A few years ago I decided I wanted to try wearing red lipstick. I don’t know why the urge to sport scarlet lips hit me right then, but it was love, I tell ya. I wanted so badly to be a girl that could pull off red lips. When I saw women wearing it, I was in awe. They seemed confident, smart and independent. They were sexy, sultry and gorgeous. They were what I wanted to be…or more accurately, they were how I wanted to be seen. I was a young, working mom, and I felt like a kindergartener in a class of high schoolers. I hoped red lipstick would be the ticket.
But oh, red lipstick and I, we’ve had a rocky road. My first attempt at red lips was documented here all those years ago, after my husband claimed I looked like the Joker from Batman. I put it to a poll on this here blog, and you all sweetly told me what was up. It didn’t look great. When I look back now, I cringe. The color was too dark and too blue for my complexion. I did, unfortunately, look a lot like that evildoer from Gotham City.
My red lipstick and I have come a long way since that fateful blog post. After other failed attempts at finding the right shade, I finally went to the cosmetics counter and begged for help. The ladies at MAC found a perfect shade, and we’ve been best friends ever since. They also introduced me to the secret of red lips…red lip liner. It keeps your shade in place and also keeps the red from bleeding outside of your lip lines. Basically it helps make you look like Marilyn Monroe instead of someone who just had a giant glass of cherry Kool-aide.
But here’s the thing about those red lips. Even after I was taught by the pros and was rocking the look on a semi-regular basis, it didn’t feel right. I was always worried I looked weird and out of place. Could everyone tell I was a phony? That I really couldn’t sport this daring look? Were they pointing and laughing behind my back?
My husband, the original red lip hater, didn’t help things much. Even with the right color he HATES my red lips. Every single time I wear it, he comments on how much he doesn’t like it. And while that can sound harsh, there is a really sweet reason behind it. He likes me the way I am. He doesn’t like me all made up and, in general, finds me much sexier with messy hair lounging in my sweat pants. Red lips are just not his jam. He thinks they cover up my natural beauty, and he will probably never like how they look on me. Same goes for anything gold, gaudy or glam.
So for a long while, every time I wore this particular look, the routine would go like this: I’d put on my red lipstick, he’d say he hated it, and then I’d head out for the night feeling insecure or crappy about how I looked. Let me point out, he never said that I looked bad or was ugly, just that he didn’t like the red lipstick, but in my head, that was converted to “You are the ugliest person alive!” Which, I mean, come on! So dumb.
Then, a few months ago, I was participating in an online course where one assignment was to email people that loved us with the question, “What is my superpower?” One of my best friends sent this back:
“Your superpower lies within your red lipstick which allows you to kick major ass!”
This simple, funny comment flipped a switch in my brain. My red lipstick was my superpower! It was my signature! And it didn’t matter if people liked it or not. Seriously, the fact that some people like it, while wonderful, isn’t the point either. I LIKE IT. I LOVE IT! So I will wear it, regardless.
Since then, I’ve worn my red lips to dinner parties, movie nights, conferences and most recently a photo shoot for Sweet Lemon Magazine. Honestly, I don’t wear it on date nights with the husband, but that’s more out of respect for his right to have an opinion. Plus, it’s a lot less work to wear sweats and messy hair, so if that’s what gets his engine going, it works for me!
The moral of this story? This very long, vapid story about lipstick? Be you. Wear what you like, not because people will love it and not because people could hate it. Wear it because it’s your superpower, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s the world could use a few more (confident) superheroes.
This post is part of the Love Yourself Linkup. Visit here to learn more and read some amazing posts from real, beautiful, smart women.