If you've been alive for two weeks and have an internet connection, you know we live in a world that emphasizes beauty over all. Females are expected, from a young age, to spend time making themselves look pretty. They sell makeup kits marketed toward six year olds in stores scattered all over malls all over the country. They have junior sized vanities where little girls can sit for hours and pretend to do their hair and makeup like their female role models. As far back as I can remember, I was passionate about this stuff. It was my pride and joy in high school when people would tell me in passing that I had amazing hair, and that they liked my outfits. Numerous friends brought me along on shopping trips to help perfect their ensembles. Being passionate about makeup and fashion has been one of the cornerstones of my personality for over fifteen years.

I spent the majority of my formative years reading magazines and perfecting hairstyles I'd see on celebrities. Not unlike most teenagers, I'm sure, but this was the era before YouTube beauty tutorials and Instagram models, so I had to scrounge for my knowledge. Having a sister who needed a model for her photography class / business fueled the fire. 

I read an article that talks about how women are so conscious of how they look at any given moment - even intimate ones. This stems from the drive to be pretty at all times. If people look at us in a moment in which we don't look attractive, what are we? Well, human.

I've realized I've begun to suffer from the Spotlight Effect, in which I assume people are looking at me or judging me beyond a reasonable amount. When I'm sitting on a train or in line at the grocery store, or at a red light, I adjust myself to make sure I look pretty from all vantage points. I've been doing this for a very long time. 

 This picture is one of my favorites, taken about five years ago. I still look at it and see ways in which I could have adjusted to make myself look prettier. But then there's my niece sitting next to me not caring at all about how I look or how she looks. She's living for the popsicle. 

I've been trying to do that, too. I'm working on my posture for health reasons, but I'm trying not to do it for vanity anymore. I'm trying to learn that it's okay to look unattractive if you're -- nope. It's okay to look unattractive, period. In the last couple weeks that I've been trying to realign my mental state, I've noticed that I am more relaxed and entertaining when I'm not constantly worried about a double chin. Beauty is not about the paint on my nails or the spots on my chin. Even if it is, I don't care about beauty anymore. After all, this is all going to take us in the end. I'm really just here for a laugh.


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