As most of you may know, yesterday was National Lipstick Day. While I am certainly not a beauty blogger, lipstick is a way that I express myself and often correlates to my stylistic choices. I guess you could say that I have a certain aesthetic, but I often don’t know how to describe it. Usually my aesthetic involves a statement lips color and a dress, but I feel that still gives me a lot of wiggle room to get creative and I LOVE that. My relationship with lipstick has been a fairly recent development and very much relates to my journey to becoming unapologetically me. I worked at a small cosmetics retailer through high school and would very rarely wear lipstick in fear of standing out or drawing attention to myself, which is definitely not something that I wanted to do in high school. I was already the tallest and fattest girl in my grade–there was no need to draw more attention to myself. Even through college I would steer clear of anything that could potentially draw attention to myself mostly because when I spoke up in class and my classmates heard my eastern Kentucky accent, I knew that would be enough to make a lasting impression. My 23rd year was a formative year for me, lots had changed in a very little time and if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that it was a pivotal time in my life. I was newly single after being a serial monogamist for years, I was discovering a socialization beyond college into adulthood, I was dealing with mental illness, and I was finding myself. I very quickly found comfort in wearing a bold red matte lip and donning my vintage style cat eye glasses. Pinup fashion has always been a huge inspiration of mine, but I’ve never been fully committed to it because I feel that my style varies so often. Some days I want to be the alt girl I always wanted to be in high school and wear dark green lipstick, some days I just want to wear mint green lipstick for no reason, some days I want to be soft and naturally feminine in pastel pink. My persona can be easily altered with the change of my lipstick and it lets me explore the many sides that make me…me. I once read an article about how red lipstick was being used as a ‘mask’ by many women. I can’t pinpoint this article at the moment, but I remember discovering it when I was first introduced to the Body Positive movement and, correlatively, coming out of my shell, stepping out of my comfort zone, and wearing red lipstick. Lipstick has never been a mask for me; it’s been a medium of expression. It makes me feel beautiful, sexy, edgy, feminine, confident. I do feel like there is a huge societal pressure for plus sized women to be feminine–if you’re not feminine and you don’t put effort into your look then several stereotypes associated with being fat come into play. The thing about that is there are many days that I go without wearing makeup of any kind and I still feel the same sense of confidence–something that I never would have done in high school or my early twenties. My femininity is part of my identity, but it is not my identity. My style is part of my identity, but it is not my identity. It is my agency, the way that I choose to put myself out there. So I’ll keep wearing brightly printed dresses, my red lipstick, and putting myself out there. I wore this fun and fruity dress by Rachel Antonoff for Gwynnie Bee to a concert last night and got a lot of compliments. Instead of shying away from attention, I’m able to be myself in the best of ways now and not worry about how others perceive me. Being authentically you is always enough and this is how I choose to do so.