Watching Moulin Rouge! while the actors belt out a Hindi song and realizing there is not one brown face in sight was more than slightly disheartening growing up. Aziz Ansari captured this feeling so well in Master of None with his “Indians on TV” episode. Ashton Kutcher in brown face? It is hard not to feel like I am living in a world that is not meant for me.
Reading Anil Dash’s piece on unlearning to hate his under-eye circles was eye opening for me, literally.
I always knew that my under-eye circles were ugly — too dark — and something to be hidden under makeup, or better yet, corrected with some chemical concoction.
Over the years, my mother would offer different brands of concealers for me to try. She would give advice on what shade to choose. I found the titanium dioxide additive in most makeup was giving me way too much of a whitish cast, resulting in a harsh line between my cheek and jawbone line. I sought a more natural alternative. No good cover-up presented itself.
I tried the creams meant to cure my problem.
It didn’t take me long to find out that the “typical” under-eye cream was not for congenital hyperpigmentation (I was born this way), but for broken blood vessels.
I tried a stronger brand and burned my eyes and skin so badly that my face puffed up. I had to stop wearing my contacts for weeks. I still can’t wear mascara anymore without causing another flare up. Luckily, kajal eyeliner is just fine and all the makeup I wear now.
Somewhere after having kids and finding myself with very little time or desire to primp every day, I stopped wearing makeup and concealer. Now, the kajal is all I wear — when I remember — and it makes my eyes look darker. But I like that.
Somehow it took reading Dash’s piece on unlearning self-hate to make me put feelings into words. Maybe I’m not just being lazy by leaving my under-eye circles unwhitened?
I live in a world not made for me. I am different. I am beautiful. The same lessons I keep trying to teach my kids, I needed to teach myself.
I never found that perfect concealer. But, I now realize that I can stop the search. I have beauty in my own skin. Maybe I am born with it.