The Art of Being “Ugly”

Cosmetics Became a Surprisingly Positive Part of My Recovery From an Eating Disorder

There’s an Elizabeth Taylor quote I wrote inside my journal in high school. It’s the kind of quote you see printed on tacky spiral notebooks, bordered by rhinestones and paired with a set of pastel gel pens. You’ve probably seen it hanging on a plaque in a discount home decor store: “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

At 16, I was too much of a goody-two-shoes to consider underage drinking, but I equated lipstick with a poise I didn’t yet have. I saw myself …