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Jessica Ireju: When Your Red Lipstick & Dreams Are All That You Have

Dreams will keep you going on the stops of life. So dream, that’s the first thing in bringing a vision to life and it’s free! (unlike red lipstick). In comparison to the rest of the requirements on the journey to purpose, it costs nothing.

Jessica Ireju

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My favourite piece of makeup is, without any doubt, the red lipstick! Wearing a red lipstick is my go-to hack for when I can’t get my eyebrows to be civil and agree to stay side by side with each other.

You see, there’s this thing that happens with my hand-eye coordination – it doesn’t always get my eyeliner drawn at the right angle. As for contouring and highlighting, to me, it’s a feat reserved for artists.

A red lipstick was one of the first makeup I owned. Every time I see a lady in red lipstick, I think of my mother. For me, it represents the beauty and power of being female unapologetically. Even now, it has the magical effect of bringing with it a burst of colour and transforming me with confidence on the days I feel drab. For the longest time, the red lipstick was the only makeup I could wear, even if it was smudged sometimes. It was all that I had and it was enough.

A red lipstick was the only thing I could count on. A red lipstick is just like a dream. Dreams are what we have first and sometimes, they are the only thing we have – no support, no finances, no qualifications… nothing. I’m here to tell you your dreams, like my red lipstick, is enough and why you should use it.

I used to have this low key ‘beef’ with motivational speakers when they insisted that your dreams were just enough. I would roll my eyes, thinking they were ignoring the fact that you had no start-up capital, the competition you were up against was a corporation with solid financial backing that you were lacking, and surely you couldn’t be a rap artist when you were 50!

But having just come out of a season where I was letting go of my dreams and it became painful keeping hope alive, I understand now why dreams are enough – they keep you alive before you raise the start-up capital or record your demo.

Dreams will keep you going on the stops of life. So dream, that’s the first thing in bringing a vision to life and it’s free! (unlike red lipstick). In comparison to the rest of the requirements on the journey to purpose, it costs nothing.

We will all, at some point in life, have less than we desire. There’s always one more thing you want in order to be satisfied – more money, more Instagram followers, a lot more views on your YouTube channel. Life most times equips us with all we need but not all we want. Conditions are never perfect for birthing purposes. I can hear you saying “I don’t even have all I need”, but you do.

 

Your dreams are what you bring with you when you try to convince new investors for your business, reach out to brands for collaboration or try out for roles you’re unqualified for. Your dream is the fuel that will keep you going on the days they tell you ‘no’ for the hundredth time and the day you hear a ‘yes’, so try not to lose it. The only way to win is to get in the ring and the only way to start building a vision is by dreaming about it first. If you get knocked out, remember that failing is part of the battle strategy. My red lipstick has been with me through the days when my eyebrows have been on ‘fleek’ and the days they’ve been scraggly.

When you realize your dreams are not just for you, it changes how you chase it. When you get to that point in life where you realise that you have something to offer – even when you don’t have it all –  and your dreams begin to help others dream, that is when your dreams become a reality.

If there’s a phrase for describing my 2019, it would be ‘just enough’. One of the things that kept me going this year – even when I wanted to quit – was having a dream and most importantly, I wanted to help other women dream – even when I had barely enough. So on those days when the thought of lying in my bed and sleeping out my frustration was the most appealing, I sent encouraging voice notes to a friend who was having a tough time and listened to her dreams for her online business.

The times when a 9-5 job would have been great to have, I took out time to volunteer for an NGO to help women with learning skills to be financially independent. My point is this: wherever you are on achieving your dreams, you are one step ahead of someone who hasn’t even begun to dream. Give someone the gift of dreaming with your time, skills and friendship, it is then you begin to live it.

Dreams are great, but you have to wake up to live them. Just like my red lipstick is beautiful in its case and perfectly shaped when it hasn’t been used, its true beauty is in its application. When I rub red lipstick on my lips, another version of me is born. I don’t want you to just know that your dreams are enough, I want you to use them to fuel your passion, design your future and begin to live them. Doing extraordinary things starts with you doing the ordinary. You don’t need a title to do great things.

Want to own the best clothing line? You have to design the first dress. Want to run a global NGO? Volunteer to teach out-of-school kids. Want to create the perfect make-up look? Apply red lipstick and watch tons of make-up tutorials on YouTube.

A person who doesn’t go the conventional route is often more proof of faith; do, so that others can dream because you did.

I saw this quote somewhere on the internet and I think it’s befitting in describing dreams “use what you have, do what you can”.

I’m curious; what’s your make-up hack on your ‘I can’t come and kill myself ‘ days? What’s the one piece of makeup you always have?

What is that one dream you have? Tell me about it.

Jessica Ireju is a writer crafting words together on her thoughts, dreams and experiences either on the pages of her diary or online to serve as a compass to her and hopefully others on navigating life, love and faith. She has a degree in Archaeology and Tourism from the university of Nigeria, Nsukka. She's an avid reader, a lover of home made pancakes and on the days when she's not having conversations with herself she can be found on instagram @jessicaireju and can be reached for conversations, content creation and freelance writing by email on [email protected]

4 Comments

  1. Adwoa

    November 27, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Beautiful article and very relatable especially to those of us who possess every shade of red lipstick because we know what it can do on it’s own. Thank you.

    1
    • Jessica Ireju

      November 28, 2019 at 1:53 am

      Hi Adwoa, Thank you for reading and yes to the power of red lipstick !

  2. Olawunmi

    November 27, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Nice article. I love the explanation of what our dreams truly are using an analogy of the red lipstick

    1
    • Jessica Ireju

      November 29, 2019 at 2:36 am

      I love that you loved it, thanks for leaving a comment.

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