have you ever read the headlines of a magazine or online site that said “how to achieve a flawless face in 5 minutes”, or “learn how to cover those zits like an expert”?
have you, like i have, exclaimed, “ooh yes i need to know how!” then flipped the pages in glee, only to be greeted by a model, printed on glossy pages, staring right back at you, with a face that is already flawless? she either already has perfect skin or has been perfectly doctored by photoshop. and oh let’s not forget the pro cameraman and award-winning make up artist who did the shoot. basically, the model with her perfect skin, can always do a 5-minute face because all she really needs is lip gloss. and the apparent “zit” that they show you how to cover, never looks like it even existed anyway.
then there are magazines and blogs that tell you to be fabulous. and yes, we all do want to be fabulous! i know i do. and don’t lie! you do too! you want to be fabulous and fierce. even fiercer than all the drag queens out there put together.
but is it just me, or is 99.99999999% of those “always so positive” magazines and fashion blogs out there, owned and run by people who 1) have great skin, 2) have pretty eyes, 3) are skinny, and 4) have already been blessed with all of the above and more?
damn right they’d better be fabulous. if god has blessed them with all that, and they still look and behave like crap, then what do the rest of us have to look forward to?
i’m an average asian girl. i’m short, like 160cm or just about 5 feet 3. and i’m stubby. always ways, always will be, and honestly, getting pudgier by the day. i was 3800g at birth. i’ve never had a baby before but i’m told that that’s a fat-ass baby to be carrying around (sorry mom). i used to be fit and ate whatever i wanted when i played competitive sports. then i stopped playing and continued eating and gained only about 10kg (20 lbs??).
i can’t do anything about my height. i mean, sure i’ve always wanted to be supermodel-tall, but i’m not about to try one of those crazy bone-breaking, height-growing operations. and my weight, yeah it’s my own fault i grew sideways instead of up, and i recently started exercising again.
but what about other things that i can’t change? skin, for example. i’ve talked about my skin problems a few times before. i don’t think about it all the time now. but i used to have pretty clear skin, and then boom! one day right after senior prom (phew! at least god gave me till prom, ok??) the major acne devil decided that i was to be his next victim. i’m not even kidding. it was really, really bad. i got my make-up for prom done at this quack place, and i remember thinking that those make-up brushes looked really dirty and dodgy. i broke out bad the next day, but i thought maybe it was some weird hormonal thing. but the break outs never stopped from then on, and for a year i had full-blown acne.
i make it sound like full-blown aids and although it wasn’t life-threatening, i certainly felt like dying. it took away a lot of my confidence. those 2 years of my life were my darkest and saddest. i was going through a rough patch where really, nothing was going right at all. my family was breaking apart (and i can’t go into that at the moment because it’ll just make me cry). one of my dogs, misty had died and i missed her terribly and blamed myself for her death. and then there was acne.
it wasn’t a bad day where i could just stay in bed and go to sleep, and tomorrow would be a better day, no. my tomorrows were just as bad, and the days after that were even worse. there were days after days when my entire family would just be arguing and having the biggest fight, and i’d be crying my head off. and i’d go to my room and see myself in the mirror, and cry even more.
i didn’t recognise who it was, staring back at me. “this isn’t me,” i thought. i never used to cry like this. i was always happy. i had the ability to find ways to make myself happy, to laugh, to make other people laugh, and i had the loudest laugh of all. i never used to cry over anything. it wasn’t just an emotional and mental stranger looking back at me in the mirror. physically, i didn’t recognise myself either. my entire face was filled with bright red bumps. i got so angry with this stranger, i remember taking some scissors one day, and i scratched into my closet, right next to my mirror, the words “i hate you.”
“you”, were many things. it was life, it was god, it was the acne, it was the problems plaguing my family, it was the tears, it was the anguish, it was the anger, pain, and hurt.
and it was me.
i had so many highs in my life before all that happened. i thought i was the luckiest girl because my family had always been really close. and family to me, is really the most important thing. my parents loved me, and although i never said it (i’m too proud), i loved them all dearly. i was doing well at school, and i might be blowing my own trumpet but because i’m so funny and contagious (AHAHAHA whatever), i was quite popular enough. i was the class chairman a few times, class monitor, and also captain of my school and club’s hockey team. and can i just mention that i captained the school team to win the national gold medal after a 16-year drought?? we were the less experienced underdogs who played in the finals with a team that was filled with national players. no one expected us to win, and we even lost to that same team in the preliminary rounds. but we fought hard, and trained harder than anyone we knew. and most of all, we believed in ourselves, and we believed in each other. we had utter faith. and we won 2-0.
it was my proudest moment. and it still is. we worked so hard for it. and i was so proud.
everything fell downhill after that. and it took a long, long time for me to get back on my feet again. it was a high mountain to climb. there were times when i really wanted to die, and i think if i wasn’t such a chicken, i might have already killed myself by now. but yet, part of me didn’t want to die. there were so many more things in life i wanted to experience. there were so much better things i knew i was destined for, if only i could somehow get through all the pain. maybe if i really did kill myself, i would have really been a chicken. if i had died, i would have taken the easy way out.
in a way, maybe hockey trained me and toughened me up more than i ever realized. it was a slow and painful recovery, but slowly and surely, my old self returned. i was able to laugh again, and to make people laugh again. the emotional scars in my heart from my family problems formed some serious scar tissue, but i know that we do love each other and perhaps that was all that mattered. the scars on my face, well, i still see them. but i have learnt to live with them, red and bumpy and all.
well, i figured, when i laugh i make weird faces and throw my head back anyway, so who’s gonna be able to see those scars, right?
i try to be positive about everything. about feeling good about myself. that was one of my reasons for starting freebird. for a lot of us, yours truly included, our blogs are a venue for thought and emotions. they are our voices. for me, it is also a place where i can review and reflect on things that are happening in my life.
our lives aren’t happy everyday. i mean, it’s hard to be positive all the time. don’t you agree? we all have our off days. we all have days where nothing seems to be going right. when we wanna just bitch at it and sulk and hope that someone will cheer us up. there are a lot of positivity blogs out there. blogs that scream “you can do it!!” blah blah blah. and yes, that chirpy “i beh-leeve in mah-self!” part of me is alive and kicking strongly most days. and i do believe in myself. very much. but i also want to keep freebird real.
because i live in the real world, not in some fantasy land, although i’d like to think i do. although i’ve come to terms with myself and have grown to love myself just the way i am, i can’t help but feel shitty when i wake up in the mornings and wash my face, and see those bumps again. yes, ladies and gentlemen, the acne is slowly but surely, creeping back after a 5 year hiatus.
to be 100% honest, i’m really starting to panic about it. i’m not a teenager anymore. i don’t want pimply teenage skin. it’s upsetting. it doesn’t cross my mind at all during the day, when i’m at work doing what i love. but in between all that, there are brief moments when i catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and i sigh.
so what’s the purpose of this post? i’m just trying to tell my story. i’m telling it to you. and i’m telling it to me. i’m telling myself that i’ve been through this crap before and i got out of it. i’m telling myself that there might be things that i hate about myself, but there are plenty more things about myself that i love.
this is a personal project for me. something i thought i would start, after getting a idea about it after flipping through a marie claire magazine that had a section called “what i love about me“. which i thought was a great idea, but i wanted to tweak it a little. it was all things that people loved about themselves, but most were surface or aesthetic views. while that was great too, i wanted my own project to include something more. something on a deeper level.
and while i wanted to write about it, i also wanted to take a picture of myself making that statement. because by putting it down in writing, and also taking a shot of myself with that statement, i feel it gives me a much stronger visual memory about what i do love about myself.
once a week on the weekend, or whenever i am feeling shitty, i am going to write a new statement about myself that i love. and then i want to look back at all these statements and remind myself, that i don’t have to be upset. i simply don’t have to. because there are things about me that i am very proud of.
what about you? i know you must have days when you’re not feeling particularly great either. what are the things you love about yourself? would you make a statement too, and take a picture of yourself making that statement? i honestly think this is going to work. and i’m going to continue with this. maybe we can all do this together.