What is it like to be a super skinny, chinky-eyed girl in a world that was once overly exposed to a limited definition of beauty?
Not too empowering.
I remember when I was younger, I believed that to be beautiful meant you had to be:
3. With bright, colored eyes.
Media wasn’t much of a help as they only heavily advertised women with these attributes and media representation leant towards Western beauty.
Growing up, I attended a Chinese school here in Cebu. My classmates, teachers, and other faculty members mostly (if not all) had Chinese blood in them, so it was quite strange that I still felt ostracized or criticized for being or looking “too Chinese.” I was too embarrassed to learn Hokkien from my grandmother because I was scared people in school would make fun of me even more. All the popular kids sort of made this whole culture a joke, and so I all I wanted was to disassociate myself with it. I’d hear comments like “Insik gyud”, or “Pikot mata” and many others of the sort that really made it difficult for me to be proud of my heritage. This was back in elementary school, when we didn’t have access to the internet and when people were far less open minded and exposed.
Thankfully, I was raised in a very loving and encouraging family that allowed me to take the jokes and “bullying” lightly. I took the high road and brushed them off like it didn’t mean anything, when deep inside, it kind of left a dent.
Harsh words hurt. And no matter how many times you try to ignore it pretend they don’t matter, it stings.
As I grew older and became more exposed to the world outside school, I became more and more conscious of myself and how people see me. When I went to photoshoots or got my make up done, the artists would always try to “correct” my eyes instead of enhancing them, making me really believe that what I had was not something people wanted.
“Is it really that bad?” I would ask myself this question repeatedly.
I started to secretly hate myself for having eyes like these. I started to look at myself like how these people looked at me – like I had a mistake on my face that needed some correcting.
As my insecurity got worse, I tried to pile on all this makeup to hide my eyes. That’s how I learned to play with eyeshadow. For those of you who have been following me, I know you’ll remember me as the girl who ALWAYS put on smokey eyes. In my defense, it was a big trend back then, but I was on a completely different level. I always went out with dark eye makeup, heavy eyeliner, and thick false eyelashes – even to the beach. CRAZY, I know.
I’ve obsessed about this one trait, and completely lost sight about the rest of who I was. My eyes didn’t define me, but that was all I could see.
I had monolids – and people who are like me almost have no eyelid folds and it makes our eyes smaller.
When I decided to get my first surgery, it turned out to be a little tragic. I have consumed a lot of information on eye surgery and tried to calm myself with the things I learned, like it wouldn’t look well after surgery right away, and there will be swelling… but part of me is just not convinced that it was done right.
When the same doctor told me that he indeed had gotten it wrong, I just panicked. I know I had to go through surgery again and it made me feel so bad and depressed. I discussed more about this in the vlog below.
Meanwhile, I came across Pony’s confession video, and I just really stared in shock as I related to her story so well. This inspired me to be open with you guys and share what I’ve gone though in the hopes of helping girls out there in the same situation as me. Though this happened, it really helped me feel more confident and generally more positive
Over the course of time, I realized that self-love means being proud of who you are and taking care of yourself for your happiness – and not for anyone else. That’s what I always try to tell you guys. YOU DO YOU and NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL LESS THAN 100%. If you want to dress up, dress up! If you want to change something about yourself that’s affecting you so strongly- then do it! I’m thankful that we’re living in a more open world today, and that we can use platforms like this to inspire others out there. This message resonates so hard with me that it’s actually what February Lifestyle is all about as well. Celebrating individuality by promoting the idea that IMPERFECT IS PERFECT and that we should always FIND BEAUTY IN THE ODDS.
I’m 29 and I’ve embraced the fact that unlocking your true beauty means loving each and every part of you that makes you different.
It’s not an easy thing to do – but in the end, no one can love you more than you love yourself.
So cheers to all of you, strong beautiful women – no matter what they throw at us, we’ll thrive in style.