I probably should blog this for #TheFridayCurrently (which is late, I know) but I already have another topic, so…
This is what I look like.
Note, I said “This is what I look like.” I did not say “I woke up like this.” Like a lot of girls my age, I’ve achieved this look with a little help. Specifically, eyebrow gel, cheek tint, and lipstick. My hair’s currently dyed a shade lighter than its actual dark red-brown. I’ve just had a haircut. I’m looking like a lightly-enhanced version of myself, and I should feel great about that but instead I’m thinking about how I have a constellation of pimples on the edges of my face. Whiteheads on my back. A developing double chin. My thighs and upper arms are jiggly. I have a “spare tire” around my waist. My butt’s not toned or taut. My chest is, well, small.
My work-mates and friends say I’m not fat, tell me I have a great sense of style. A few of my crushes have even called me a “pretty girl” or, in the case of one less-articulate fellow, “mukhang chicks” (the kind of comment you build a dream on). Empirically, I know that for all of my physical flaws I’m aesthetically pleasing enough to turn the occasional head.
But I’m not perfect. Society tells me that. The media tells me that.
The freaking stupid #dontjudgechallenge tells me that.
My skin breaks out periodically. I don’t really have eyebrows. My face is *big*. My eyes are small, and my glasses grade so high I might as well be legally blind. I’m short but big boned, with the broad shoulders of a teenage boy. These are things I can’t really change: I was born this way, and I shouldn’t have to feel bad about that fact.
But I do.
I’m so tired of having to feel like I’m not measuring up to a standard I never had a say in. I’m so tired of feeling inadequate because of factors I can’t change. Sure, okay, I can lose weight, but even then I’d still be a small-breasted, stockily-built, pimply “nerd” who has more in common with the “before” faces in those stupid videos than the afters. And I’m tired of feeling like it’s somehow my fault, like I’m somehow worth less because of that fact.
No one benefits from the “Don’t Judge Challenge.” The “ugly” become an internet-wide punchline, while the “beautiful” end up looking like the jerks that most them actually aren’t. Heck, the fact that classifications of ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ exist, based on such arbitrary factors as eyebrow proliferation, sebum production, weak vision, compromised dental hygiene, and a “nerdy” fashion sense (as I’ve seen reflected in some of the clips), is ridiculous in itself: such a diverse specimen pool as the human race could not possibly be subcategorized so simply into two buckets. What is the basis?
What is the point?
I know full well what makes me truly unattractive: my insecurity. My tendency for self-deprecation and all-out pessimism is what pushes people away. And I’m not going to blameshift: the decision to be this kind of person is totally mine. I choose to believe that I am “not good enough” for people to notice. I choose to believe that people are out of my league, that no one could find me attractive, that I am nothing. These are my mistakes, and I am owning their consequences just as much as I am trying to correct them. But just like it’s hard to go cold turkey from alcohol if you’re living twenty-four-seven in a wine cellar, it’s hard for me to block out the urge to belittle myself when the world’s doing such a good job of telling me I’m right.
We’re making each other unpretty, when each and every one of us has the right to feel pretty. Or, at least, feel like we matter. Like we’re not unfortunate souls to be parodied, judgements to be passed or passed over. Because we do matter. Because we are okay. Because this is the skin we were made wear and we do not have to be judged for it.
This is what I look like. I don’t think I’m pretty. But I hope one day, regardless of how I look, I’ll be able to. And, for everyone else out there who struggles with those same feelings of insecurity, invalidity, and imperfection–I hope one day we can build a better world where you can feel pretty too.