pores (&) cons

I love me some Instagram (IG). I love me some Instagram because, not only do I get to scroll through endless images of beautiful people, places and things; I also get to post photos of myself among those beautiful endless images. One other reason I rock with Instagram? FILTERS. FREE. FLAWLESS. GLORIOUS. FILTERS!

Nowadays, who doesn't love slapping on a good ol' Valencia or Amaro filter to their pic before the almighty upload to the 'Gram, am I right? Anything to make those pesky facial flaws and unsightly pores and scars disappear. When done just right, a moderate to heavily filtered IG photo at just the right angle can easily turn into the Holy Grail of your personal selfie collection. And once that perfectly-crafted photo gets posted online, you feel vindicated... As though you've just successfully reversed some unknown grave injustice. You know the feeling...

But then, reality sets in, and you realize that even though it's 2015 and hover-boards from 1985's  Back to the Future are basically about to hit store shelves any day now; a real-life, wearable Instagram filter still hasn't been created yet. You realize that on any given day, someone in the real world is  going to see your real face (sans filter) and judge you for it. So what to do? Well, if you're a woman (or a man who gives ZERO fucks about taking metro-sexuality to the next level), there's a fix. Unfortunately, it's not a free fix (like my beloved Instagram)... but it's a temporary fix, nonetheless. And that fix, my friends, is: MAKEUP.

Now. Let me keep it all the way 100 with you. When it comes to makeup, I openly admit that I have the cosmetic IQ of a heterosexual Amish man. So,asking me the difference between a lipgloss and a lipglass, or a foundation and a concealer is like asking me to distinguish nachos from tortilla chips... Like, is that a trick question? Obviously neither are great for me and both go well with a dip, so just let me have both, please.

I digress.

My point is that when it comes to the art of makeup, I am what some would call a "late bloomer". In fact, this past weekend, I purchased my very first compact of 'mineral powder' cover-up, an eyebrow pencil and a makeup brush. And let me just say... The price of quality makeup items is downright blood-boiling. The sticker shock I felt as I approached the MAC store counter with my debit card was ridiculous. After purchasing my compact, I felt somewhat financially violated. Bamboozled, even... as though I had just signed away the rights to my fist-born child. Nevertheless, I left the store feeling semi-accomplished. After all - the MAC employee who helped me pick out my compact had actually taken the time to apply the makeup onto my face so I could see the product on my skin before purchase. I left the store in casual sweats and a tee shirt, but my face looked like a million bucks in comparison to when I had first walked into the store.

 LEFT: Professional makeup for a friend's wedding (with filter). RIGHT: Fresh face, zero makeup (no filter). MIDDLE: All the makeup I had to wipe off after several face washes. #whocanlivelikethis

LEFT: Professional makeup for a friend's wedding (with filter). RIGHT: Fresh face, zero makeup (no filter). MIDDLE: All the makeup I had to wipe off after several face washes. #whocanlivelikethis

As a woman now in my 30s, I've reluctantly come to accept the cold hard fact that looks matter, and that they can really have an impact - not just externally, but from the inside as well. And as much as I LIVE for the comfort of my tomboyish lifestyle, I now find myself itching to explore my more feminine side, from time to time.

Honestly and truly, I've never understood how some people basically live their lives in hibernation if they don't have a full face of makeup caked on...Women would rather die than be seen without their lipstick and bronzer, or what have you. I often ponder to myself how these women survive in a relationship with their significant other. Do they just never take the makeup off? Do they sleep in it? Do they pull some sort of stealth mission where they roll out of bed (Mission Impossible style) in the the middle of the night, apply a full face of makeup, and then pretend that they "woke up like diss" first thing in the morning? Shout out to Beyoncé; but seriously - what kind of life is that? The thought alone about this sort of makeup addiction is exhausting to me, as I can barely muster the energy to put together a work-appropriate outfit every morning. Uuuughhhh. So, I don't know whether to give you ladies props or shed a tear for you. On instinct alone, I'm leaning towards shedding a tear.

I, myself, suffer from various insecurities (as we all do); and often times, I find myself superficially nit-picking at various flaws on my body. My skin is sensitive and far from perfect. My hair is constantly stuck in limbo between "neatly disheveled" and a state of "organized chaos". And, I am definitely nowhere near as slim or fit as I once was. But what I am, innately, is comfortable in my skin. For the most part, when I wake up in the morning - the first thing I see when I look into the mirror isn't dry skin, or blackheads, or bags under my eyes. I see sleep marks, and that eye-crust we all get after a good night's sleep. And then I see my freakishly big brown eyes, my full lips and my hair that refuses to lay down and conform to 'socially acceptable' standards... And, I just smile. I won't say that I do the old "wink & the gun"... but I'm not NOT saying it either. Even though to the average stranger, I might look like utter trash... I still feel uniquely pretty. And, now that I've seen what I can look like with some light makeup on - I'm even MORE pleased with myself. Why? Because even with the makeup applied, I still feel like I'm me. I don't feel like my motive is to throw a paper bag over my true self and give society the grand illusion that I'm a completely different being.

I've decided to give makeup a try because it enhances my mood and my features on days where I just want to look a bit more polished. That's all. I've never been one to fuss too much over looks. Comfort and simplicity is always my go-to ... whether it's for work, leisure, or other. Do I look great all the times? Nope. Do I sometimes feel under-dressed or like a plain Jane when I go out with friends? Sure. But I accept that I'm just more comfortable being... well, comfortable. I know I'm perfectly capable of looking more done-up if I so desire. I just don't see the need to do it, unless I'M in the mood to feel 'done-up'. I won't just do it for the sake of looking attractive to someone else.

In an ode to females, a young Lauryn Hill once sang: "Don't be a hard rock, when you really are a gem." And to that, I respectfully say... "Nah. I'm not choosing."

I am BOTH of these things, unequivocally.

And, still so much more...


Shaolin Says

Shaolin "J" Style


Creative writer. Professional ranter. Canadian-born. Caribbean blood. Probably the worst introvert you'll ever meet.