or thing that we rely on to feel truly beautiful. Some of us have been depending on that “thing” for so long in our lives that we do not even see it as a crutch anymore. Now, I know when we get all dolled up we tend to feel more confident and have a little more sass, but it also affects our everyday life. In the media, beauty and fashion industry ads make you feel as if you need a certain product or look to feel accepted as being truly beautiful.
I remember an older lady, about 65 years of age, admitted to me that she's been married over 25 years and her husband has not seen her and will never see her without wig or weave. I was sure she could tell how shocked and surprised I was by the expression on my face, but she still simply told me, “I don’t feel beautiful without it.” After this statement, it kind of shook me a tad. The thought finding the man of my dreams, and then marrying him, and still not feeling comfortable in my own skin is scary. Even in regular relationships, we tend to be so caught up in trying to impress or keep the attention of the man, so we slowly begin to find more and more items to rely on in order to capture his attention.
Finding and feeling truly beautiful with every aspect of yourself is a life long journey. As we get older, more and more layers begin to un-peel until we find the core of ourselves. One way we continue to allow our self beauty to grow is by taking time to truly look in the mirror, and not just literally. Towards the end of the Kendrick Lamar's song, the young lady’s dependency on make up was caused by an abusive relationship -- a deep, powerful, and unfortunate truth for too many women. I’m not saying that each woman has as an extreme situation as that one. Similarly, low self-esteem can stem from something as seemingly small as being teased on the playground as an adolescent to always feeling like an outsider because of one’s look. So instead of facing the problem, and accepting every part of you, you decide to cover it up or ‘fix it.’ Having a variety of makeup, hairstyle choices, and clothes is perfectly fine as long as it’s by choice and is something that you do not ‘have’ to rock to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Do you have any beauty vices that you rely on? Sound Off!
- Ellisa Oyewo