Valuing Beauty

A couple days ago I met a¬†friend, a guy my age who I have been friends with since almost four years ago. We were hanging out with a bunch of other people in a feast celebrating our friend’s birthday. We talked, we laughed, and before everything started we coincidentally bumped with one another in a corner of a mall.

The dinner ended pretty early (although not really in my book). The gang decided to continue on with the night playing pool while he excused himself to go back home early. Before he departed he said, “you look different”.

“Hm?” I replied.

“You… with your makeup. You look prettier,” he said.

“Wait, what. Are you messing with me?” I was honestly frazzled. I’m not used to this.

“Yeah… I want to say this earlier, but I don’t feel the timing was right. But yeah, you look different… prettier. I was strucked when we bounced to each other earlier. You with that dress, the heels, and the make up. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

That day I was wearing my favorite black knee-length dress that I think is appropriate for a casual get together, a 3-inch heels my mom told me to try out and test out since it’ll be the pair of shoes I’ll be wearing to my brother’s wedding next month. I was wearing a 2-year old BB cream that I store in my thin, pale makeup bag, added with a little bit concealer I just bought earlier this mont. I finish up with a layer of pink lipstick — although I’d usually prefer red, but I lost my lip pencil. I also didn’t have an eyeliner and my mascara-application skill is a mess that I decided not to apply any ink around my eyes. I forgot to wear my favorite dangling earrings that day — which I think is a huge missing piece in my look.

He still told me I look beautiful.

If this was our usual day with the bare-faced me, I will take it out as a friendly tease and would have started a banter, telling him to “shut up” and he would reply with a high-pitched laugh, knowing his flirtatious joke worked on me. But that night, I decided to take the compliment.

“Thank you,” I said. “It means a lot. I did put some work today.”

“I like it.”

“Yeah, especially since it’s rare to see me like this.” I bashfully tried to explain myself.

He nodded. Some of our friends are there and nodded.

I smiled.

For the second time in my life, I felt beautiful. For the second time in my life, I felt beautiful because of people’s justification. For the second time, the affirmation of self-beauty came from a guy. For I think those were sincere.

Or will I only feel validated if my beauty is reaffirmed by a guy?

Or that I can only be beautiful if I follow the society’s standard?

Or that I actually cared more about what people think than I think I do?

Or am I ever beautiful being myself?

And did I ever successfully convinced myself that I, myself, is enough?

Am I strong enough to embrace my own beauty?