This piece was originally posted on Bustle.
I discovered makeup and my anxiety in the same year. Before I turned 20, I thought anxiety was the feeling before a big test. I wore red lipstick every now and then because it was fun. Before I turned 20, my beauty routine and my anxiety weren’t even things I really recognized at all in my daily life, let alone things I thought of as connected. But as I entered my junior year of college, something shifted.
Like each person’s individual beauty routine, everyone’s anxiety is a little bit different. Generally low maintenance, and sometimes dramatic, mine looks like this: It starts with a generous application of worry. I cover everything evenly with this worry — from the top of my forehead to the very pit of my stomach. It sits on top of my pores, sinking into my each layer of my skin, coating my brain. When I try to tell myself that the problem I’m fixating on isn’t really a problem at all, my worry is there to cover up rationality. It hides and blurs it so entirely that it disappears altogether. Sometimes — often, these days — it’s so lightweight and so subtle that I can barely tell it’s there. I have learned to make it work for me, for my life, for my routine. And I know now that anxiety doesn’t really ever go away entirely. But sometimes it shuts the hell up. And, for me, it’s the often the quietest during my beauty routine.
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