I've had bad acne for years, probably around eight years, it's only now getting better. I've been reliant on makeup since it was acceptable to wear it. But last year I did a week without makeup, and when it was over, I went back to wearing makeup, a little more comfortable without it, but not really.
This year one of my friends challenged me to not wear makeup for another week. She and one other friend did it with me. At first I was uncomfortable and I wasn't as social as I normally am, although I was also having a bad couple of days so that may have been part of it. The second day, Tuesday, was the worst day of all seven. I ended up in a friends' room practically in tears about how I felt I looked. Both of the friends who lived there thought I looked fine and was overreacting (which I was.) They made jokes and made me feel better. (Thanks N. and J.!)
After that the week got easier. It got to the point where I didn't need to wear makeup, but I just wanted to wear it to feel pretty again, which still isn't a good point, but it's better than where I started it. I was okay not wearing it, but I just wanted it.
Finally Monday came around and I could wear makeup again. So I did my eyeliner and mascara before putting on foundation. And then I put on foundation and looked at myself. I didn't like it. So I took off the foundation and went around for the day without it. And I felt beautiful. I felt more beautiful without foundation than with it. I went without foundation for the rest of the week and felt awesome. I didn't use foundation again until I had to get pictures taken and go shopping for a graduation dress (gotta love those harsh lights.) I do still use mascara and eyeliner, but I can go without them now if I need to.
My friends didn't treat me any differently, other than to say that they thought I looked the same, just as good, or better, without makeup. I needed the encouragement from them. (You rock A., E., L., J., N., C., and J.!)
I'm proud to say that I now feel pretty with or without makeup. It's taken me a long time to get here, I can be very insecure about my looks and especially my skin. But now that I'm here, I'm staying. Makeup does not define us as women. Our actions define us.