Thursday, July 7, 2011
How can one become so self conscious of one's looks? At what point does that person own such a distorted perception of his or her own body? Feeling 'this is not enough' or 'why do I look so ugly'.
When exactly, would one start feeling ugly? Is it when people keep giving you weird looks when your appearance is mentioned or when you realize you don't look exactly like the others?
Do people see difference as ugliness? Everybody compares themselves to others. Some may claim that they don't, but that's lying. People compare all the time. Some compare to make sure they are on par, some because if they're better then they get a boost to their own ego. It's ok for self reflection and improvement but don't get it to such an unhealthy level that you get so obsessed on being better than they are. That is not comparing, that is unhealthy competing.
Isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder? There are a lot of different beauty standards in the world anyway. Pale skin, tanned skin, long necks, large eyes, bushy eyebrows, thin eyebrows.. Why must we follow these standards so closely, when it may change any other day, and tag ourselves as ugly once we do not have any of the 'beautiful' characteristics?
Self acceptance may boost self esteem, so do people who hate their looks have lower self esteem? But a lot of people have low self esteem, so does it matter? Well, yea it does actually. It makes a lot of difference in life.
Sure, I've read a lot about people with anorexia or bulimia before. And I'd never really understand how can they be so blind to not see their own image in the mirror. How can you not realize your arms and legs already look like sticks? How can their brain be so messed up to not give the right signal?
And now, looking back, I can feel pretty hypocritical. Because I'd been just like them. They just don't see it. The smallest flaws are magnified until all they can see is just the tiny little freckle or a leg that resembled a stick looked more like a huge tree stump. Some will know, in the back of their mind, that doing good shows on the face and that looks are just secondary compared to attitude and knowledge. But somehow, this all becomes unimportant.
Whenever people dropped compliments, I may feel flattered for a while and then just revert back to "no, they're just being kind" or "nah, they're the minority who thinks that way". I might have even insisted that I'm not really that way until some probably got sick of me and think me as a liar and a fake.
Whenever I looked at my reflection, 9 times out of 10 I could see all those flaws staring right back at me. The uneven skin tone, the pimples, the ugly nose and the eyes that never quite looked right, the dark eye circles, the limp and frizzy hair. I felt so disgusted. They were all lying to make me feel better, and I took sides of the other bunch, who said I was ugly. And I've never known my legs as normal or thin, even.
Not until when I was 15 and before I went to watch Transformers I went shopping with a girlfriend and after trying on some clothes, we just stared at our reflections and she started complaining about her legs. Which consist of mostly muscle, not fat. I started to complain about mine as well because I have always looked down and saw fat thighs. Somehow, after all those times in dressing rooms with full length mirrors, for the first time ever, I thought, "hey, mine aren't really that bad." For the first time ever I saw normal looking legs in the mirror. Weird. Maybe it's because I've never really, truly looked at them from a different view. Or the fact that I don't have full length mirrors at home. Or that legs will always looked stump-ier whenever you're sitting down or squatting or whatever.
But self consciousness is normal during the teenage years right? Yes, it's normal. But people need to learn acceptance and I didn't. I just hated myself. I pretended to feel pretty but it didn't last long. Sure I knew that looks don't trump knowledge and all that but I wanted to look nice anyway. I mean, who doesn't desire good looks? What made me even more certain I was ugly came when some people just threw it casually in my face about how my facial features were not according to proportion, that real girls are more plumped up. List goes on.
Or maybe I'm just sensitive in particular cases. I can't really differentiate.
There's no pinpointing the blame here, so don't think media has an effect. It doesn't. Back then, I never really found celebrities and models beautiful, just pretty because they look all the same. So no I didn't want to emulate them. Actually I don't recall wanting to be anyone in particular but just hating my own.
FASTFORWARD 2011. After a couple of 'deep thinking' sessions triggered by certain small but significant events, I stopped hating my face and body. Is this self acceptance yet? That does not mean I've given up on everything related to enhancing my looks though. I still try to have a more balanced diet, sleep early, drink more water, use the right products and have a non-sedentary lifestyle (still working on this one).
No way I'm succumbing to conventional beauty standards. I may not have the right proportions but who cares? I like me. Everyone is different. All this beauty stuff is too fickle. Imperfections are sexy btw. Gap teeth used to be considered ugly but hey, it's the trend now. This is so cliche, but it is indeed better to be yourself. Not the lazy one, but the best you can be. Not just on looking good, but doing good and feeling good.
So, to all the girls out there, stop obsessing and hating and worrying, because that's going to make you ugly. It's just face value, after all.
XOXO, Ashley Hoh