*sigh* Where to begin. In fifth grade I was friends with a pretty blonde, Jen McConnell. Jen was bubbly, sporting Abercrombie clothing and low cut shirts. Early into the year, Jen warned our friend Cathy and I how she was now popular so she probably wouldn’t be able to hang out with us often. Throughout the year Jen would constantly push me to wear eyeliner and shop at Abercrombie. Luckily I had an old party favor from my friend’s birthday with a one dollar eyeliner kit. I opened up the kit and smudged the black underneath my waterline, determined to fit in with Jen’s demands. Jen exclaimed about how much my eyes popped, but I couldn’t shake the feeling, I looked stupid. The eyeliner was wiped off at the end of the day.
Why did I tell you this dull story? I know, I know, a little girl experimenting with eyeliner is boring, but it was the beginning of when I realized your appearance matters. My friend in the bus would laugh at me for my high socks since low cut socks were now the style. From that point on, I would get on the bus every morning and fold my socks over my heels so they wouldn’t stick out from my tennis shoes like some sort of loser.
Going into seventh grade, I had straight long hair and was still fairly tan . One kid even commented, “Are you Cherokee because you look like my grandfather!” I mainly stuck to concealer to hide the ever persistent pimple that would arise. The real issue was my shoulders, however. In a span of one summer, my shoulders were competing against the Appalachian mountains, as the entire surface erupted with acne. Covering up any exposed skin on my shoulders, I slumped around school, scared for people to find out the truth. I could’ve competed as the next Igor.
Oh you thought my shoulders were the only problem? Ha! My best friend at the time, Sara, decided to inform me about my BUSHY eyebrows as well. I rushed home to find the tweezers and hacked away at my facial obtrusion. Early on I realized razors were not the answer after shaving off a quarter of my eyebrow. My dad would spend nights yelling at me for fucking up my eyebrows, but I didn’t care. Girl had to keep her curtains trimmed.
The summer before my freshman year of high school was a major turning point in my life. I had my first boyfriend. And he was a complete asshole. Beaver, the asshole, loved to pick on one of his best friends for having acne. I constantly would lecture Beaver to stop being so mean especially since people called him “bottle opener” for his pronounced overbite. But did I leave him when I found out his plan to cheat on me with a close friend of his? No. After spending a month apart, Beaver and I saw each other during picture day. In a span of a month, my face decided to join my back in replicating the topography of the Grand Canyon along with a new set of braces. Naturally on the first day of school, Beaver so lovingly sent me a break-up text. I, “got ugly” according to his pimply friend.
The remainder of my high school career had been diluted with my obsession with my appearance. My nights were spent mixing concoctions to spread on my face in the hopes the bumps will fade away. Mornings were a deluge of concealer, foundation, and powder. I was determined to erase any evidence of red. The worst part was my obsession was constantly being fed. Almost weekly, my parents would stare at my face with concern asking if I washed my face or if I was eating well enough. Friends would suggest random at home remedies or products even though I never asked. Little kids would approach me wanting to know what the red stuff was. “You should cut sugar out of your diet,” my parents remarked as the waiter brought over my birthday cake when I was 16.
One day in the bathroom, my little sister was about 6 when she started crying in the bathtub for no reason.
Me: “What’s wrong? Why are you crying”
Sister: “I’m ugly”
I was completely baffled by her statement and called my dad into the situation.
Dad: “Why do you think you’re ugly? You look just like your sister, don’t you think she’s pretty?”
Sister: “Yea, but I don’t like her bumps. They’re ugly”
Stab right in the heart. Sure, I was used to my parents, friends, boyfriends, strangers, little asshole kids, informing me about my acne, but my sister? The one person in the world that thought I was everything, wanting to be just like her older sissy? I never thought she of all people would look at me and say my bumps were ugly. I think that was one of the two times I actually cried over my protrusions. The first time was in a dressing room at a store when I realized prom dresses couldn’t hide my hideous shoulders.
With low self-esteem, I naturally attracted the wrong people. Several – when I say several, I don’t mean one or two, I mean at least four – guys, three of which I crushed on, decided to comment on my chest. Or lack there of. My acne isn’t what got them, it was my chest size. “You have a pretty face, 10 out of 10, but your boobs are really small.” I should’ve worn the push-up bra. APPARENTLY being 95 pounds, 5’6” and half-JAPANESE means nothing because on top of being underweight I should have massive t***. I DIGRESS.
Captain of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee
Good thing for me, I was neurotic enough about my face that I didn’t have time to spare on the other assets I was lacking. I also couldn’t easily gained weight due to not only an incredibly high metabolism, but because I got sick often. Sophomore year I was constantly throwing up from stress. If it wasn’t stress, it was diary or oily foods that had me running to the nearest restroom.
Ok, ok, ok, I’ll get back to the story. Where were we? A teenage girl with acne on her face, chest and shoulders, messed up eyebrows, a tiny chest, and shitty friends/boyfriends. Right. Thankfully man invented makeup.
Junior year of high school I was getting better at caking my face and now curled my hair everyday. I was determined at that point, if I appeared less Asian, then I would be prettier and people would want to be my friend. Growing up in a predominantly white school did not help the self-esteem. The thing was, I had to have my makeup on. At all times. My boyfriend at the end of junior year made a couple comments:
Ginger: “I don’t get how you have so much acne when you eat healthy”
Thanks, my eating only veggies obsession was because I was determined to purge my body.
Me: “I wonder how many freckles you have! One, two…”
Ginger: “I wonder how many pimples you have!” *points at forehead* “One, two…”
God was testing my patience then.
Ginger: “Are you wearing any makeup?”
Ginger: “Oh! I thought so! Your skin looks different”
Aww thanks babe. I never once commented on how overweight you were.
Yes, this whole post has been me bitching about how superficial I was. HOWEVER, there is a good ending. Senior year of high school and I was ready to be done. I met a guy who had a crush on me a year prior. I never really talked to him until then. Gumby. Gumby was the first guy I dated, where I didn’t hate myself. He would stare at me, even while driving, to comment on how pretty I was. Whether or not I had layers of makeup on. I finally was done with braces and started acne medication. Gumby constantly told me I was beautiful and would even compliment my scrawny, flat chested body.
With Gumby’s persistence, I began modeling. Me. The girl who would hid on picture day to avoid the harsh reality of how ugly she was. Three years of modeling and surrounding myself with the right people, I forgot about the girl sobbing in the changing room in an overly revealing prom dress. 10 pounds later, my chest managed to hit puberty.
I’m glad I went through such a shallow stage in my life. I went on to pursue engineering because my newfound goal was to 3D print skin tissue for war veterans and burn victims. No one should be a victim to their own scars, I wanted to help people heal externally before they could internally. I go out of my way to compliment passing by strangers or friends. And above all to everyone that reminded me what an ugly sh*t you viewed me as…
Fuck you, and you, and you~
I hate your friends and they hate me too
I’m through, I’m through, I’m through~