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BEAUTY IS AS BEAUTY DOES “Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it's a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside.” - Michelle Phan There was a time I didn’t care to be beautiful. Of course I was also waddling and cute by default so that hardly counts. As I grew older I became aware there was a standard of beauty and I did not meet it. She has soft, clear, light skin with thick dark hair with big round eyes. As she grew older she was allowed to darken a smidge provided she had glorious curves to be ogled at in real life and increasingly, on social media. Then my flawless skin broke out at 29. Hormones. Stress. Genetics. Androgens. Environment. Diet. Dermatologists played blind darts. I sunk money into skin care and lifestyle. I got trolled for having acne. Threads confident in my ugly. That was the actual word used. Ugly. Other women were effortlessly beautiful so why was I working so hard to earn mine dammit! It would seem I was destined to be on the wrong side of beautiful my entire life. Yes, this story has a happy ending where I will gloss over all the hard times and tell you I finally slayed that dragon. Killed it. Dead. The end. Insert smiley face. After years of being told I was too black, that my hair was too something, my arms too toned, my body a little too strong and agile-looking, my muchness simply too much, a switch flipped in my head. I hate this cliche but it is ever so perfect. I found my beauty, as dramatic as it was. I embraced me. I realised I only had two speeds when it comes to lipstick: red and a deep plum. No nude lippie for me. I loved how my wild red hair went every which way. I was bemused by all the attributes directed my way simply because of how I looked. Carol Odero.

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