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  • ANIYSA RAIFORD

THE MASK BEHIND THE MAKEUP


The New Year is FINALLY HERE!!!


I’m sooo excited! I’m always excited for the end of a new month, and for a new one to begin immediately.


It’s something about starting new that just makes me feel accomplished and in control.


With every new month, comes a new year, and a new layer of yourself to be revealed.


For a long time, I was scared to really show the real me to people because I didn’t know what people would say about me, or if they would judge me.


It was already a situation dealing with my skin condition, but to add on having no father and a brother who has autism, it seemed like everything was out to get me.


Even though I was picked on some in elementary school, it really hit me when I began to start middle school. I had a talk with my mom and told her that I wanted to cover up my skin condition, and I started to wear makeup.


It was a change for real.


It was as if I was two different people: a different person wearing makeup to church and school, and then just regular me relaxing at home. It was exhausting at all times.


I would worry when we went to the store, that someone from school or church would recognize me and see me without my makeup on.


My mom who is always supportive, of course, reassured me that I didn’t need makeup and that I was beautiful the way I was, but you know the stubbornness of being a preteen.


I convinced her to buy me some makeup to cover up my skin condition to be “like everyone else” at school. I didn’t even know what that meant back then to be “like everyone else” at school or even in the world, but I knew I wanted to fit in with other people. I just didn’t want to be me.


Those were some trying years, now that I think about it. How was I able to wake up so early and put makeup on for three straight years and just live? How did I finish that?


Even though I wore makeup, and tried to block out that moment in my life, kids at school and even teachers were so nice to me. I didn’t know anything about makeup, so I probably showed up to school with a greasy, shiny face, and with no powder on.


People were so kind, and they never mentioned it to me, at least not to my face how I looked. As I was going through middle school, it wasn’t so hard to make friends or to have people like me for who I really was, just Aniysa the person.


I realized that I didn’t really need makeup to cover my skin condition because kids were noticing and wanting to be friends with me because of my personality and how I treated others. No one was concerned about my skin condition, but me. I was the problem. It was because I didn’t like myself, not because others didn’t like me.


That woke me up for sure.


The big mask that I had on to fake who I was for those three years, left me feeling so embarrassed that I knew that I had to stop.


I’m not the only one that had a mask on. Maybe your mask was putting on a smile every day, while not expressing to loved ones how bad you’re hurting inside.


Maybe your mask is to cover up and drown your sorrows in drugs or alcohol so you can numb the pain from your childhood.


Maybe your mask is hanging out with people and friends who you don’t really care about, but you want to be a people pleaser all the time.


It’s time to have a wake-up moment and come from behind the mask.


I’ve been where you are, and I see you. You are not alone. Let this year be the year you become, the true authentic YOU.


By covering up the real me, I was not only letting myself know that I wasn’t happy with who I was, but I was ultimately letting God know that I wasn’t satisfied with the person that he created.


It’s funny now when I think back, but I’m so grateful that during that time my face wasn’t allergic to makeup or that later on in my adult life that my skin didn’t suffer much from using makeup so excessively. It’s so crazy to think of how far I came because it’s like I don’t even know who that person is, and it was three years of my life that eclipsed me.


At that time, you couldn’t tell this girl anything because she suffered with such low self-esteem.

You could imagine my relief when middle school was over, and the beginning of freshman year of high school was starting. I thought to myself, I’m not wearing that makeup again to cover my skin condition.


I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of a start of overcoming that low self-esteem and recognizing my self-worth. Even if I didn’t realize it fully then, it was a step forward in the right direction to knowing myself and loving myself.


Whatever mask you’re pretending to hold up to the world and to yourself, take it down. Be your true authentic self, or you have to keep up a lie that’s so exhausting to keep up with. Walk in your freedom of who you are and love yourself.


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