Long before the days of my TV makeup and dresses… I was a tomboy.
I had an older brother.
I played sports.
I wore mesh shorts, t-shirts, and Jordans.
I did not play with dolls or play “house”.
I didn’t “dream of my wedding” or “being a princess” one day.
I didn’t really wear makeup until college and I finally pierced my ears at age 20.
But I was happy.
I was so confident in myself.
Not once did I think less of myself because of the way I looked.
I’m also lucky that I had a mother that didn’t pressure me to wear certain things, or base my self-worth on my appearance.
Although I do wish she would’ve stopped me from cutting my own bangs….
Fast forward to me at age 30.
This week, I have gotten a facial, had my teeth whitened, and I actually spent 30 minutes wondering if I had ugly kneecaps.
You read that right: UGLY KNEECAPS.
Someone had mentioned to me that they thought they had weird-looking knees. I thought to myself, ‘weird knees? that’s a thing??’, and then I looked through all my Instagram pictures to see if I, too, had “ugly knees”… Turns out, they do look pretty weird. Ha.
When did I turn into this person?
In high school, I occasionally wondered why boys didn’t seem to like me. I was in AP classes. I won essay contests. I was voted “Most Athletic” as a senior for being pretty decent at softball and going on to swim in college. I was Cady Heron, pre-Regina George makeover. I was even on the math team.
One day, I overheard a couple guys talking about me.
“Yeah, Chelsa is cool, but have you seen her shoulders? She should play linebacker!”
I mean, now, I laugh at this. But the fact that I can remember this exact sentence 15 years later shows how much it hurt me at the time.
I think, from then on, I vowed to look more feminine.
Over time, I eventually got better at doing “girl” things. Makeup. Fashion.
And although I still don’t excel at looking put-together, I think I’ve come a long way since wearing Space Jam t-shirts, Bonne Bell Lipsmackers Lip Balm, and making ghoul faces in pictures.
The “glo-up” is real, y’all…
Side note: when did girls stop having “awkward phases”? The prom pictures I see now look like pictures from the Grammy’s red carpet….
Skip back to the start of my career as a TV reporter.
I had always done well in writing, and I got my start as a sportswriter.
I never grew up wanting to be on TV. But as a young female, it seemed like there were more opportunities for women in TV sportscasting.
Unfortunately, reporting in the TV business is about more than just journalism. TV is a visual medium, and so it’s important for talent to looked well-groomed, and well-dressed.
“Well-groomed and well-dressed” are NOT things that come easy for me.
I have wild, wavy hair. Broad shoulders don’t look good in structured, lady-like dresses. Not to mention — I sweat A LOT, so long sleeves are tough for me.
But eventually, I started to get the hang of it. I got my hair done once a month. I got a spray tan once a week. I wore a full-face of makeup.
My pictures on social media started to get more “likes”… I felt more at ease around other women. I could talk about crop-tops, the best mascara, and which “Real Housewives” franchise was my favorite.
I had gone FULL Cady Herron. Full plastic. You NEVER go FULL Cady Herron! I told myself! When did my life become the plot of Mean Girls?
I wasn’t being mean to anyone, but I definitely felt like my appearance had started to mean too much to me.
Do you ever feel like you’re betraying your gender?
Like, I want people to like women for more than their appearance, but here I go, posting another picture of myself in full makeup and posing like the most basic girl ever.
Does anyone else struggle with this?
But that’s what people respond to. Those are the pictures that get the most likes, etc.
Think of the most popular women in the world. Are any of the women you thought of unattractive? Probably not.
I will say, there are plenty of women who are both beautiful and accomplished.
And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to worry about your appearance. Humans are visual creatures. It’s easier to look at a pretty painting than a pile of poop. (What? Too dramatic? Oh well!)
Sometimes I feel like apologizing to people when I go in public with no makeup.
Like, “I’m really sorry you have to look at this.. you don’t have to look at me in the eyes if you don’t want to..”
How do you strike the right balance?
How much should women worry about their appearance before it’s too vain?
Obviously, I think this varies from person-to-person. If getting Botox makes you happy, I think, by all means, do it.
But is it really making YOU happy? Or is for the outside world?
If you lived on an island by yourself, with no mirrors, would you still want Botox? Probably not. But yet, here I am, considering it.
When I was working as a TV reporter, I would feel so ugly at the end of the day when I took my makeup off.
I think makeup and extensions and fake eyelashes or whatever is fine, but it’s important to like yourself without those things.
After taking a year off from TV, I feel so much happier, and more secure about myself.
I wear makeup. But not all the time. I spend more time outdoors. I surround myself with friends who are level-headed and think about more than just reality TV. And dogs. How can you not be happy around dogs?? Ha.
But it’s tough. Because now, more than ever, there’s a thousand things women have to do to “keep up”.
Hair. Makeup. Glowing skin. Great smile. No wrinkles. Not to mention the filters and editing for Instagram!
I WANT to be more than just a pretty face.
I want to be worldly and cultured.
But the world seems to only care about “the best swimsuit for your body type” and “why you should be getting fake eyelashes every week!”
Although I’m glad I finally, somewhat figured out how to present myself in a decent manner, sometimes I do miss the days of not caring about my appearance, the unabashed confidence, and maybe just being a kid…
Hope this resonates with someone!
If not, let me know, and I’ll just write posts about “Taking the Best Selfies: Expert Tips & Tricks”….. haha.