We all need armor.
On our second date, my boyfriend arrived early.
I hadn't put my makeup on yet and I was totally mortified.
But because he is a saint among men he didn't care.
"You look beautiful without makeup," he said. And because he was seeing me truly without makeup and not just the "without makeup" makeup look that takes even longer to do than real makeup (and because I was falling in love with him) I believed him.
We went on our date that day and had a great time, and I wore not a lick of makeup on my face.
None of this was revelatory to me.
I know that I can exist in the world without wearing makeup. It hasn't always been easy for me, I'm not a person with naturally good self-esteem, nor am I always kind to myself when it comes to my appearance.
But I was happy to go without makeup as a testimony to how much I trusted this man and how much I believed in our relationship.
Our relationship is still going strong, and sometimes when we're together I wear makeup, and other times we're together I don't.
I know that our relationship isn't powered by the way I look barefaced, and I know that how much he loves me has nothing to do with if I've lined my eyes that day.
When I do wear makeup, I wear it for me.
It feels like a real triumph to realize that! Probably because it is.
I am not wearing makeup because I hate the way I look, I wear makeup because it makes me feel pulled together, brave, focused and full of confidence.
When I'm going out to meet new people, I'm more talkative and engaged with my makeup on. It's like I've donned my game face.
When I'm babysitting my godson and we're outside playing together, I feel like wearing makeup makes it easier for me to be big and fun and relish pretending and being a goofball: I'm covered in bright colors, so of course, I feel larger-than-life with positive body image for days!
If I'm feeling insecure or anxious or shy, sometimes it is only my makeup that can get me to a point where I feel okay leaving my house.
Without it, on those days, I'd stay inside and my relationships would suffer.
It doesn't make me a weak woman or a bad feminist, it makes me a strong woman who knows what I need to do to get through each day on those days where I feel like I otherwise might not.
It's wonderful to be in a relationship where my boyfriend loves the way I look makeup or no makeup, and it's even better to be in a relationship where my boyfriend understands that my choice to put on makeup or not has absolutely nothing to do with him in the first place!