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Why I Believe in the Mantra “Look Good, Feel Good”

Last week, I found myself in the waiting room of the student health center, as I always do without fail at the beginning of every school year.  I had a headache, sore throat, runny nose, and a pocketful of crumpled cough drop wrappers.  Later that night, after lying in bed all day drifting in and out of sleep, I finally mustered up the strength to take a much-needed hot shower.  Afterward, still feeling an all-over body ache, I sat down at my desk and brought out my beloved blow dryer.  Even though no one would see me later that night, and I was fully aware of this fact, I was going to blow out and straighten my hair.  

Of course my roommate thought I was crazy, that even when I was sick, I was still concerned with my hair’s aesthetic.  But you know what? I don’t actually think I’m all that crazy.  Sure, no one cared what I looked like, and no one would judge me for rocking a messy bun complete with frizzy baby-hair fly-aways, especially when I was coughing like I smoked a pack a day.  It wasn’t for anyone else.  It was for me.  Because I think there’s a lot of truth behind the mantra, “Look good, feel good.”

I know this may all just seem like a testament to my vanity, but I think it’s much more than some silly egotistical investment in my ability to “look good.”  To be honest, I don’t think liking to look your best is vain at all.  It’s about confidence and being able to show yourself a little love, and think, “Hey, I don’t look bad today.  I actually look pretty good.”  Don’t we all know that feeling when we wear a perfectly coordinated outfit, that just seems made for us?  Or that delight when we get our hair to fall just right? Or, that glorious satisfaction when our winged eyeliner is on point?  These are the little parts of “looking good,” that also make us “feel good.”   The best part is, it’s not even for compliments (although they’re a much-appreciated boost to my self esteem), it’s about feeling genuinely happy in your own skin.  

So, why am I making such a point of justifying my “look good, feel good” attitude?  It’s because I think it’s largely misunderstood.  I can’t count the times my friends have asked me why I wake up early to straighten my hair before my 9 a.ms, when the quality of my tresses is clearly not going to earn me a better grade.  I’ve often been asked why I put on makeup on a Saturday morning when the majority of my time will be spent in my dorm room.  And the simple answer is: I do it for me.  A lot of the time, those long weekend days where I have an essay to write and two tests to cram for, are the days I most need to feel, and look, like I can conquer anything.  Putting myself together, whether that’s doing my hair, putting on makeup, or rocking a cute outfit, can make me feel like my life is more together, even if it’s not entirely.  There’s something about looking polished that screams to everyone around you, “This girl’s got her sh*t together.”  

So, next time you want to call me vain, narcissistic, or frivolous because I like waking up early to put on a full-face of makeup with freshly straightened or curled hair, know that my commitment to “looking good,” is more about feeling good than it is about trying to be the prettiest girl on campus.  I’m just trying to be my best version of me.  And know that I won’t judge you for wearing sweatpants and a messy bun, because if you feel confident, then you should rock it! It’s all about feeling comfortable and confident in yourself, and if you’ve got that, you can conquer anything.

Lexa is a junior at Boston University, studying Journalism in the College of Communication. You can often find her sipping on an iced coffee and trying to take an artsy photo that fits her Instagram aesthetic. Lexa hopes she can someday combine her passions for fashion, art, dance, and writing into a career, but for now, she'll be strolling down Comm Ave trying to make #LifeasLexa a personal brand.
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