Now, I posted that image above in my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just for laughs. I mean, for the past months, I see my girl friends in those social network accounts posting about their #thinspiration which were composed by the almost unclad Ellen Adarna doing exercise and a bunch of super thin girls with their ribcages saying, “how do you do?” Then I realized on thing: #thinspiration cannot be searched in Instagram and Facebook as well as in another social network, Tumblr.
When I searched ‘thinspiration’ in Google, everything was so clear to me. There are so many images of girls that are so thin they are obviously anorexic with captions such as, “Because the pain of looking in the mirror hurts more than starving” or “Everything looks good on skinny” or the hilarious, “Pizza or hip bones?”
(Any normal person would say, “Pizza, duh.”)
I cannot be the spokesperson of both being fit because obviously, I’m overweight or some body-loving warrior because there are days wherein I loathe my body. My weight just yo-yoed for years. I’m just a girl who struggled with weight all her life. I was born chubby. When I was in my preschool days I was sickly, hence, a thin child. My parents got worried and they made me drink a medicine that boosted my appetite. When I was about the age of Ryzza Mae Dizon, I had exactly the same body as she does. When I was in middle school, I grew faster than girls my age that people called me fat. I believed that until after college where I stuffed everything in my mouth not caring what other people think only to realize years later that I wasn’t really fat until before college based on my pictures. In law school, I immediately gained 20 pounds just after two semesters from stress eating. I lost everything when I went to gym for two months and eventually gained everything plus some more as the years go by. I was in my heaviest about a year ago and hit the obesity mark for the first time in my life. Because of my gynaecologist’s advice, I took everything in moderation and today I weighed 20 pounds lighter than the year before.
And yes, I do want to lessen my weight so much more because come on…I’m ageing. I’ll be 26 years old in a month’s time and while those chronic, deadly diseases caused by being overweight have not become a threat yet for me, they might suddenly come knocking on my doorstep soon if I don’t change my lifestyle. But probably I’d concentrate on that after the bar. I’m sorry that I have no heart to post exactly what my weight is today but to give you an idea, my BMI is 27.6.
So, I understand almost every girl’s wish to eat without gaining anything. What I do not understand is why you need to starve yourself for something that cannot be usually seen in normal clothes like hip bones, collar bones…and come on, I have never heard of a man saying, “Hey, I dig that chick. She has gap between her legs!” We, women, are our worst critics. But believing and wanting these things for your body is very unhealthy for you. While obesity kills, these pro-ana or pro-mia (short for pro-anorexic or pro-bulimic) equally does the same thing which is to kill you eventually. I cannot really judge girls who still believe in these pro-ana or pro-mia beliefs. But if you are not loving and accepting yourself for who you are, chances are no one else will. Also, recognize the fact that anorexia and bulimia is not only characterized as an eating disorder but also a mental disorder. With everything that we do, always ask yourself the question, “Why am I doing this?”
We all cannot be those women in the glossy pages of the magazines. As a matter of fact, those women cannot be those women they perceive as they are in real life. They are airbrushed heavily and any more imperfections like their body shapes could be resolved by Adobe Photoshop. They aren’t real but you, my reader, are. In life we had no choice to be but one person, ourselves per se. Anything less than that would not make you happy. Somebody would be thinner, prettier, smarter or kinder than you. But nobody in the world is like you.
There is nothing wrong with trying to lose weight. But losing yourself is.
We all have imperfections. I am the best example of a perfectly imperfect person from head to toe. I battled insecurities from the way I look especially my nose, being overweight, acne and bruises and scars due to clumsiness. When I was in high school, it was so bad that I could not look at myself in the mirror and I feel nauseated just seeing any of my pictures. I saw myself as a very ugly person that I thought I was cursed.
Nonetheless, I eventually accepted my flaws. I learned to wear better clothes. I understood the purpose of skincare. I found joy in applying makeup. Actually, I only learned these things for roughly a year now. Regardless of that, I now laugh at my imperfections because I fully accepted them together with my good qualities. It makes me who I am. I am no longer a prisoner of my imperfections.
In less than two weeks, I’ll turn 25 years old. I feel old but at the same time, I feel blessed that I was born earlier in this world. These days, people are so obsessed with what they look like that there are some teenagers asking their parents for plastic surgery as graduation gift. When my brother graduated high school last year, one of his batch mates had undergone plastic surgery before they graduated. Now, it is understandable that such act of going through knife at a very young age is shocking to sub-urban Fairview, Quezon City, Philippines. But in South Korea, it is really very normal for girls to have cosmetic surgery after high school graduation. People there are so obsessed with ‘perfecting themselves’. As proof, kindly examine the image below:
At first glance, they seem to be a picture of a woman who just wears different hair and clothes. However, believe it or not, they are the contestants of the upcoming Miss Korea 2013. Notice the same small face, refined but soft eyes, impeccable nose and thin lips. The ratio of the distance of the features is so noticeable. Yes, they had undergone plastic surgery according to my source although it is uncertain if all of them went through it. Their similarities are probably not an accident because that face portrays what a “perfect” woman is for the South Koreans.
Yes, I must admit how pretty they all look. If God had made me choose my physical appearance, especially my facial features, I would have really considered this look for myself. If I were born this pretty, I’d take no hesitation and join a beauty contest. But what good is a beauty contest if all contestants look so similar that they look like clones of each other? If everyone on earth looks the same, who could be called beautiful?
If there’s anything I learn in looking at that picture, I realized that “perfection” can really be boring.
Plastic surgery is an ethical issue that is so sensitive to touch. We are born with our own bodies and graced with freewill, we could do anything we want with it. How we treat, dress and accessorize shows our attitude, our feelings and our self-expression to the world. Perhaps, altering parts of our body is also part of our freewill. However, did it occur to you that you are beautiful enough?
I know none of us remember the day we were born. I’m glad I couldn’t. When I was born almost twenty-five years ago, it was a beautiful Sunday morning. Most importantly, it was Mother’s Day. However, before my mother went emotional because of meeting her firstborn a little bit late in her life, she was bothered by my aunts’ nasty comments.
“Naku, Angelo…mapapagastos ka niyan. Sapad na sapad ang ilong ng anak mo!”
(“Oh no, Angelo [my dad]…you are going to spend so much money [on your daughter]. Her nose is so flat!”)
Wow. Epic welcome. Like, hello…that my first day on this freaking earth! Growing up, I didn’t like my facial features so much but I have this incredible hate for my nose. It is so large and looks flat because of the bulbous tip. When get colds, it looks even more ridiculous because it looks like a tomato due to redness. It is so annoying because the nose is the most conspicuous part of your face because it sits amidst of your face. I really considered having plastic surgery before. I thought that it would be better if I made it look like my mother’s nose because she has this subtle, pointy nose. But now that I’m all grown up, I fully accept the shape of my nose. Actually, I believe that it made my face so distinguishable that people easily recalls what I look like. I now embrace it as part of my uniqueness.
Plastic surgery is becoming more and more prevalent in the world. In fact, before in my country, it is a big scandal when actors and actresses go under the knife. But nowadays, they even explicitly express their gratitude on national television their cosmetic surgeon like Dr. Vicky Belo or Dr. Manny Calayan, who are some of the famous cosmetic surgeons here. I guess in most parts of the world, plastic surgery is really becoming more and more acceptable. Also, in various parts of the world, media and society dictates what is beautiful. In Korea and other parts of Asia, it’s about softening features and putting emphasis on the ratio of the distance of the facial features. In the western world, it’s all about exaggerating on what you have. Girls there want bigger boobs, sharper butts and have those big, luscious Angelina Jolie lips. Truly, what is beautiful in the east is not necessarily what is beautiful in the west. So who is beautiful then?
The problem I see in plastic surgery is once you ‘perfect’ a part of your body, you will go on and ‘perfect’ the other parts. Over and over you can see imperfection on yourself and try to alter those flaws. In the end, you will never be contented on what you have and if you are not contented in life, chances are you will never be truly happy.
I will not judge you if you still chose to undergo cosmetic surgery. It is your body and life anyway. But one piece of unsolicited advice that I could share with you is this: Do not let media, society or other people make you believe that you are not beautiful. After all, the perception of beauty always changes overtime. For example, see those paintings made during the Renaissance period. Do you see girls who have this sought-after hourglass figure in any of the paintings? No. Well, during that time, curvier women are thought to be more beautiful. Just look at the famous “Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli. In our modern day standards, that woman posing as Venus would probably be called as ‘fat’ by some people. Also, someday, when the world forgets about Angelina Jolie, women who tried copying her lips would probably look ludicrous. Like fashion, the perceptions of what is beautiful come and go. The bottom line is, accept yourself. In the first place, if you do not love yourself it reflects to the world. If you do not love yourself, chances are the world will not love you back. Do not focus much on what you don’t have. After all, the truth remains that you can never be perfect no matter how much surgeries you have. Feel blessed because you’re unique. Focus more on what is eternal like kindness rather that which comes and goes.
You are beautiful. Do not just believe in that. Know that.
“We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care.”
― Will Smith
I think that I had come to this point in my life wherein I could truly say that I like myself.
If you had been a follower of my blog, you would know that I have a hard time growing up. I look, talk, think and act differently from others. But now I have this strong verge of confidence inside of me and I am willing to tell you the secret: I now fully know, understand and accept myself.
To accept oneself is not really easy. I believe that while man is essentially born as good person, he is also born a pessimist. We see awful things around us. We brace ourselves for the worst. Also, have you ever wondered why about 90% of the news on the television, radio and the web is composed only of bad news? The reason is pretty simple: bad news is the only ones that sell. The more horrific the news, the better because of the sensation and interest it absorbs from us. Therefore, if we look upon the world with so much negativity, then how do we perceive that one thing closest to us: our own selves?
When you look at the mirror, what do you see? A lot of persons see nothing but their imperfections. You see your pimple and other blemishes one hundred times more than your natural beauty. Or even if you are lucky enough without any skin blemishes, you would wonder why can’t you be skinny or tall or rich or talented or famous enough? That’s another fault of all of us: we like to compare. Then again, why do you need to compare? Whatever happens we live our own, unique lives. We have our own pace in finding our own purpose and our successes in life. Also, understand that no one is perfect. Everybody is struggling every day. Everyone has crosses to bear. Everyone has secrets. Don’t compare yourself to anyone because we don’t know what kind of life he or she is living in. You know, everyone is different even in handling pain. Some goes ballistic with a paper cut but some could smile beautifully despite having a stage four cancer.
Know yourself because chances are if you don’t know who you are then other people, who are most likely insecure of you, and media will tell you negative things that are possibly not true about yourself. You could be told that you would possibly fail in your plans or you lack qualifications or you are not attractive enough.
When I look at the mirror this is what I see: This month, I am officially twenty-four and half years old and a few more months, I will be a quarter of a century old. I am still studying when the people my age are starting to earn their first million pesos, travelling the country and the world and starting a family. I never had a boyfriend. I am voluptuous. I am too tall or too fair for a South-East Asian. I will never have a perfect skin. I am clumsier, quirkier and more awkward than most people I know. BUT I DON’T CARE ANYMORE.
Because I know and appreciate myself better now. I am still studying because I know that I have this much passion, intelligence and love to become a lawyer after a few more years. Yes, I am aging and I am dating nobody but if I will be in the single-blessedness stage forever, would that fact make me less than a person than those people who are married? Are married people or at least people who are in a relationship necessarily happier than those who are flying solo? Of course not. I may be ageing, but I am very thankful for living wonderfully with so much love around me for more than twenty-four years.
I know my body well, hence, I accept that I am indeed a big and fat woman. But because I am aware this, I learned to choose clothes that are flattering to me. I could just walk myself with chin up because I know that I still could carry a level of sexiness within me. My skin is becoming fairer and fairer as the years go by mainly because I lack sun exposure because I stay at home in the morning to prepare for my lessons at night and leave home when the sun is about to expire for the day. However, I now consider myself lucky because I am no longer one of those girls (or even boys) who would inject thousands of vials of glutathione for their skin to be fairer. However, I really do not see what is wrong with being dark-skinned. To maintain a fair skin is way harder than you thought. A single blemish could be seen easily. Also, sun-kissed skin is always sexy.
My skin would always break out and I’ll never be those girls whom you could call pretty. Recently, I now learned how to use makeup which is so fun. Slowly, I learned that my skin is breaking out mainly of a lot of unnecessary stress. Stress because I was trying to please other people that I don’t like so hard. Stress because all my life I was trying to fit in. Stress because I was tired of my life. And all this were just a lot of wasted, precious energy!
I am clumsy, quirky and awkward but that is just me. Everything that I have said is my imperfections and that makes me who I am. My imperfections made me understand and relate to more people and with this knowledge, I could possibly inspire and boost self-confidence of people who are struggling with the same. I know my value and I am living my life. I do not need to prove or explain myself to anyone. My acceptance of who I truly am give me this long-lasting happiness that I carry on with my life every day. I am now the type of woman who could laugh at her mistakes, shrug it off and move on with your life.
So stand tall, chin up and smile. We are good enough. We matter. We are worthy. We are beautiful persons. 🙂
“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness.”
I think that deep inside every woman, no matter how tough or manly her occupation is or no matter how tomboyish or brawny society looks at her and no matter how plain Jane she appears in public, she just wants to feel one thing. She just wants to feel beautiful.
It’s really strange that nowadays, I am often with makeup. A few years back that would be unimaginable. When I was a child, makeup intimidated me. My aunties in Pampanga often told me that you don’t need to put makeup because only the malalandi or flirtatious girls are the only one who needs it. All you need to do is keep your face clean and eat vegetables. I believed them for a long time. By the time I was thirteen years old, I was a high school freshman. Some of my classmates began using powder pacts, cheek tints and lip gloss. I looked down on them. I can’t believe that at a very young age, they are beginning to be flirtatious when some of them still forgets the multiplication tables at times. I resented everyone who wore makeup in school. In my mind, my aunties are correct. Your physical attributes does not really matter anyway. You just need to be a smart girl. You must be a kind girl to everyone. What is inside is all that counts. Dabbing everything to your face makes you superficial and fake.
That’s why my proms are disasters. I don’t know what to wear. I don’t know how to keep my makeup on. I do not know how to act like a lady. I was awkward, very awkward. Worst, during my junior year, I was wearing my very think eyeglasses up to our prom because I was afraid to try contact lens then. In many ways, I think I’m a deviant in my school proms.
But before I graduated high school, I decided to ask my mother if she could buy me my very first pressed powder which she agreed. You see, I’m very pimply in my youth. Unfortunately, at age twenty-four, I still experience some skin breakouts. That explains a lot why I still have a lot of pimple scars on my face.
Anyway, things changed a little with beauty and I when I reached college. My choice of clothing was better though. I refused wearing very loose clothes that I was wearing in high school in non-school days. I loved hairbands and earrings, too. My haircut is layered for the first time. But it’s different when it comes to makeup. I only wear pressed powder and sometimes because of lengthy and difficult paperwork, I forget putting them on. I tried wearing something for my lips but it I didn’t like the reaction of my block mates. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Economics classmates to death but probably they gave me weird reactions because of over familiarity? They weren’t used in seeing me like that. Then again, probably I misunderstood their reactions because I’m too self-conscious?
In law school, nothing changed in the beginning. After all, I was still wearing uniform in UST Law School. But eventually, I got so pressured with law school that I forget so many things even keeping myself tidy. I look harassed every day and I was gaining so much weight. Eventually, you all know what happened next and I went to UE College of Law. I went there looking so much like a slob. There are no prescribed uniform in UE except that as much as possible; one must go to school in semi-formal attire. That was my first problem, I barely have clothes and eventually I began raiding my mother’s closet. My parents are helpful though. They started buying me appropriate top pieces. The black slacks I wore were all from my old UST uniform so there is no problems with the bottom part. Soon, I was getting sick of wearing black slacks so I began wearing black skirts. It was uncomfortable at first but I realized that I keep changing classmates all the time in UE so I decided not to care anymore if someone would look down on me or laugh at me with what I am wearing because there is a big chance that I’d only see that person once or twice a week for just a few hours. Once, my mother is buying lipstick from Maybelline. I showed her my interest; she bought me two with a simple blush. My Chinese best friend also gave me a lipstick from the same brand with lip gloss for Christmas. I suddenly felt like an adult. I started putting on some makeup to school though with great caution with the blush. The fuchsia shade that she bought for me is too dark and loud to my pale, sallow skin. Also, last Christmas, with some cash I earned, I absentmindedly entered into a Korean beauty shop, Etude House in SM Fairview. Not knowing what exactly to buy, I bought a makeup base because I thought that it was the foundation I need to even out my skin. I also bought a blusher with a highlighter in it which I’m puzzled on using. But both products turned out great. Surprisingly, my parents bought me a foundation from Paul and Joe as Christmas gift.
Yet something is still missing.
For the longest time, I always believe that I’m not beautiful. This is especially true when I was in high school. If someday, I’ll be a very prominent person and there are clamors to have my autobiography written, my biographer will have a really hard time in finding pictures in my high school days. That is mainly because I look at myself as a very ugly girl. I dressed ugly, I wear very thick glasses, I am chubby, I have a lot of acne and my parents refused to grow my hair long before I reached college. There are days when my haircut is shorter than my boy classmates! Some people actually mistook me for a boy.
Then, one day I woke up thinking out of the blue that I want to use makeup as in I really, really want to use makeup. The next weeks, I saw myself scrimping so much on my expenses and kept on returning to Etude House. Suddenly, nothing fits with my makeup kit that I bought another one. I also read a lot of review blogs on makeup products and watched a lot of makeup tutorials in Youtube. Presently, I have a makeup base, a foundation, a BB Cream, two powder pacts, five pots of eye shadow, three lipsticks, two lip glosses, two matte blushers, an eyebrow color, an eye cream liner and a mascara plus some other accessory products and skin care products mostly from Etude House. I guess I now have the basics of a makeup kit though in the next weeks to come, I’m still scrimping on my expenses to ensure that all beauty products I use are Etude House. I have this weird inclination with a brand that I think works for me. My shampoo, conditioner, soap and deodorant are all products by Dove. I want to try other products like brown eyeliner pencil and cream blushers.
It’s exhausting sometimes especially that I can’t eat the food that I like particularly Korean foods. For some reason, the University Belt this year has so many Korean restaurants which sprung like mushrooms. Nonetheless, Korean foods took the hearts of many of students like me. The sassy spiciness of their food ended with their sweet and unique ice creams were addicting. So yeah, I went from a Korean drama addict, to a Korean foodie and now to a Korean makeup geek. I so hate Korea for making me spend too much on their merchandise for years now! Just kidding, of course I love Korea.
(By the way, if you guys are starting makeup these days, I highly recommend that you choose a Korean or Japanese brand. I just love the East-Asian philosophy on makeup. They do not just do makeup that are flattering to a woman’s skin and are long lasting but they also put into consideration the long-time effect on it into the skin. That’s why their makeups, especially their powder pacts and BB Creams, have sunscreen included to prevent both UVA and UVB rays penetrating to our skin which hastens aging. BB Creams are amazing because aside from acting like a moisturizer and foundation with good concealing properties but it also possess healing properties that soften, smoothen and refine skin. It encourages skin regeneration to create and maintain youthful skin and has anti-wrinkle and skin lightening benefits. Yes, it is the beauty secret of the ‘perfect’ Korean celebrities. Lastly, East-Asian brands are hypoallergenic and does not have that weird cosmetic scents like Eastern brands and are pareben-free. For now, BB Cream worked for me as it evens out my skin tone and my pimple scars are now fading slowly but surely.)
Anyway, by wearing makeup, my perspective changed. It revived the creativity in me that died when I went to college. You see, I’m not a really smart girl in high school especially with anything that has to do with numbers but I get high marks in drawing and crafts, well, besides languages. Also, by looking more prepped up people seems to respect you more. I feel that slowly, people are now recognizing me as a woman and not that clumsy girl that they always knew. You also get compliments saying how beautiful you look today or how you seem to bloom by the day. It also highlights your best feature. I always thought that I have ugly lips because it looks plain to me but when I started applying lipsticks in a daily basis, I get compliments that any lipstick shade I use looks good on me because I have nicely shaped lips. Slowly, you realized that all these time you were made beautiful in your own way. Now I do not see why not a woman must not put a little makeup. I mean we polish our shoes and we decorate our homes so I see no reason why we shouldn’t fix ourselves every day before we head out. Most especially if we’re going to show our clean, polished and confident selves to the world.
Of course, I do not forget that the real beauty comes within. These days, I am not just beautifying my face but also my soul. I try to read the Bible a little more and read articles in the World Wide Web on Christianity, kindness, love, inspiration and passion. As much as possible, I try to apply that to my everyday life being a good daughter, sister, friend, student and colleague. Thus, by being good and pleasant to others, that is what really makes me bloom more than my exteriors. No matter how much concealer you put into your face, it cannot hide an ugly soul. Hence, before you move on to your exteriors, make sure you had worked on or is working on into your exteriors.
I understand that not all women would want to wear makeup but the bottom line of this article is this: if you want to do something for yourself, do it right away if you think it will make you happy. Do not be fearful on what will people say or comment on you. People will always have an opinion on you whatever happens anyway. This quote that I read from tumblr best explains it:
You eat, you’re fat. You don’t eat, you’re a freak. You read, you’re a nerd. You don’t read, you’re stupid. You tell a secret, you’re an attention seeker. You don’t tell a secret, you’re still attention seeking. You let someone in, you’re easy. You don’t let someone in, you’re too uptight. You’ve had sex, you’re a slut. You haven’t had sex, you’re a frigid little bitch. You wear makeup, you’re a slag. You don’t wear makeup, you’re ugly. You can’t please anyone. Ever.
Life is short. As long as you will not hurt another person, who cares what others think. Always go for happiness.