How far are we willing to go to achieve our minds' notion of beauty?
When I was a teenager, my mom was about to pierce my ears at home, just as she had done with my sisters. I was scared and excited. She told me "Kung ibig lumandi, tiisin ang hapdi". I believed her words of wisdom and took some comfort in it. I was seated on top of our dining table so that my ears were at her eye level. I bit my lips and cringed as she positioned a potato behind my ear lobes. I closed my eyes and cringed as I felt the sterilized needle pass through, along with a thread that would keep the piercing open up until the wound healed and it would be safe to wear earrings. I was so tense but did not feel any pain. I was too numb. It was when my mom was already tidying the table up that I began to feel my ears go hot. This was the first time I experienced pain willingly in order to be more beautiful.
A few more "beauty" rituals I endured through the years were eyebrow plucking, waxing, threading and facials. For a time: wearing high heels, tight jeans, corsets, contact lenses... all to achieve what, in my eyes, looked beautiful.
My grandfather always told me that I was beautiful, but I didn't fully believe him. I always wanted to have big brown eyes - not my chinky ones. I snipped my eyelashes when I was nine because I thought it would grow longer. When I was 18, I wanted bigger boobs, a smaller waistline and round hips. I wanted to be someone who was more refined-looking than I was. It was not until I was in my late 20's that I embraced who I was and became contented with how I looked.
Just today, I chanced upon a news article and felt sad that an already beautiful woman passed away after having three cosmetic procedures done in one go. It pains me that that she may have felt that she needed those procedures done in order to feel better about herself.
It could be that our new standard of beauty is too much for the average Jane. Women and men alike feel pressured to conform with what society says "beautiful" is. There are tons of makeup tutorials available online, diet plans and fashion tips. We have come to a point where "natural makeup" requires 3 shades of concealer, foundation, lipliner, nude lipstick, nude eyeshadow colors and highlighters. Whatever happened to "natural"? Don't get me wrong, I love makeup. I love playing with colors and enhancing my features as I see fit. I understand and get the feeling of being beautiful when you get dolled up. Cosmetic surgery however, is not for me.
Another news article I read was about a pretty actress who was bashed online because she posted a photo which showed her dark underarms. She had a nice comeback though. I applaud her for standing up for herself and being someone who is not ashamed of having dark underarms, which is something that most women have issues with. (Tip: if you want to naturally whiten your underarms, use calamansi and baking soda instead of the myriad of whitening products in the market. 😀 )
Bottomline is, we all have our own notion of what is beautiful, and naturally, we would want to achieve that kind of beauty that we have in mind. We don't have to undergo surgery to look pretty. We don't have to slap on the entire beauty bar on our faces to look attractive. Real beauty is obtained when we have truly accepted what we really look like. Beauty is you, your entire being. Learn to look a little deeper, a little further into that mirror, and tell yourself "I am beautiful". And you shall be.