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Own That Thing

02/07/2017 11:00AM ● Published by Melissa Gulden

This month has me thinking about “that thing.” No, not Valentine’s Day, that other thing. 

It’s like that extra boost you get after a spray tan, and you’re feeling particularly J. Lo-esque, or when you wear those new strappy heels and you simply carry yourself differently. It’s a thing.

If anyone understands how a “thing” can make you feel better about yourself, it’s me. I scour the beauty-sphere in order to find the latest and greatest product/procedure/technique so that I can pass along the info to you. Most of my magazine subscriptions deal with a fixer upper of some sort—face, house, garden, food, body. I get it. 

Recently, the high school where I teach had its annual Homecoming Spirit Week, where kids and staff dress up for different theme days. One such theme was Hard Rock Day. I wore a black leather jacket, ripped jeans, boots, hair in a messy bun and winged black eyeliner. Now, most days you will find me with black eyeliner (its my thing) and yes, often, a messy bun as well. But I decided to go all out and also wear a hot pink lip. 

To know me is to know that I have always been a nude lip girl. Call me a product of the Pamela Anderson 90s, but I talk all day in front of classes, and I don’t like to draw attention to my mouth, or have to reapply all day long. But I went for it in the name of school spirit. And you know what? Nobody stared at me oddly. In fact, I got compliments all day long. I felt extra pretty that day—there was spring and sass in my step—and all because of a hot pink lipstick. 

I have a student (a high school senior) who wears lashes every day. Her makeup is perfection. I asked her once why she would go to “all that work” (it’s really not that difficult once you master the technique) and she said it makes her feel better to have long lashes. It’s her thing.

It got me thinking: Instead of looking at people and judging their beauty choices, maybe we should consider how those products make them feel. Maybe those extensions make one woman less self-conscious of her hair. Or maybe a bright red mouth is another woman’s statement piece. We feel better—more confident—with the beauty practices that we like and are comfortable with. So let’s all enjoy what should really be fun, not serious. Caveat: As a makeup artist, I will try to help when application of said products go astray; however, I will try to be gentle. I can’t help it—It’s my thing.


Melissa Gulden is a teacher and sports and fitness enthusiast with an extensive background in cosmetics and makeup artistry. She teaches English at Shasta High School, and is currently working on a doctorate in English Education from LSU.

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