In my teens and early twenties I thought I could never pull off red lipstick. Although I desperately wanted to give it a whirl and was drawn to the colour from before I can remember, it was WAY outside of my comfort zone. In my mind rouge lips were meant for ladies like Courtney Love and Jessica Rabbit and my mom’s friend Margaret. Rebellious women (Courtney). Sexy women (Jessica). Practical women who needed to protect their lips from the harsh light of day and applied make-up as if it were sunblock (Margaret).
It was not designed for an awkward, insecure girl like myself. A girl who could barely wear a skirt without fear that at any minute a detective would appear from behind the shadows, point at her and scream Fraud! FRAUD! You only look normal in pants! You could maybe wear a skort! BUT YOU ARE NOT BRITNEY SPEARS. TAKE OFF THAT KILT!
Fashion was not a subject that I was savvy in as a kid and I still wouldn’t consider myself trendy or swanky or with¦ it. I wear basically the same outfit every day. Black pants. Black shirt. Black boots. Black hair. Black heart (Kidding! Kind of¦). I accessorize here and there and I’ve been known to toss in a grey shirt or a brown pair of shoes on special occasions (like weddings or leaving my house), but generally I’m always prepared for a super casual funeral.
The reason that I have a uniform these days is because I like to keep things simple, but when I was a child it was less about simplicity and more about how I had no idea who I was as a human being or what my purpose was in anything on earth. I didn’t possess enough confidence to raise my hand in class, nevermind experiment with cool rosey paint on my face.
Red lipstick for me was confidence incarnate. It was a statement piece. It said Look at me. No, seriously, look at me. I SAID LOOK AT ME GODDAMN IT!. It brought attention to the lips (of which mine were not kissed until I was 18). It left marks on cups that would have to be wiped away with a I don’t care. Whatever. Who cares attitude. If one were to make-out with mirrors (like I did on the regular) it would be obvious and evidence need to be concealed.
So I abstained from ruby lips through high school and university and my early twenties. It wasn’t until two years ago when I turned 26 that I started reconsidering it as a possibility. What changed? Well, I figured out who I was. I stopped caring about what other people thought of me. I began believing in my talents. I started pursuing what I really wanted, which included asking out a bunch of dudes and consequently having more sex (another area I had lacked confidence in). I matured. I developed an identity. I realized that my opinion mattered and whatever decision I made was the right one.
During this chapter of my coming of age story, I found an old red lipstick in my mom’s bedroom when I was visiting her. Spontaneously, I picked it up, gave it a twist, and laid it on my bad self. Surprisingly, my first thought upon looking at my reflection in the mirror was Hey. How about that. I look great. The doubt was gone. The judgement had vanished. Only confidence remained. Now, I lay on that illustrious paint every single day, and it pairs with my black pants and black shirt and black heart quite nicely. Now, I have the confidence I wished I had all along. Now, I know who I am and who I am is a woman with rouge lips.