There was a time when I couldn’t wait to fill in my brows with hot pink shadow—I felt naked without them. Once they were on my face, a huge wave of relief would wash over me. The act of blending bold hues over my lids and layering lash strips upon lash strips on top of each other was routine, and I felt like myself. I’d blast music in my room, carefully choosing the colors I wanted to wear that day, and I’d leave the house feeling like a million bucks. When I’d show up to a family party with my entire getup (along with my hot pink hair and bright outfit), relatives would immediately comment about how “loud” I was, and that I didn’t look normal for someone my age. But what is normal these days? What they took for lighthearted criticism was in my eyes an abuse to my ego and self-esteem. The people that I trusted the most harangued me for expressing myself. I felt so confused.
We tell people to wear what they want, to dress how they feel, to lacquer and line as they please—it’s beauty, and it should be fun. But if you don’t have the right support system, everything is easier said than done. At the end of the day, if enough people harass you about your makeup choices, its going to affect you in some way—unless you are a robot and have no soul. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight for yourself. It took my family about three months to calm down on the negative remarks because they knew I wouldn’t cave in and change. Why should I? A little eye shadow and glitter doesn’t define who I am as a person. I’m still the same dorky girl who goes to Disneyland every year since I was five. I will always get excited when cute school supplies start rolling into stores come August. I can snuggle with puppies all day. It’s just who I am.
The saying “patience is a virtue” is hard to live by, especially when you feel like you’re being kicked in the teeth for being yourself, but give it time. After a couple of months of my family seeing this “new Jasmine,” I had to dye my hair back to a natural color for work. I went to see my parents after my hair appointment, dreading the comments about how much better I look now. To my surprise, my dad—the conservative one—was the one who was shocked and said, “Why’d you dye it back? I really liked the pink streaks!” You never know what life will throw at you. One day your loved ones will get it and until they do, learn patience and understanding. It’s the best lesson you’ll gain from the act of self-expression.