Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Story by Krishna Bajaria
It was a typical day in November when I went to a store to stock up on facewipes, body lotion, and facewash for my upcoming trip. I'd never considered wearing makeup before, but on the spur of the moment, I purchased a Kajal. I returned home and applied it, albeit clumsily. I stood there in the front of mirror looking at myself, transfixed. I had never felt so close to my true self in my entire life. At the age of 24, I had finally discovered a side of myself that I couldn't express before.
My family was unwavering in their support and love when I came out as gay at 15. Like straight people, I never really came out to my friends; they knew all along.
All of them were also supportive of my makeup, with the exception of a few of them. One of my very close friends stopped talking to me. I was shocked that he didn’t consider how much makeup mattered to me. His actions broke my heart, but I quickly realised he was selfish. He didn't care about how I felt or who I wanted to be.
My parents, like me, were initially concerned about my safety. I was also worried about what others would think of me. Being a man who wears makeup in public places can make you vulnerable and put you in danger. I even questioned if I really wanted to go along with it.
Whenever I went outside, I could feel eyes on me, judging. It used to make me nervous and fearful about my safety. I had to even tone it down at times. But because I had never felt more confident than when I was wearing makeup, I kept going. It took some time for me to figure out which situations were safe.
2-3 months after I first applied kajal, I walked into a cosmetic shop, where one of the employees was explaining skincare products to some customers. The next thing I knew, I was walking out of the store with bags full of them.
My makeup and skincare journey has mostly taken place during lockdown. I learned how to do things by watching YouTube tutorials. And now I own half a cupboard full of makeup and skincare products. For me, makeup is therapy. It has given me a sense of power and freedom.
People still stare at me when I go outside, but it does not bother me anymore. I’m comfortable in my skin, and that’s what matters the most. Sometimes I put on makeup and go where I know people will judge me. I feel that if they see me as the first man to wear makeup and are able to digest it, they will be more accepting of others like me.
Makeup, skin care, and beauty are for everyone, regardless of gender. It is a form of self-expression and self-love. And I want to normalise it in whatever way I can.
Throughout my adolescence, I was bullied and teased horribly. And I realised because of this I have always cared about what people think of me and that I never truly loved myself. So that's what I decided to do, and I haven't looked back since.
I want to show anyone who is afraid of wearing makeup or being rejected that the only thing that matters is that you accept yourself. It can be very difficult, but if you try and work hard enough, you can do it. Acceptance begins with oneself.