Imani and I met at a local church and connected over our sarcastic sense of humor and our current relationship status. I cant say that I know anyone more dedicated to finding and expressing her own unique style of art. She leaves beautiful imprints on people through her art but also through her words and experiences. The moment I asked her to write for my blog, she was in. If you want to check out her art or just become her friend, check out her website, imanigivertz.com, or check out her IG page.
In August of 2017 I made the decision to be a better friend to myself. Since then, I’ve started taking time to take better care of my mental and physical health, learned how to stand up for myself in certain areas, stopped caring about my social status, and have done some intense emotional and self reflection. Let me tell you, being a good friend to oneself isn’t a walk in the park, but I’ve learned that true friendship gets into the nitty gritty and if I can’t live that out for myself, then I won’t actually know how to be a good friend to others.
After a few months of my fun quest for my soul, I went to a holiday party and really outdid myself on my makeup because I had been tapped on the shoulder with my insecurity and was trying to impress everyone around me. I figured, the only way I could impress was if I looked a “certain” way.
I think that’s what I had been trying to do for most of my life – impress everyone except for myself.
Growing up in the figure skating world and with a mother that didn’t leave the house without makeup, my mind had always subconsciously associated a bare face with laziness, lack of attractiveness, and not put together.
If I didn’t have on makeup, I wasn’t my best. If my eyebrows weren’t clumped together in a perfect line, I wasn’t cute. If my foundation didn’t match my biracial skin tone (I still have yet to find the perfect shade of foundation for my skin so if you know of any, my email is below), I was SCREWED because there would be an awkward line where my coverup would meet my actual skin and it just wasn’t a good look.
My mother is the best and I love her. I don’t blame her for my unhealthy relationship with makeup, I also am at a place where I can truly appreciate the art that makeup is and am all for people enjoying it as it was intended, but I do see how what I thought of makeup growing up had a hand in my failed friendship with it. I feel the same way about my hair and how I spent years and hundreds of dollars a month to straighten it with chemicals because that’s what society told me I was supposed to do. Honestly, 2016 kicked off my “self love” journey when I stopped killing my hair and let my curls live the life they were meant to.
Anyway, back to makeup.
When I got home from the holiday party, defeated because some guy didn’t pay attention to me after I spent an entire HOUR making sure my lipstick fit in the lines of my lips and that I didn’t sneeze while putting on the mascara I’d want to cry off later, I stared myself down in the mirror, just like I’d do if one of my friends had a tough night because they let someone else impact their level of fun and self-esteem, and just said, “Ew, Imani. This isn’t you.” (side note, I probably wouldn’t straight up say “ew” to one of my friends. Okay, I probably would)
I started wiping off the years and years of the idea that I had to make myself look a certain way to be accepted. I removed the idea that I wasn’t put together if I didn’t have a layer of foundation clogging up my pores for the sake of vanity. I washed my face and washed off the beauty standards I had always tried to live up to but never met.
I pulled my hair back and looked in the mirror at this woman that had just removed a huge weight off of her face and shoulders, and said to myself,
“There you are. I’m sorry for not seeing you all these years.”
There’s something so magical about seeing yourself bare, like actually staring at the vulnerable and strong person you are without the extra added highlight. It’s honestly a really special thing.
The night I took off my makeup for the last time (and the occasional wedding) I realized that I had never really seen myself. I never actually appreciated the freckles that I used to cover up and how they’re the exact color of my mom’s skin tone, or the fact that my eyebrows are actually baller on their own, or the fact that I’m actually beautiful without makeup.
Your thing may not be makeup, but it may be words someone spoke over you when you were younger that you think about every time you buy clothing that you don’t really even like, or how you view money and your status and sacrificing your time for a promotion kills you but you’re going to keep aiming for recognition over rest, or something completely different that you use to cover up who you actually are.
Whatever it is, I encourage you to try taking it off for one day. It’s super uncomfortable and soul stretching but when you get home at the end of the day alive (SURPRISE!) and realize that you’re still loved, still sought after, still a babe, and feel a lot lighter, you’ll find that it’s worth being temporarily uncomfortable to start the journey to becoming permanently confident.
P.S – I’m in two weddings this year and if you wanna drop your favorite multiracial foundations, hit me up so I can look as natural as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org