Sometimes happiness starts with good eyebrows

My relationship with make-up has always been a little bit dichotomous. I used to see other people wearing it and think they looked really good, (when it was done well, of course) but for some reason I had a different standard for myself. I think I used to be a little bit misogynistic and had this opinion of “if I wore make-up I’d be one of those girls”, and in my lil’ pre-teen brain that wasn’t what I wanted. I was always a bit of an odd one; in Year 7 I wore my skirt at it’s full length the entire year, with the hem falling beneath my knees, while everyone around me had at least one roll of the waistband hiding beneath the bottom of their shirts. This never bothered me, I kind of liked the fact that I was the only person not copying everybody else, I quite enjoyed the oddball nature of my box-fringe, low-ponytail, midi-skirt-before-they-were-cool nature of my school style. I developed a penchant for the thick, black, sub-bottom lashes line of Bourjois’ finest four quid kohl pencil around the age of 14, and if I’m remembering correctly that’s really the first time I actually wore make-up — bar the time I wore my mum’s foundation to school and washed it off after registration ‘czz I looked like a tanned satsuma.

In turn the goth line gave way to the badly done cat-eye, because at around 14 or 15 I was heavily involved in Bebo (#throwback) and desperately wanted to be a scene kid. I tried to convince my mum to let me get a scene kid haircut and she, naturally (and thankfully) refused. So eventually I was forced to grow out of that phase and into a few years of sort of blindly stumbling about, experimenting with different ‘looks’ and not really having any particular style, and I was still kind of in this period of lifeyness when I came to uni.

For the first couple of months of first year I had this idea in my head that, because I would be one of the only girls on an almost all-male course, I would be the ‘girliest’ girl there was where make-up was concerned, and I’d even go so far as to wear lipstick in the daytime every now and again, something I’d never really done at home. Remember that dichotomous relationship I mentioned? I felt somehow obligated to wear make-up and show that I could do a mainly male course and still be stereotypically feminine, but at the same time I was sick of wearing make-up and deciding what chemicals to haphazardly pound into my face every day was giving me heart palpitations, so I decided to hang the entire thing and I stopped wearing it pretty much altogether.

So then I ended up in the exact reverse of the previous situation, going on nights out without make-up, but then if I ever wanted to wear it for a change I had this ridiculous internal monologue where I’d feel like I had to have some special reason to put it on, as if I somehow needed permission from myself or some extraneous source in order to wear it, which is, of course, ridiculous. I’d naturally matured since my misogynistic 12-year-old days, and had perhaps gone too far the other way; maybe my reading of feminist literature about how make-up was designed by the patriarchy in order to make women feel bad about themselves and to encourage rampant capitalim, which is still a relatively valid point, but it was also making my brain kind of hurt. I didn’t really know what to do.

(Cue dramatic music) That is, until recently. I was in Manchester for a friend’s birthday and she exclaimed while I was doing my eyeliner that I was ‘so good at make-up’ — something I’d never though about before. In the last few months of my second year of uni I’d developed what I referred to as ‘drag queen eyeliner’ (those of you who know of Trixie Mattel will know exactly what I’m talking about), where I pretty much just drew a triangle from my eyelid to my eyebrow and back to my eyelid again, in a geometric take on the traditional cat-eye. The intention behind this make-up choice wasn’t to look particularly attractive, although sometimes I could actually make it work, but it was more of a ‘it looks mad but I know it looks mad’, so if anyone commented saying it didn’t look good, which strangely no-one ever did until right near the end of it’s life, I could tell them I didn’t care, because that had never been my intention anyway. I’d wanted to look striking, and maybe vaguely memorable, but I think the green/purple/rainbow hair did that for me anyway, so I’m not even 100% sure what I was doing. This had only stopped being a thing a few weeks before my trip up to Manchester, so hearing that from a close friend of mine was utterly surreal for me.

Since then I’ve been really inspired into putting effort into my paint. Sure, make-up as an entity is still technically a tool that was developed by the patriarchy to oppress women and all that jazz, but I actually like playing with it now, so I feel like I’ve kind of reclaimed that. I’ll happily go to work in no make-up, or in a full face of daytime drag (everything except lipstick). I recently invested in an eyebrow pencil, and let me tell you it’s changed my life. I’m a person who’s been know to have a lot of anxiety and self-doubt issues in the past, so having this new found ability to actually do pretty decent make-up has been a pretty hefty confidence boost. I’m not a professional make-up artist, but the key thing is that I don’t care. I can’t explain it, and there’s no reason why I’d even want to, but lately my little happiness boost for the day comes from a particularly sharp wing on the day’s eyeliner, or getting a delivery from (who don’t sponsor me, but hey how about you guys hook me up), so I guess the cute little moral of today’s post is just if something makes you happy then bloody go for it. If it’s not hurting anybody and it makes you happy then don’t do what I did and hold off from it because you’ve got some weird internal voice telling you you ought not to do it because ????????? (insert irrational reasoning here)

Sometimes happiness start with good eyebrows, and lately my eyebrows are lookin’ pretty good