Living in Your Skin

I gave my Clinique foundation to our tour guide's daughters as a gift before I left for southern Vietnam, so I went without my daily cover-up for the rest of our trip.  With only SPF, I wore my other makeup (blush, eye shadow, liner, lashes, bronzer) on top of my natural skin.  My dad told me that actually, I look more beautiful revealing my naturally freckled face.  My dad doesn't give out compliments easily...and my reaction was a not-so-surprisingly surprised expression and feeling embarrassingly gracious.  

So, I'm home in the states now...and I have decided to go without my foundation, omitting it from my daily routine.  I do use SPF for my face (Nuetrogena's) and a concealer stick...then I go ahead and apply only blush or the rest of my makeup, depending on what is planned for the day.  And, I'm embracing it!

"Living in Your Skin" - I think this is a powerful mantra.  Not only is it important to allow your skin to breathe from all the makeup is also important to love who you are.  For a while, I rejected being a Hmong girl.  My childhood was stifling.  I was raised by a Tiger Mom and a Tiger Father.  In my parents' house, there used to be a diagram drawn by my dad that showed us as the center with a circle surrounding it putting family and education first and boyfriends, friends, hobbies, and everything else outside of that.  I spent my childhood nights with no television, studying for hours, joking around with my siblings, helping my mom cook dinner, cleaning, and reading.   

I think many Hmong households have hopes and dreams for their children - particularly Hmong American immigrants.  My dad might be slightly more stifling on the spectrum...however, it isn't strange to see Asian families overall encouraging their children to be good and to "make it."  

During the 90s and early 2000s, my friends and I pursued the American Dream but also struggled with our cultural norms.  It wasn't uncommon to see some of my girlfriends getting pregnant and forced-married at an early age.  Birth control was not a huge consideration at that time (lack of education and access) nor was the right to be pro-choice.  Back in Southeast Asia, women would get married as young as 13 to start their own lives and till the fields.  

I was determined to not be the norm.  I loved the Hmong in me - our history, our triumph.  But, I hated being raised so strictly and to become a "good wife" someday.  My escape was to go to college and live on my own so I could be free of my parents' rules and live like I wanted to.  

Life is an ongoing journey - I haven't totally "made it."  However, I do live a part from my parents and I live how I want to.  Embracing my skin now - I have realized that all of it...all of it has created who I am now and I love me for it.  I love being a progressive Hmong girl (which doesn't come without its own challenges in career, social, and dating)...but I have evolved overtime and created the identity I wanted for myself.  

So..."Live in Your Skin."  Embrace and be proud of your natural skin, love yourself, don't be afraid to create and love your identity.  

**If you are enjoying my Blog - Boutique...please buy me a "coffee" and help support my goals!  Feel free to share what your makeup routine is (what product you would omit or couldn't live without!) OR comment on my writing piece today!

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