Despite knowing that our body is more than just its looks, everyone has their hang ups. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to not have thighs that stick together every time the thermometer hits 30+ degrees, but one thing I’d never viewed negatively were my brows. Until a comment from a stranger sent my arches straight to the top of the list.
It all happened due to an image posted on social media that ironically had nothing to do with eyebrows in the slightest.
I had written about my love of face mists for The Glow and how they were the perfect solution for people who regularly find themselves red-faced (ahem, me). Looking back over the post the next day, I saw a comment from someone I had never met, never even heard of.
"Forget about a red face, look at those terrible overdone brows! You need to sort out that situation now," it read.
I'm under no illusion that this is the worst thing that's ever been said online. Or that the internet is a place of rainbows, fluffy unicorns and smiles.
(Watch: Meaghan Ramsey talks to Mia Freedman about the effects of low self-esteem. Post continues after video.)
Plus, I've been hit with my fair share of remarks about my appearance both online and offline in the past, but for some silly reason this comment knocked me for six.
I became reluctant to take or share any photos. It's been six months and sadly I've only just come round to feeling good about my brows again.
Immediately after, my arches became a source of irritation and frustration to me. In a world of overdone Instagram brows "on fleek", my natural pair that I'd always liked for being unique and "real" seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. (Post continues after gallery.)
My usual pluck-the-strays-and-quickly-comb styling routine seemed inadequate and so, not knowing what to do, I did nothing. I hated looking at my eyebrows, so I didn't.
Unkept and unloved, they became strange looking as they grew out of shape, which only worsened the situation. My habit of picking at my eyebrows which I've done occasionally in the past when I'm stressed or bored came back, so the outer half became bare and patchy - they were a nightmare.
Here are the four ways I got me eyebrow mojo back.
It was a photo that sent me spiraling into the situation I found myself in. And it was a photo that got me out. A picture taken at a social event made me realise just how much I'd let them go and I questioned why I had let one comment from someone I didn't even know haunt me for so long.
They're just bloody brows, after all! Enough was enough - it was time to do something about it.
I did a minimal tidy up to remove some of the major stray offenders, stopped picking to give the hair time to grow back, and got creative with some eyebrow gel to hide the patches in the mean time. Then I made an appointment with a professional to get myself back on track.
2. See a professional.
I knew I was safe in the hands of brow whizz Amy Jean Linnehan of Amy Jean Eye Couture. If she could handle Naomi Campbell and Deltra Goodrem's brows, she could definitely rescue mine.
She's a firm believer in the power of the brows.
"Brows have the ability to make or break a face. They can take years off out face if they are shaped symmetrically and coloured to harmonize with our facial features. You can own the room with a good set of brows!" she says.
I wanted in.
She assured me my brows weren't as bad as I had described and set to work.
"They were very blocky at the start then thinned out suddenly. If there is too much hair in the first part of the brow compared to the outer half, it can give off a 'pensive' look," she says.
Lifting the start of the brow and neatening up the arch instantly lifted my face and gave me a spring in my step that I hadn't had in a while.
3. Owning it.
After their mini makeover, the love for my brows was back and I had the selfies and Snapchats to prove it.
Linnehan also showed me how to 'do' my brows and this has quickly become my go-to routine for times when I want them to look neat but natural. I was never going to have the patience or time for full-on Instagram brows, so it was a happy medium.
I fix any redness or unevenness with a concealer (unsurprisingly, the Amy Jean Blank Canvas,$35, is rather foolproof) allowing a little bit of product to smear through the brows. No, this isn't a faux pas, but actually helps the brows to stay in place. (Post continues after gallery.)
I skip the pencil and use a brow powder in light feathering motions to slightly extend and neaten my brows, then comb to soften and blend. Other days, I'm just as happy with nothing or a quick brush of tinted gel.
4. Reality check.
With my brows back to normal, plus improved a little bit, I felt better. I felt myself.
But the real recovery came when I realised it wasn't about just 'fixing' my brows - it was about fixing my mentality. My brows had never been an issue, until someone pointed it out to me. I became fixated on worrying about them and changing them, not realising that they weren't the problem.
The problem was that I had let a comment from a total stranger, that probably took a few seconds to write, cause me months of worry and insecurity. By placing the value of their opinion over my own, I'd given those hateful words all the power and forgotten my own.
So yes, the physical change helped but the mental one was even more significant. I reminded myself that other people's opinion of me (or my eyebrows) doesn't define me. And next time I'm faced with a similar comment? Now my skin is a little bit thicker - and my brows even better - I'll just brush it aside. It's what I think and feel that counts, after all.
Have you ever had a comment wreck your self-esteem?