Insecurity breeds poor choices

I’ve done many stupid things in my life. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have. I’ve laughed at wildly inappropriate times. I’ve accidentally dyed my hair traffic-cone-orange.

I firmly believe each of us twenty-somethings are entitled to a bit of harmless stupidity. We’re grown ups, yes, but we’re still young. And, honestly, we still have a little stupid to get out of our systems.

I might have gone too far though. I could say that I did this in the name of journalism and science, but the truth is, I got bored on Sunday. I didn’t plan on reporting on the results of my … experimentation. But, after the facebook storm of “lol, omg!!”s and “What in god’s name were you thinking?”s, it might be time for me to just own up to my massive stupidity.

I did the Kylie Jenner lip challenge. For those of you who have remained blissfully ignorant of this newest internet craze, it involves sticking your mouth in a shot glass and sucking the air out. The goal is to create a vacuum that inflates your pucker to the epic levels of plumpness that teen-queen Jenner rocks in every instagram photo she posts. I hope I haven’t lost your respect, dear readers.

I’ve spent the past two days icing the area around my mouth. My lips are no plumper than when I started, but I do have a purple goatee — a very bright, very noticeable goatee, complete with mustache,  made entirely out of what is essentially a hickey.

Here’s the worst part — I knew going in this was a possibility. I just thought I’d be able to avoid it. I wasn’t going to keep the glass on for more than 30 seconds. I wasn’t going to end up one of the poor girls who needed stitches after literally bursting their lips. I was going to be smart. I was going to conveniently forget that I am not only very easily bruised, but have the skin color of a slice of WonderBread without the crust. Any blemish I get puts Jupiter’s spot to shame.

So, for the past few days, I’ve been walking around hoping that my concealer covers the vivid stains lining my mouth. Every now and then, I’d come across another woman with similar marks around her mouth. Our eyes would meet, and we’d share a moment of solemn understanding before delving into concealer tips and whether or not we did it on a dare.

I have no problem admitting my stupidity — but I have been wondering why this internet craze has taken off so quickly and run so far. Even the ice-bucket challenge’s fame fizzled after a few weeks. What is it about emulating Jenner that has us resorting to bruising?

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t try the challenge to see how silly I’d look — I did it because someone once told me I have thin lips. This was back in junior high school and it still bugs me to this day. I thought maybe this would be a way to solve my remaining childhood insecurity. Over lining never worked for me — the liner always smeared halfway through the day, making me look like Ronald McDonald after a bender. Lip plumpers with cinnamon only tingled, never plumped. Even wearing red lipstick, the color I fought my insecurity so hard to wear, doesn’t actually help with the whole, thin-lipped thing.

To me, this was something that might solve that little, nagging insecurity that has hung on for a decade. It wasn’t lip injections, it was free and something that I convinced myself was safe. Sure, if it didn’t work I could say it was all for fun, but if I’m being fully honest, I did it because of insecurity.

And that’s where I was really stupid. Accepting myself and loving myself has been an uphill battle, as it has for many of us. It’s taken hard work, but I finally have started accepting me for me. In doing this, I took a huge step backwards. When I wear makeup or workout or dress up, I’m doing it because I feel good. It’s for me and only me. This lip thing? That was because someone said something was wrong with me. My lips aren’t perfect, but I wasn’t worried about them until a pre-teen friend said something to pre-teen me. And what’s worse, I held on to that insecurity for more than a decade. That’s where I was stupid — instead of sticking my mouth in a shot glass, I should have simply let it go.

Kjerstine Trooien is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].