Don’t You Apologise: When You Need To Own Your Beauty

‘I’m sorry I ruined your picture. I am just so tired.’

‘Lord, no! I look like crap.’

‘So sorry you had to find me like this. I know I am at my ugly best.’

This is something we hear on an everyday basis. You’ll often find me saying this. I have often heard my friends and other women talk like this, both consciously and unconsciously. Constantly being challenged by the notion of living up to a prescribed standard of being flawless and beautiful, we all do this- we APOLOGISE.

We needn’t and most definitely shouldn’t apologise for the way we look, feel or carry ourselves. The way we find most befitting to present ourselves is completely our choice and holds our own approval of perspective. The challenge is to bust the existing myth of flawlessness and perfection nurtured by the fashion industry worldwide. The need of the day is to rescript this narrative around beauty. We need to accept and propagate the idea that the ‘natural is beautiful’ too. Eva DeVirgilis, a famed make-up artist who spends hours on end every day working on women to make them feel up to the mark says, “I have said similar things in somebody else’s makeup chair! I, too, do not feel that I measure up, or can hold up to this insane, new measure of beauty in this world, that’s like porn and fashion, and Photoshop, just like all mixed up in one.” 

This goes for both extremes of situations ie. whether we choose to adhere to or to stay away from fashion and its use. I once overheard my friend being told, ‘All the decoration you girls put on your faces makes it difficult for us to recognize you.’ On the other hand, I was once told, ‘Did you just wake up from your sleep and step out? Why do you look so bland?’ Well, so be it. My friend then wanted to dress up. She did it. I did not want to dress up. I did not. That is how we choose to look, no matter the result. 

Be it the clothes we wear, the accessories we choose, the kind of make up we opt for or avoid, they all come down to one necessary and significant facet of basic fashion rules- Comfort. If the way we carry ourselves makes us feel comfortable and confident, I refuse to see how it should affect the perceiver. The only differing viewpoint would be if it has offended or hurt the sentiments of anyone. On a personal note, I have never been comfortable resorting to make up accessories other than my jet black kaajal stick and a dab of lip color (the only attempt on my end to ensure I don’t get bumped into along the corridors by my students who’d otherwise mistake me as one of their own, thanks to my petite physique). My bindi and a pair of colorful earrings to go with it are accessories without which I feel incomplete. This is me. I choose to go out like this. I love how each of these, in their own way, add a wee bit of life and color to my frame. For me, I believe, they coalesce to make me, a bit more me. However, there are definitely times when I do not feel up to even looking at them. I’d prefer to go out at times in a stray pair of pyjamas and a rugged old and super comfy t-shirt. I am still me. I just chose to go sans my usual routine. 

If applying makeup, accessorizing ourselves, experimenting with clothing makes us feel good and beautiful, we should do it. If we aren’t comfortable with the idea of these, so be it. Either way, it is up to us to decide whether we're going to paint our faces or go au natural, whether we are going to head out in a saree with a swag, or in a pair of shorts and a tee. The choices we make, once made, do not demand an explanation or an apology to anyone. 

Fashion, in all its efforts to be inclusive and personal, should never be socially or culturally politicised. While the inspiration behind fashion is solely to fulfil our collective wish to feel more beautiful, it shouldn’t end up negating the truth are we all are inherently beautiful and that we, with our flaws are completely human and acceptable. The feeling of fulfilment is a crucial sine qua non to the narrative of beauty worldwide which otherwise, fails in its attempt to reach out to the masses. 

Always remember, it's about what makes US feel most comfortable -- not anyone else.

And thence, Don’t you Apologise, Ever.

About the Author

Jerin Jacob

Editor-in-chief, One Future Collective. A passionate lover of literature and languages, Jerin is currently an educator at Gundecha Education Academy and thrives on her ardour for teaching to foster radical and progressive thinking among young minds. A former volunteer at Childline and Teach for India, she is also academically interested in the portrayal of abuse in literature across genres. Jerin is also an avid traveler, poetess, art enthusiast and photographer.