Just Right

Confidence is not something you put on. It is a kind of resting in yourself.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not enough. Not as pretty as the girl in the magazine. Not as driven as the writer getting published. Not as courageous as the activist putting themselves on the line. When I want to be so many things other than who I am, when I desire so much more than what I have, I return to these simple words.

You, as you are, you are just right

your face, body, name

for you, they are just right.

Whether poor or rich

your parents, your children

your daughter-in-law, your grandchildren

they are, all for you, just right.

Happiness, unhappiness, joy and even sorrow

for you, they are just right.

by Goromatsu Mayekawa

A man once told me that confidence is not something you put on; it is a kind of resting in yourself. Instead of wishing I was more ambitious, popular, privileged, I can be grateful for having exactly what I have and for being exactly who I am in this moment. Those things I want to change – my straight hair, my un-Jennifer-Aniston-like arms, my tiny abode, my crazy relatives, my quiet moods, they are all just right for me.

Makeup Free

In that moment, I discovered life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.

One sociology experiment in college changed the way I think about beauty. Each week we challenged one social expectation such as standing in an elevator backwards or simply being in a crowded space without moving. The most intense of these was one full day without looking at our reflection (for a girl in her heyday of makeup and frat parties, this was asking a lot).

I totally committed to the assignment, avoiding my reflection in bathroom faucets and windows. It was the first time I went without makeup in probably, years. I was driving around my old neighborhood and a car full of boys were making crazy noises. I remember thinking, “What’s going on?” The whole day I felt invisible without my “face on.” I was beginning to revel in the anonymity of it. It never occurred to me that their cat calls were directed at me.

Their hooting and hollering woke me up and I realized, I’m still here even without all that extra stuff. It was a wonderful revelation. I could stop trying so hard. I could feel the wind on my face and forget about smudging or retouching. The less I manufacture my image to the world, the more free I am in it.

Those teenage boys taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. Life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.

If you’re game, I invite you to try it – one day without looking at your reflection. I’d love to hear about your experiences below.