1. When I have no make-up on
Not because I am a natural beauty; I have the faint acne scarring and dimple-butt nose to prove I am not. I feel beautiful when I do not wear makeup because it means, for me anyway, I am secure enough to abandon societal norms and embrace my own selfish desires to walk into work and Wal-Mart alike barefaced.
Selfish desires? Yes. A habit grown from college, I would prefer to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes or squeeze another episode of Orange Is The New Black than take the time to look acceptable for people who could never make me laugh as hard as Tastee. I guess I would rather be lazy and lethargic than polished and pretty. And catering to that side of me, a very real side of me, makes me feel more honest. And honesty is so goddamn beautiful.
Besides mostly just being an inconsiderate S(L)OB, I love that the features I find most beautiful, stand-out when mountains of mascara and sculpted cheeks aren’t distracting people. When I do get dolled up, likely, I collect the most compliments on my almond–shaped eyes that I rim with liquid eyeliner and glitter-mimicking eyeshadow, but I think I have a stunning smile, likely my most underrated feature. Lord knows I endured enough tortuous years of wearing braces and retainers to earn it. When I step-out au naturel, my smile stands-out abundantly. And when it beams, I feel most beautiful.
2. After a good cry
Again, not because I’ve mastered the Lauren Conrad single-stream tear (in fact, my cry face is WAY uglier than Kim Kardashian’s), but I every time I wipe that last tear away, I feel as though I have shed layers of decaying, consuming, sinking skin and sadness. This is likely too extreme of a comparison, but a good cry is a small-scale baptism — I feel most pure and most confident in the future after a cathartic release. And that energy of vulnerability and liberation creates this vibration that makes me feel like a stunning fawn.
(And also all my makeup comes off. See explanation above.)
3. In hoodies and sweatpants
Man, if I were a millionaire, I would totally Zuckerberg it, and wear my hoodie and “f*ck you” flip-flops all day, err day. Truthfully, I choose outdoor activities and movie/pizza options for dates because it provides the opportunity to wear sweats. I was not athletic in high school or college, and I have a fashion blog for Christ’s sake, but I have a swagger (I hate myself for saying swagger) that I cannot replicate outside of sweatpants. I have dozens of photos of me looking like a mushroom or stuffed scarecrow in my dingy sweatpants but I feel most me when I can drown in comfort. I love embracing my more masculine side, perhaps because much of the corporate and dating world conditions me to suppress it.
4. When I can ask (and grant) forgiveness
It’s pretty much the basis of my entire Christian religion, and I’m starting to see why.
I am stubborn as a bull. Actually, as a ram — I’m an Aries and am going to fault my stars on why I am so resilient in thoughts and fights. When I am fighting or screaming or trying to make someone feel small, I look ugly and feel disgusting. My words may be mighty and pack a punch (below the belt), but they are pushed by insecurity and unbending behavior. So, in the moments I ask for forgiveness and shine a light on my vulnerability, the ugliness begins to dissipate. Asking forgiveness — and granting it — is a very beautiful and human experience for the soul.
To consolidate this stream of consciousness; I feel most beautiful when I am being honest, being vulnerable, being masculine, being human — which unfortunately, can be seen as “ugly” at in our world.