Posted by IdeaSmith
Ah….now that sounds like the kind of story you’d expect to see listed in the sidebar of a women’s magazine (which my sources tell me enjoy readerships that are over 40% male!!!).
Here’s a conversation that smug me had with fidgety male friend this weekend:
FMF: I don’t want to meet you till I’ve lost weight.
Smug me: (“I don’t believe I’m hearing this!!!”) Why? You don’t have to become beautiful for me.
FMF: *Chuckling* Yes, but I want to.
Smug me: Why? I have no such reservations about myself before meeting you.
FMF: So I still want to lose weight.
Smug me: But why? Enjoy your body as it is. I always assume I look great.
FMF: But you do!
Smugger me: *BIG GRIN* Yes, and you believe it because I believe it!
Now, am I right or not? Just for the record I am no raving beauty. Not even close. I could list out my physical imperfections but….why? Why go to all that effort to make myself feel bad? The cosmetics manufactures/gymansiums/apparal dealers are at it full-time. But well, they have to earn their living.
And I have to live my life. In this body. With this face. Under this head of hair. Of this colour. And with eyes that look this way. And none of them are anywhere close to what the beauty magazines define as perfect. Worse still, on the same face (and body), they’re a motley crew at best.
But I can make heads turn when I walk into a room. I know I can and hence I do. Not the other way round. Go back and read that again, please.
I’m not saying I’m this so totally confident woman who couldn’t care less what the world thought of her looks. Give me some credit, I’m a woman after all…with all the vanity a woman possesses. I just decided to lose the insecurity. Its a constant battle but worth fighting every single day. And you start winning more and better each time.
When I was a teenager, agonizing over pimples and braces and labouring under the burden of dusky skin in a country obsessed with the milky-white…yes I was there once. My best friend in contrast…was a complete contrast. Strikingly good looking, fair skin, deep, clear eyes, a perfect profile and body. She could turn from a beauty to a complete knockout with one swish of eyeliner. Black eyeliner makes me look like a close relative of the Adams family. Of course I was insecure. I tried very hard not to be jealous. I don’t know if I suceeded. I know she didn’t let on that she knew. And she was a good enough friend to never use it to her advantage.
Time passed, we drifted apart…..which was a good thing. I really came out into the sunlight in those later years. I guess I could very easily have let myself get slotted into the ‘pretty girl’s unattractive best friend’. That is a stereotype, one that people fall into unwittingly and then despairingly accept because they don’t know that they can be any different. I was so lucky, then. I had a chance to be something different and I took it.
Years later, I met my pretty friend again. And we were best friends all over again. Older this time. Wiser. And more beautiful. I’ve learnt that vivacity can be as attractive as placidity. I now know that a bright personality is as beautiful as clear skin. I am so thrilled that twinkling eyes (even if they crinkle) are as appealing as big, luminous eyes. I’m so glad for that time we spent apart because it gave me time to accept our differences. It gave me a chance to accept myself…and then learn to like it…and the most pleasurable bit, fall in love with the mirror.
The most wonderful thing about physical attractiveness is that it really reflects what you feel inside. Sushmita Sen says her beauty secret is ‘Feel beautiful to look beautiful’. And Bipasha Basu adds, “Wear clothes that make you feel sexy, even if they aren’t in fashion.” (errrr…..someone should probably remind Ms.Basu of that…or am I alone in thinking she looked her voluptous, exotic best earlier while this new skinny look makes her look like Barbie doll fell into a muddy puddle?)
Vanity may not be a bad thing. I find I feel really good when I believe that I look good. I wear some very funny things sometimes but they make me feel oh, so very good! And that’s really the only thing that counts.
Even today, before a big meeting or an interview or an exam I like to spend a little extra time and dress well. I love bright colours and my family, friends, boyfriends and bosses have long since stopped trying to reason with me. I wear red lipstick not because it matches my dress or the vogue but because I like red lipstick. My hair is wind-swept and sometimes stuck out in all directions but I love the way it feels around my face. Oh, and yes, there is the tattoo. Which doesn’t look exactly the way I wanted. And since I’m carrying around a few extra calories all around these days, is certainly not picture-perfect. But I’ve learnt to love it. 🙂
P.S. – NMF loved it too! He never had a chance to notice all the imperfection around. But of course he never had a chance. I refuse to believe that its an imperfection. Who’ll doubt me when I’m so sure?
And jaan….”beautiful” comes in many shapes and sizes and colours.
Golden-skinned Cuddly Statuesque Roman-nosed Cute Seductive Graceful Solid Flowing Lustrous Beaming Twinkles Clefts Sharp features Soft features Soulful eyes Kind eyes Mischievious grins Dimply smiles…BEAUTIFUL.
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About IdeaSmithIdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. Meet her online persona as @ideasmithy on Twitter, Instagram & Clubhouse.
Posted on September 4, 2006, in Hormone hangover, Media Messages, Survival Guide and tagged Beauty as empowerment, Beauty standards, Body positive, Body pride, Body shaming, Colorism. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.