Chris M.

My therapist suggested to my dad that we talk about me wearing black lipstick, but he refuses to discuss it, and I don’t know what to do.

I don’t feel like myself when I’m not wearing what I love. Getting dressed is the best part of my day, because it defines my mood and vibe for the next 12 hours. I would put on my black lipstick at school every morning and feel instantly transformed. It’s not just the lipstick; it’s how expressing myself on the outside makes me feel more confident about who I am on the inside. I felt really cool and awesome and pretty, instead of lost and insecure. I felt happy with who I was, and as someone who has been dealing with depression for years, realizing this really took some weight off my shoulders. I was actually being myself for once, and not just trying to be different.

One day my dad came home early, and I hadn’t taken off my lipstick yet, which is the thing that bothers him the most (he didn’t really like my dyed hair or my clothes either, but he didn’t ban them). He said that it made him realize just how “terrible” it looked and said I wasn’t allowed to wear it anymore, even when he wasn’t around.

I tried to ask him why, other than “it looks bad.” He said people will judge me. But people will do that whether I wear it or not, and it doesn’t matter if they do, because their opinions don’t affect me. I’m not looking for a job in a formal setting, or at all. I’m not looking for popularity, because I’m comfortable with the friends I have, and I don’t want any that wouldn’t talk to me because of the way I look. He said it was contributing to my depression, and I couldn’t even fathom that argument, because he was wrong, and only I can know how things make me feel. And then he said I can’t ask him about it anymore, and when I try to bring it up, he only gets mad. I’m so frustrated.

I know how petty and melodramatic this all sounds—all this fuss over wearing lipstick. It’s one rule, let it go. But it’s also symbolic to me; it represents my confidence, and it also represents my relationship with my dad. I’ll probably have less strong feelings about this tomorrow, but it’s bothering me a lot right now. I like to feel like myself, and I like to like myself. ♦