My daughter’s allergies stuffed up her nose, reddened her eyes, and altered her voice to sound like a Darth Vader/Elmo hybrid. Meds were a must and I didn’t have time to apply my makeup before heading to the pharmacy.
So when I got inside the store, I pointed my head toward my feet and walked fast. I needed to get the remedies without being seen by someone who knew me, because cosmetics were my confidence crutch and my face was bare. No foundation. No blush. Not even a few strokes of lip gloss.
I whipped down aisle 9, grabbed a bottle of Zyrtec, zipped around the corner, and smacked my hip against another person’s cart. But this wasn’t your ordinary shopper. Oh no. This was a fellow PTA mom, whose daughter attended school with mine.
Oh my gosh! Angela! I’m so, so sorry! Are you hurt?
I stuttered an apology of my own.
I’m OK, I’m just so sorry you have to look at me without my makeup on.
Seriously. I said that.
And she gave me a look that oozed, Seriously? Did you really just say that?
My hip was growing a purple lump the size of a tennis ball, and I apologized for not wearing makeup.
When I think back to moments like that one, I recoil with embarrassment.
That night I made myself a promise that I’ve kept to this day. I vowed that I would never again apologize for how I look au naturel.
While I haven’t shunned cosmetics and I feel strongly that there is no shame in a woman’s desire to feel beautiful, there is something horribly wrong with believing that I owe the world an apology every time I don’t look photo-shoot ready.
Thoughts like that are disrespectful to me and, more importantly, they’re disrespectful to God.
I have absolutely zero right to claim responsibility for the coloring of my skin, shape of my nose, or placement of my eyes. I had no part in my physical design, so when I’m criticizing my natural appearance … I’m discrediting God as an artist.
Imagine being given a beautiful pair of earrings made especially for you by a dear friend. Now, imagine wearing those earrings to a small dinner party your friend is hosting and making apologies for the earrings every time someone compliments them.
Oh, thanks. I’m sorry the metal is gold instead of silver; and I know they’d look even better with garnets instead of emeralds so I’m very sorry about that too, but *shrug* this is what I was given.
Your precious friend would be crestfallen and the other attendees appropriately aghast.
When I issue an apology for my less-than-glamorous look, I’m pretty much dissing the creator of the world to his other works of art right in front of him.
Here’s something else I need never to forget. When God looked at his finished creation, he described it with two words “very good.”
The words he used to describe flowers, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and the blue hues of the ocean also applied to Eve. They now belong to me. They now belong to you.
Maybe as you were reading my story, a sliver of guilt sliced your conscious. Please understand that I don’t write the words I do to evoke shame or self-hatred. I write to help women find freedom from shame and self-hatred. I share my ugly to empower you to embrace your beautiful.
Because you are beautiful. With or without makeup. In stilettos or sneakers. Ponytail, pixie cut or bouncy curls. You’re beautiful. And every part of your face was sculpted, proportioned, and placed the way God intended.
Now my blog is probably one of the least interactive spots on the Internet. Back in 2008, I made my readers a promise of guilt-free reading … “read without commenting”, I said. And I meant it. But today I’m going to break that rule and ask you to be brave. If you’d like to join me in promising to no longer say sorry for how you look when you aren’t wearing makeup, would you please consider leaving a comment on this post?
You can share your story, or type simply type “I will not apologize for how I look without makeup” and sign your first name? Or if you’d rather tweet your promise or write it on my Facebook page, that’s fine too.
And if you decide to make that promise, will you encourage a friend or two long the way? Because I think this is important. I think the first step to being the women God created us to be is to stop apologizing for the innate parts of us that—even though we’re responsible for protecting—we don’t own. When we make peace with our personal appearance and accept our mirror’s reflection as God’s good work, we also are better able to focus on the most important type of beauty that dwells from within.