We all have our own sob stories - mostly untold and unfinished - that we struggle to escape from. Like what I recounted here and there, I've been told I was far from attractive...by my own family. I have pango nose, uneven skin tone, dinikdik na luya for my feet, dark lips, flabs, crooked teeth, cystic acne, alambre hair, stretch marks and the list goes on. Growing up, I got exposed to television, fashion magazines, movies, romance novels, billboards - all of them bombarding me with the same reminder: That there's no Prince Charming and happily-ever-after destined for ugly ones like me. And I believed them. All of it.
Then one day, I just grew tired of it. I discovered the joys of travels and started beach hopping even if it'll make my skin darker. While in graduate school, I followed the example of kolehiyalas and began donning carefree outfits. While working in a call center, I eventually learned to laugh at myself and take myself less seriously. Then I accepted Jesus Christ and I got convinced that me, too, is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
So...why did a masterpiece like me even bother to attend The Better Story Project's "Beauty Matters" workshop? Simple. For someone who spent most of her life being pessimistic, I believe that self-acceptance is an ongoing journey. Plus, I can't afford to be complacent in my learning process. There's so much to absorb from other warriors and their battle scars.
Lessons from "Beauty Matters"
Art by Crae Achacoso
Obtained from this post
1.) "The world's version of beauty conveniently forgot the laws of gravity and mortality." - Ailene Ponce
Again, it's a reminder for us to ignore the socially-accepted - and, mind you, EVOLVING - standards of beauty. Skin wrinkles as we age, but what matters is what's beneath it. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and search your heart and soul. There's kindness that flows inside you. Share it!
2. What lasts? YOUR smile.
I remember walking out of the Smile For The World gallery with a huge smile in my face. Why did I feel so rejuvenated even if I hardly know the people in those portraits? Smiles, I realize, never fail to give off good vibes to the ones in the receiving end. Looking back, I've deprived a multitude of people of my smile just because I feel unpretty when my upper lip widen to show off my inflamed gums and/or my sungki. But then again, most of the compliments I received so far were all about how fun-loving and cheerful I am and how my rambunctious laughter proved to be contagious. See, nobody took notice about those flaws! It was just me and that critical voice in my head all along! (But, still, I had deep scaling done for my gums and had braces for my teeth for health reasons).
3. Don't put another woman down, especially a Filipina. Be generous with your compliments.
We spend so much time nitpicking others and it NEVER helps. It prolongs this vicious cycle of being harsh to other people and, in my opinion, being fault-finders or gossip mongers can make us too conscious about ourselves that we don't want to be talked about the same way or, worse, we forget to examine our own mistakes.
Remember that the more we give, the more we get back. And to quote Ailene: "What blessing or curse are you giving out? And what will you take back?" So, it's important to compliment a colleague who doesn't seem to realize how charming she looks in skirts or remind a cousin that having backne doesn't make her less beautiful. Spread the conviction that we ARE beautiful! It'll make a huge difference.
Art by Crae Achacoso
Obtained from this post
4. Real beauty means showing up.
Yes, there are moments when we feel that we're never enough and it's more comforting to lock ourselves up all day. But real beauty is knowing that nothing like a huge pimple or knee bruise can stop us from sharing our love and light to the world.
In my opinion, it helps to know that we can't just stop at being pretty. We must aspire to be pretty creative and pretty smart, anything but merely pretty.
5. Don't be scared of being beautiful. You ARE beautiful.
Beauty is not a gift entitled only to a selected few. Stop believing that some people happen to be idle and available nang naghasik nang kagandahan ang Diyos. Like what this video had elaborated, God is not fond of junk. He can't possibly create "factory defects". Just stop accepting what the world dictates as beautiful. Look at yourself in the mirror and utter a powerful affirmation about your beauty and your uniqueness. It will go a long way.
After Ailene shared her story, she invited us to do the same. I volunteered to narrate a story that probably deserves a separate blog entry. Haha! As I listened to the others, I felt inspired by ideas like Make Your Day Project, as discussed by Cindee, and "care package", as Aia described it. It's like a go signal for this little pay-it-forward project that I'm planning to do for Pinay Curvies. Can't wait to share it once it's finalized.
Meet the beautiful girls! Wheeeeere's
Photo also obtained from Better Story Project's fanpage
I shall leave you with this clip that Ailene mentioned during the workshop. I suggest you look up the lyrics to this song like I did and reflect: Are we going to pass on our distorted and superficial definition of beauty to the next generation or are we going to start a comforting revolution instead?