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From the makeup aisle

Shared by Uttama


I get this feeling when I’m incessantly plucking my eyebrows. Or when I wipe off extra strokes of eyeliner with a cotton bud until both my eyes have an outline of equal length.

I fixate on minor imperfections for a disproportionately massive amount of time. I don’t fall into the category of people who always look impeccable, but I’m still prey. I can’t even remember a time when I was too young to care. The hunt began early.

Even though I’m older now, and can differentiate between other people’s judgments and my own vanity, I still pluck incessantly at my eyebrows.

So this reminder, a letter Kelly Flanagan wrote to his daughter, comforts me. If my father were still here, he would have echoed the same sentiment:

[Read the letter in its entirety here.]

“I’m sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant. And now that I’m sitting here, I’m beginning to agree with him. Words have power, and the words on display in this aisle have a deep power. Words and phrases like:

Affordably gorgeous,


Flawless finish,

… When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.

But words do have power and maybe, just maybe, the words of a father can begin to compete with the words of the world…

A father’s words aren’t different words, but they are words with a radically different meaning:

Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon. 

Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be a preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.”

Read the complete letter: Words From a Father to His Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle).

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