“Beauty Regimen”

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I hate that term.

Beauty regimen.

I know where it [ostensibly] comes from: the use of ‘beauty’ products in a routine; on a daily basis. (This, of course, isn’t a precise use of the word regimen, which specifically refers to (among other things) a routine that contributes to one’s health.¬†Health, as you know, is not the same thing as appearance.)

It starts from an assumption that we need those products in order to be beautiful. That our daily routine of moisturizer, eye cream, toner, eye shadow, lip gloss, whatever, makes us beautiful. That the end goal of using these products is beauty.

Furthermore, it assumes that we need to be beautiful in order to be worthy of esteem. That make-up or other products labeled “beauty” products are a necessary part of our day, and thus constitute a standard regimen. That using make-up or shaving our legs contributes to our health.

Fact 1: You’re beautiful without make up, without shaving your legs, without any of these products. You do not need to pay companies oodles of money to be beautiful, because beauty is determined by what’s inside.
(I’m talkin’ metaphorical insides here, not your intestines or lungs or whatever. Internal organs are actually pretty gross.)

It’s cheesy, but it’s true. Deal with it.

Fact 2: There is nothing wrong with using make-up or any of these other products, but make sure you’re using them for the right reasons.

It took me a long time to realize that the reason I was using make-up was fucked up. I was using it so I’d be more attractive to the opposite sex. I was using it so boys would like me.

I wasn’t alone. A lot of my friends, when I was growing up, would put make-up on before going to sleep so they’d wake up looking “fresh and beautiful”. This was especially true at any sort of slumber-party-type-event (yes, I went to those well into high school, shut up).

At some point, I clued in: if a dude didn’t like me without my make-up, he didn’t deserve to be with me, around me, near me, or in contact with me.

But I didn’t stop wearing it. I stopped wearing it every day, but I’ve never stopped wearing make up, or shaving my legs, or painting my nails.

Not for beauty. These things do not constitute a beauty regimen for me — my only beauty regimen is being my own fabulous self, because I’m fucking gorgeous already.

No, I have my own reasons for doing these things. I shave my legs because when they’re hairy, they’re boar’s hair hairy, and the feeling of clothing on that is shudder-inducing. I also prefer being able to rub clean-shaven legs together. (I have Things about textures.)

I wear nail polish because I think having painted nails makes my hands look more defined, and also OOOOHHH PRETTY COLORS SO SHINY MUST HAVE ALL OF THEM YES PRECIOUS.

I wear make-up because, again, shiny glittery hoard hoard hoard, but also because I view it as armor. (Same goes for nail polish, too, to a certain extent.)

I have depression and anxiety. These things can get really bad for me. Sometimes they prevent me from leaving the house. Often, they prevent me from leaving the house. Or getting anything done.

But on really bad days where I have to go out, be adult, be responsible, because no one else will do it or can do it for me? Make-up is a life-saver. Being able to put on some eyeliner and powder and shadow along with my dark, baggy sweater and my dark, baggy jeans, and my dark, baggy hoodie gives me armor against the world. It’s a signal to my lizard brain that Katje isn’t leaving the house unprotected. My soft underbelly isn’t open to weapons; I am shielded from what the world might bring against me because the world cannot see my real face.

Make-up isn’t a beauty regimen for me. It’s a warrior regimen. It’s my equivalent to putting on plate (my equivalent to a sword is my metal cane, currently) and a helm. It protects me from a world that’s hurt me too many times. So in that respect, it truly is a regimen: putting on make-up does wonders for my mental health.

I feel powerful when I slap on some lipstick. I feel strong when I wear eyeshadow. I feel like nothing can touch me when I have rose-scented powder on my face. (Rose-scented cosmetics from Anna Sui = suddenly everything was perfect, and nothing hurt.)

That is a much better reason to wear make up than to make sure boys will like me. And it has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with beauty.

So if you wear make-up, shave your legs, whatever, ask yourself why. I respect your choice to do so no matter what, but I really hope that your beauty regimen, or whatever you want to call it, is all for you and no one else. If other folks give you shit for wearing sweatpants and having your hair back in a ponytail, that’s their baggage and their projection issues — not an accurate assessment you doing things wrong. You ain’t. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

You’re the only person you’re going to have a lifelong relationship with. Stop shortchanging yourself. Do things for you. You’re fucking gorgeous and amazing. Act like it.