Hello. My name is Shirley, and I’m addicted to makeup. Or the story of how makeup brought me back from the dead.

My makeup journey has been a long one. When my sister and I were little girls in 1st and 2nd grade, we’d change our clothes and do our hair and makeup for dinner each night. It was our own choice and idea. Then when I was about 8 years old, I slipped into a tomboy phase that would take over for the next four years. No skirts, no dresses, no makeup! My sister went Goth, so she was still wearing makeup as often as she could.

Then, just before I became a teenager, my cousin came to stay with us for a while. She really cultivated my self esteem and helped me realize that I’m beautiful. My parents always told me I was, but they have to say stuff like that. No boys talked to me (hardly any girls in my sixth grade class were virgins, my neighborhood started frighteningly early), all my “friends” pointed out how fat I was, and I just didn’t feel pretty at all.

One day, my cousin took me out and got my hair cut for me. She bought me a little bottle of perfume, and then we went to watch Star Wars (Episode 1 had just come out). Shortly after that, I experimented with makeup a little.

By the time I was 13, my makeup style had gone Goth for the most part, but I always had to add some color. Normally lime green or neon purple. I had friends who didn’t put me down and I finally had a positive self image!

Being the smarty pants that I was, I skipped 8th grade and started high school a year early. That’s when I got my first boyfriend, and consequently my first girlfriend, later that year. I never went a day without makeup. This would continue until I get pregnant at 18 years old. 

When I got pregnant, I got married and stayed home, I was very sick and very young. I would still wear makeup whenever leaving the house, but I kept a clean face at home. My makeup had become so light that people often didn’t think I was wearing any. I never was a fan of wearing more than eye makeup, and black lipstick was left behind after 9th grade. I went back to work when my son was six months old. Makeup was once again an everyday thing and I’d never leave the house without it. All through my second pregnancy, I wore at least eyeliner and mascara, and usually eyeshadow. I was 21 when my daughter was born.

A few months before my 25th birthday, I separated from my first husband. I started wearing heavier makeup and getting more narcissistic with social media. I spent a year single and then started dating my current husband. We were surprised with a pregnancy after only a few months of dating. I got really sick, we broke up, and I gave up. I went from working 12 hour days and supporting two kids very well all by myself, to living with family and friends who were emotionally abusive and would cause me the final traumatic blow (my past has been very rough) that has left me where I am today. I was so sick that I had to leave my job, I was losing weight all through my pregnancy and falling into a very deep depression. No more makeup, no more effort, just no more!

When my last son was born, his dad and I reconnected in the hospital. Seeing what a beautiful life we had created together made everything else so trivial and we moved in together. I still didn’t wear makeup except for special occasions. 

Just before my son’s 2nd birthday,  I started watching makeup tutorials and thought “I could do this!” I told my fiance at the time (we married December 1st 2015), that I wanted some decent makeup and brushes so I could try some of these new (to me)techniques, like contouring and smokey eyes. I started my instagram @girly_shirley and have kept practicing. I still don’t wear makeup everyday, but I wear it several days a week. I get compliments on my makeup, when I used to get asked if I was even wearing any. My collection has exploded in the last year as well! I went from having one tube of red lipstick, to having an entire box with almost every shade imaginable. One black eyeliner, to like 30 different kinds. It’s helped me get back to the self assured girl I lost. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the strong independent woman I was at 25, but maybe out of her ashes, a phoenix will arise and be better.

What is the point of this blog, you ask? Next time you see somebody with a bunch of makeup on, don’t assume they’re superficial or full of themselves. I’ve learned that it’s a legitimate art form and it can help people. If you see somebody with a full face done up, tell them you really like that shade of lipstick or ask what blush they’re wearing. You just might make their whole week! If they’re rude about it or blow it off, oh well. At least you put some good into the world instead of ignoring the little things.

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