"Sometimes when you really truly give yourself to somebody, it can completely backfire and you just end up feeling really insecure, really paranoid, jealous, and ugly. It’s from loving someone. If that person isn’t right for you, all those positive emotions that you are trying to put on someone can end up negatively projected back onto yourself. Then you hate yourself for it. You’re searching for something to make you feel good and to be a better person, but you realize how far away you are from being your best self.”
When we were strangers I watched you from afar When we were lovers, I loved you with all my heart I know it’s getting late and the moon is climbing high I want to celebrate, see it shining in the night
Because I’m still in love with you, I want to see you dance again Because I’m still in love with you on this harvest moon
I’m just going to come out and say it: I hate bras. I’m fairly confident that most women do.
I hate padding, because it’s hot and uncomfortable and the last thing I need is padding. It makes me look even bigger than I already am, which I hate. (Have you seen me? Come on.) I especially hate push-up padding because honestly, who are we kidding? I may be a little more gifted than others, but no one — no one — needs their rack pushed up. (I also feel like it’s false advertising, and I hate false advertising. Haha! I mean, when the bra comes off, your rack’s not going to stay pushed up, is it? Goodbye, cleavage. I like to keep expectations realistic.) I hate underwires because they are also really, really uncomfortable. I have always found myself endlessly envious of friends who are capable of going without bras — all of my skinny friends, mainly. I envy Sam Lee’s ability to sideboob 24/7. And Carla V’s penchant for eschewing support she doesn’t deem necessary.
Unfortunately, this is not an option for me. So I’ll settle for the next best thing: padding-free, underwire-free, minimally lined underthings. (Incidentally, I also discovered these through Carla V, who I really, truly believe should produce her own underwear line already. Girl, I will bankroll that so fast. Let’s do it.) They’re comfortable, they’re lightweight, and best of all, they look nice when you wear them with the sheer, long-sleeved tops I own so many of, and look nice with those sideboob sandos.
Why bother with pretty underthings, you might ask? Why not just get functional stuff? To be honest, I think pretty underthings are like a great pair of shoes: Having them on makes you feel confident. It doesn’t matter if no one else sees them; as long as you know you’re wearing them, you carry yourself differently. Or maybe that’s just me. I love pretty, comfortable underthings. The problem is, I’ve never been able to find them in Manila, and I hate underwear shopping in the mall because every time I enter one of the shops that sells fancier underwear, I feel like people think I’m a harlot and/or are judging me. Hahaha! And most of the styles on offer are too frilly for my taste. Some frill is good, too much frill is…too much.
And why, why must these stores almost always look like a boudoir? I’m not Satine in Moulin Rouge, I can-cannot deal with the decor!
It’s funny how a fresh dye job and a swipe of red lipstick can make me feel like myself again.
I think it’s easy to say that I went through a lot of changes in the last year. And early on in that year, I wasn’t really sure who I was. I wasn’t sure if the person I had become was really who I wanted to be, and I felt that I needed to try my best to find out for sure. Because for the first time in a long time, I was on my own — not in a relationship, and no longer on such a tight parental leash (though it was still there, of course), just me, answerable to almost no one, and the time was ripe for experimentation. I wanted to try my hand at being different people, to see if they fit. And that manifested itself in different ways — I did a lot of things I certainly would not have done before early 2013, and some of them felt right, some of them didn’t, and all of them were a lesson. I tried to change, in ways that I thought would make people like me, because after years of only really caring about one person’s opinion, suddenly I was alone in a much bigger world and I wanted it to accept me. Outwardly, I messed around with the way I looked. In hindsight, I think that was the most telling sign of my quarterlife identity crisis: that I shelved my red lipstick for such a long time.
It was always my signature. From the moment I bought a tube in college (I have terrible memory, but my friend Cai says that I was already sporting it in school), the red lip became my thing. My Thing.
But I had tired of it after so many years, and I wanted to see if I would change if I put it away for a while, if something else would suit, and besides, no boy wants to kiss red lipstick, and I missed being kissed. So in the drawer all the tubes went, and out came the nudes, and I swapped my signature scarlet for a smoky eye — a different kind of strong, a softer strong, a come-hither strong, but not my signature strong — and I know it must be strange to those who don’t do makeup like I do makeup for me to be talking about this stuff like it has so much significance, but for people like me, for whom a look is a form of non-verbal communication, whose mood you can interpret by the shade I sport, it was a huge deal.
I have always thought that my black hair, red lip combo made me look a little fiercer, look a little more untouchable, and it certainly made me feel that way. But I wanted to be someone else.
I dyed my hair a lot lighter. (I got it done for work, technically, but it was my decision to go light.) And it looked good — people said it suited me, that I looked softer, more feminine, more friendly — but it never felt quite right. It was never really me. I stuck it out, though, for a couple of months. And when I really couldn’t recognize myself anymore, I went a little darker. And it was better; I felt a little more myself. But still not entirely myself. I stuck to it for a month.
Then I went back to blackest black last week, and I don’t know how to describe it to you. Looking in the mirror and seeing myself reflected right back at me. Seeing myself. I walked into the salon with basically no makeup on, but when the colorist started drying my hair, I pulled a tube of red lipstick out of my purse, swiped it on my lips, and became myself again, and the feeling was this pure relief. That, after all of this dicking around with myself and with other people, for the first time in months, I remembered what it feels like to know exactly who you are. And I wasn’t bothered that that person was essentially the same girl who started out on that weird journey in late 2013 — maybe a little more experienced, maybe somewhat improved, maybe a touch more adventurous, but still ultimately the same — because I know now that that girl is me, and I have finally grown to like that person. This is who I am, this is what I’m comfortable with, and I have changed in some ways, but I’m done changing for other people. This is who I am, and that’s okay. That’s better than okay. That’s enough. That’s more than enough.
And I felt strong again. I feel strong again. I think it’s a Samson thing. I feel like I relinquished a lot of my power when I denounced my identity and tried to be someone else. Self-loathing does that to you. I’m finally starting to accept myself, and it feels good.
The last year has not been the easiest, although most of it has been what feels like the most fun I’ve had in all my life. In many ways, it has been the best. In many ways, it has been the worst. In all ways, it has been the most illuminating. And I did lose myself along the way, but I think that, sometimes, you need to lose yourself to find yourself again.
I’m just glad to be back, old but better, old and improved. Back to my unapproachable black. Back to my unkissable red lip. Back to being untouchable. Back to being me.
If you’ve been following my Tumblr long enough, you’ll probably remember that I first did this Roy Lichtenstein-inspired pop art makeup look for Halloween in 2009, and then again last year because I got too lazy to think of something new for the second night of the Halloween weekend. Haha!
I always get “Oh my God, that’s crazy!” comments from people when they see me in the full look, but actually, oh my God, it’s crazy easy to do, and this is how I do it. :)