How a bullying incident brought out newfound confidence
As someone who is majoring in the Business of Beauty & Fragrance, it's obvious that I have a huge appreciation for makeup and skincare. I guess the girly girl phase I discovered in middle school never truly left my now 21-year-old self.
I was 14 when I was introduced to the glitz and glamour of fashion and beauty. My sister, being five years older, had already gone through that phase, so I received all her hand-me-downs. With makeup she didn’t want and clothes she no longer needed, I recreated looks from YouTube tutorials and Teen Vogue (cringe, I know).
As you might have guessed, I was one of those girls who woke up early just to do her makeup. But I didn’t find it taxing at all. I looked forward to getting ready because I found it therapeutic. By senior year, I gradually lessened the time and effort I put into making myself up. I was perfectly fine going to school with barely anything on and no one seemed to care. Until I got to college.
I spent my freshman year in Hong Kong, where I attended an art school that appreciated self-expression—or so I thought. At that point, I had owned a large bag of cosmetics I hadn’t used in a while since my makeup game slowly depleted by the end of high school. I wore a full face every day to use up what I had and also to experiment with different looks. I have to admit, it was a bit much but I wanted to go all out anyway. I was free to do whatever I wanted in an art school where everyone else did the same.
I thought that drama would no longer exist in college. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that just because you’re willing to help out anyone doesn’t mean they’ll do the same for you.
One evening, I consoled a “friend” who was going through a rough patch. I suggested that we’d put on the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask because I was about to go to bed and well, self-care. If you know the effects of the face mask, it tends to make your face extremely red and unflattering for a few minutes. As someone who turns red very easily, it was inevitable.
The person who was confiding in me, snuck a picture and sent it to her entire group of friends. Of course, it spread like wildfire in such a small college campus. I became known as the girl who was “fake” for not looking like my day-to-day full face.
It was a pretty traumatic experience if I’m being honest. I threw out most of my makeup and went on a skincare spree. I did everything I could to clear out my skin and went to school every day with less on.
I held a brave face and pretended like nothing happened even if I felt horrible. Over time, I learned how to be comfortable in my skin. It took one unfortunate incident to break me down. But I realized that the photo captured one moment in time where my skin wasn’t at its best. It was one moment. It wouldn’t be like that forever.
Other than learning that not everyone has your best interest at heart, this experience encouraged me to take care of myself in more ways than one.
You owe it to yourself to love all the parts of you that others won’t
Yes, that event crushed me, but it taught me to appreciate what’s underneath the surface. It took me a while to be courageous and content with my bare face. And you know what? Sometimes that ounce of courage disappears. When my under eyes are darker than usual or when my skin isn’t as smooth, I feel bouts of insecurity. But when people choose to put you down is when you have to—need to show up for yourself. Because you owe it to yourself to embrace you, flaws included.
Spend less on makeup and more on skincare
Your skin isn’t something you can replace, so treat it well. But by all means, have fun with makeup! I still own enough to pull off a full face whenever I want, which just isn't as frequently as I used to. Makeup isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s a pleasurable experience that you should do solely for yourself. Just remember that your skin needs nurturing, too.
Skincare can be expensive but there are a ton of alternatives out there that perform just as well as luxury products.
Take care of yourself holistically
This unfortunate event happened during the last quarter of my freshman year in college. I had a lot riding on my shoulders. I was so busy finishing schoolwork and writing for a magazine that I forgot to take care of myself. I barely drank eight glasses of water a day, I never had a full eight hours of sleep and my meals weren’t the healthiest. My skin was the worst it had ever been.
Do yourself a favor: carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and energize yourself with all four food groups. If that's not enough, take yourself out for a walk or phone a friend to ease your mind. When stress takes over your body, it really shows. And when it does, you have to listen and pay attention to it.
Because if you don't, then who else will?
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Words Marga Sibug
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver