How Traveling Made Me Comfortable in my Own Skin

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Moving to a new country is the biggest “fresh start” anyone can have, and it came at a time when I needed a fresh start the most.

Years of cultural conditioning and trying to fit in with the status quo turned me into a person that I could not connect with when I looked in the mirror…and I mean that literally.

All my girls out there, this post is for you.

Let’s talk about makeup.

Why We Wear Makeup

I began wearing makeup when I was thirteen years old. It started with a little mascara and lip gloss and turned into a full MAC face by the time I was in high school. Every morning I would spend hours fixing myself up and getting ready. The crazy thing is that back in 2014 the “makeup” hype (eyebrows, contour, highlight) wasn’t even as prevalent as it is now, but I was fully sucked in. I wouldn’t go anywhere without makeup.

I created an image of myself that I thought would fit in with the world, and since I showed that face to the world, I was afraid to show it anything else. I hated my freckles. I have literally no eyebrow hairs. And my face was as broken out as any teenager going through puberty is—so makeup it was!

What was it that kept me painting an image of myself that wasn’t really myself?

Was it the constant images of “perfection” portrayed by the media? Was it the boys who told me I looked “ugly” or “different” without makeup? (p.s. boys, everybody looks different without makeup, that’s why it’s called MAKE UP). Was it all the girls in high school and college competing to be the most beautiful, skinny, sexy, attractive—accepted?

Being Accepted

That was it. Being accepted.

That’s all I wanted. That’s what many of us want. So we make-up our faces, enhance our body parts (I wanted a boob job by the time I got to high school and hadn’t grown into my boobs like all the other girls did), and spend money we don’t have on clothes that everyone has…just to be accepted.

Moving abroad came at a time in my life when I had already been out of college for two years and was transitioning into the period of life they call #adulting. It came at a time when I started questioning the way I looked, acted, and who I “was” for the past 25 years *cough* quarter-life crisis *cough*.

Not knowing anybody, not having the pressure of “Western” beauty being constantly projected at me, and breaking away from what was the “norm” allowed me a completely fresh start.

Fresh start, fresh face, holla!

Fresh Start, Fresh Face

I decided to begin this fresh start as myself.

I wanted to look at my real face in the mirror every day. I wanted to introduce my real self to every new person I met. I ditched the makeup and the concept that being beautiful meant being someone that I was not. I even began posting pictures on social media of my fresh face—something I never did for 25 years.

Traveling made me feel comfortable in my own skin.

Accepting Myself

Although the aforementioned reasons accelerated this shift in perspective; it all came down to how I felt about myself.

Once I began to accept myself for who I was, so did everyone else. Once I stopped caring about how I looked, I stopped attracting people into my life who only liked me for my looks.I began to see the beauty in every woman I crossed paths with—young, old, American, Thai, makeup, and no makeup. Because when you accept yourself, when you love yourself, you learn to appreciate everyone and everything just as it is.

Traveling has taught me that the differences in our looks and bodies—the differences that make us unique—are the things that make us beautiful. It has taught me that once we stop comparing ourselves to others and making self-judgments as a result, we can express gratitude and appreciation for these differences.

Although it took moving to a new country for me to find my inner beauty, you don’t need to uproot your life and move across the world to find yours.

Feeling comfortable in your own skin, starts within.

Keep shining sisters,

Sierra Nicole

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