this is part 2 of the Body Positivity Workshop and the discussion will span from the neck up to my hyperdrive brain.
I don’t think I felt pretty until I was 21. Being South Asian had a lot to do with it methinks. As a Northern Indian lass, I fall short of the aesthetic expectations – not light skinned enough, features not delicate enough. I didn’t believe compliments that would come my way. In fact, they are still hard to swallow and make me want to hide my head ala ostrich-style, beneath the ground.
Let me be honest.
I don’t think I’m half bad to look at. Also, I knew from a young age that outer beauty was not all that it was made out to be. So I buried myself under my universe of books and filled my senses with good music and thought-provoking movies, intense intellectual debates and discussions. I suppose this is why I still cannot be a part of the girlie-girl groups that talk about makeup, nails, boys. I am not saying Im any smarter than those lasses, do not judge those books by their glittery covers! All I am saying is, I have a different preference for conversation topics.
As a kid, my maternal grandma and my mother (who are both light skinned) heaped mud masks and those disgusting creams an Indian girl is all too familiar with – Fair & Lovely, Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic cream.
Please stop using these stupid creams and don’t buy into the fairness fad. Your skin is beautiful just the way it is. I think dusky skin is beautiful, ebony skin is simply divine to look at.
I’d wash them right off after they applied it. I didn’t see why I ought to be fairer, I have always liked having a tan. I was an outdoorsy girl so I spent hours splashing in the pool, running in the mid-day sun to my mother’s chagrin haha!
I always looked like a boy anyway, and I didn’t identify with being a girl until I was 12. Don’t believe me? Look at this picture 🙂
My neighbours used to call me Ah-Boy so you see, I didn’t really know I was supposed to be in fact a sweet little girl until my little sister arrived. She was the bonniest golden haired (I kid you not),dimpled, intensely long sweeping eyelashes, cherubic baby my 4 year old self had ever seen. I remember thinking..ah she’s a baby girl, I have a little doll now.
I stared at myself in the mirror – cropped hair, brown skin, confused look on the face – and over the years, I developed a conviction that I was not pretty. People would not stop to stare and smile at me as they would with other girls in my midst.
Then boyfriends happened.
I was confused. I repeatedly asked these really cute guys what on earth they saw in me. I always believed the bits when they mentioned the words Smart, Witty, Funny..just not when they said pretty. I was often pegged as cute and sweet. I didn’t know if those were good things – babies & puppies were cute, lollipops were sweet.
Even after meeting the hubster, I was not able to believe that I could have gotten myself such a catch with my looks.
I would like to smack that girl from the past!
When I lived in Melbourne, I realised how Caucasian girls paid so much money to get my skin’s sun kissed glow. I thought about the many Indian girls who wanted to be as fair skinned as the Caucasians and I chuckled.
I began to enjoy dressing up since living in Oz and with that, I began to pay some attention to my face. The photograph below was taken sometime last year, had some makeup on.
– my slender, elongated neck
– my smile
– my cheekbones, apple-shaped cheeks
– my Jack Nicholson eyebrows
– the shape of my eyes
– the side profile of my nose
– my crazy but pretty head of hair
– my Speedy Gonzales brain
The advantage of a slender neck is that it looks graceful despite my now fuller face.
My smile is my greatest defense mechanism and my weapon
of choice 😉
My cheekbones and the apple-shaped cheeks bring a rather sanguine look to my face.
My eyebrows can be put to rather dramatic effect when someone is talking shite.
Each eye has a different shape as I have discovered through the years of intense scrutiny (oh c’mon you do it too), but I like that about them. It’s always cool to apply makeup on each eye because it requires a different style. I like that my eyes are not entirely dark brown, they have a deep shade with a sparkle in them.
My eyes are known to be very expressive, adds to the whole package of not being able to carry off a poker face!
I like how nicely shaped the side profile of my nose is, it gives my face character.
As a tot, my hair was actually curly with ringlets but mom wanted to manage my hair easier so she shaved my pretty locks off twice which had me end up with confused hair. Plus I did have cropped hair for a very long
time. My hair is basically A little bit of frizz, a few rowdy curls, wit waves to the tresses, and some straight ends. I used to HATE my hair. It was too thick, too difficult to style. Today though, I kinda love that it’s so versatile. If I leave my hair after a swim in the pool, it gets nice and curly. If I comb my hair slowly while drying it out, it gets straightened out. And if I want wavier hair, all I need to do is tousle it a bit.
My brain is a bittersweet organised chaos of symphony and I appreciate it, love it, hate it, chuckle at it. It keeps me pretty entertained, that’s for sure and it brings forth life to my face.
My Dislikes :
– the double chin
– thin upper lip
– stubborn chicken pox and pimple scars
– enlarged pores
– dark eye rings
– thick nose
– high forehead
Nobody likes a double chin.
My lips would be characterised as a Cupid’s bow which looks pretty with a deep shade of lipstick on, but can be a tad too thin on the upper lip when I keep the colour closer to a nude or pale shade. I guess that’s why Im conscious of their pucker when I pose for pictures.
Oh my teeth.
My parents have beautiful sets of pearly whites but mine is so wonky. I had those really sharp canine teeth that would press down onto my lower lip (Countess Dracula!), terribly overlapped front teeth and my lower set of teeth were just a messy crowd.
I wore orthodontic braces for 2 years, filed those sharp teeth and straightened the mess out. Unfortunately, I was tardy with the retainer so front teeth have gone back to their overlap AND they got chipped last year. Ah well, they’re still standing and not that shabby to look at .. From afar :p
If you read the first post for this challenge you would know that I contracted chicken pox at 28, hence the scars and enlarged pores. I developed a really bad case of stubborn acne while living in Australia and the scars didn’t quite leave. I did not have a single blemish on my face until I was 21!!
My dark eye rings are hereditary.
They are what I am most conscious about on my face because I always get people asking if I am tired or unwell due to these dark circles. Also, I got called ‘Panda Eyes’ a lot in school. So I hid behind my glasses for a long time and it’s still something that I feel uncomfortable about when taking pictures.
It’s a conundrum having a nicely shaped nose from the side but a thick nose from the front. This must also be unconscious criticism from the days of wanting a smaller, thinner nose when looking at Bollywood actresses, or family members. I love nose studs but I cannot wear one because it looks downright stupid on me. It’s another part of my face that I am conscious about when taking pictures. It doesn’t help that I am prone to allergies so I sneeze more than the average Jane, and when the nose gets stuffy or runny it resembles a water faucet.
The high forehead is hereditary as well. As a child I was told this meant that I would be scholarly. I don’t have that much of an issue with it except for a darkened scar or two from the times when my head was smashed against the wall by dad. They’re ugly reminders of those times.
I actually loathed my face as a teenager because I am my father’s doppelgänger. I would scratch my face and scream at it. I wanted to look like anyone but him.
My dad is quite the dapper man though and now that the past is behind me, I don’t feel badly about the uncanny resemblance.
I just get a kick out of the hubster’s expression when he’s about to kiss me and I say – ooh you’re staring at the face of your father in law and about to kiss those lips!
Oh his expression is PRICELESS.
To sum this post up, I don’t mind my appearance from the neck up. I think that it has a pleasant quality, with some character and plenty of expressiveness.
On this note, I would like to thank my readers for their immensely encouraging and loving comments after the Letter to my Body post. I am very grateful to you and to Leah, who has brought me onto this journey of self discovery. I am ever so thankful to my hubster, my loved ones who show me that I have nothing to be ashamed of.
I am humbled.
love, Aarti Olivia xxxo
P.S : stay tuned for another upcoming Hollywood Awards-related post!