Saturday, February 9, 2008

"You look like Minnie Mouse"

"Oh my gosh! You look like Minnie Mouse. You even have cheekbones like her!" said one of my dearest friends last Wednesday. The rest of the group nodded in unison. I was dressed in a pair of white sweater tights, a pair of black patent leather pumps, a navy blue jumper with a ruffled oxford shirt underneath, a cropped black jacket, and a pink and blue headband. I was going for a I'm-speaking-to-state-legislators-about-saving-babies-so-I-better-look- professional-yet-cute look (I went to Sacramento to speak to legislators on behalf of the March of Dimes), but apparently I had accidentally channeled Minnie Mouse into my wardrobe selections.

I covered my cheeks with my white J. Crew wool gloves (which coincidentally look somewhat like Minnie's gloves), blushed and giggled a little, and replied, "Why, thank you." I mean, what else could I have said?

When I got home, I glanced at myself in the mirror and tried to decipher my Minnie Mouse characteristics. My rosy cheeks accentuate my already impossibly prominent cheekbones that are noticeable even when I don't smile, I have paler skin compared to my other Asian friends with similar skintones, my nose is slightly upturned in a cartoonish manner, and there's always a bow in my hair. It's a stretch, but I can understand why my friend compared me to a cartoon mouse.

It's so easy and inevitable to grow up hating your appearance. I've had my own share of "I'm so freakin' obese" and "Why am I another 5'1" petite girl instead of a leggy waif?" moments. I used to be so embarrassed about my upturned nose, and the fact that my cheekbones made me look and feel heavier. I'd stress about every zit that appeared on my face, and I'd burst into tears when the acne medication wouldn't work anymore.

I was extremely frustrated with myself because I wasn't given goddess genes, but the lack of good looks department blessed me with no social life in middle school and straight A+s -- graduating as eighth grade class valedictorian.

It disturbs me when I see middle schoolers who "know" they're "hot stuff", strutting around like they're on the catwalks of Milan. I was the bony Asian nerd who went home right after class in middle school, the ugly duckling amongst future Jessica Simpson lookalikes. I suppose I see in them everything that I wasn't -- it's terrible to see these middle school cliques play on the emotions of the insecure. When I overheard them talking about low-calorie lunches, memories of how I used to skip lunch in eighth grade so that I could be 85 pounds again came back. They're shameful memories, but you don't start loving yourself until you see your mistakes.

I suppose I've grown into my looks by now; I no longer see myself as an ugly duckling. I realized how ridiculous it was for myself to call myself "fat" -- at 5'1" and not even hitting the 100 lbs. mark on my scale, I need to focus on maintaining a toned body, not necessarily cutting calories. I've come to appreciate the perks of being petite -- shopping in Asia was made for short people, after all. And why complain about my own face when it's the only one I'm going to have in this lifetime?

I'm glad I was a complete social outcast in middle school because I got to reflect on how I was going to live the rest of my life. Nowadays, I have the most amazing best friends in the world and I cannot imagine not having parties or dinners to go to. When a sixth grader approached me in December to complain about how everyone was shutting her out of the cliques, I wanted to tell her that everything would get much better. She wouldn't believe me even if I did tell her though, but then again, most middle schoolers don't see past lunch period.

It's possible to change yourself -- you can get better grades, get a better hairdo, lose weight, sleep more, and smile more. Changing your nose (without plastic surgery) isn't possible, but isn't that what makes you beautiful? Cheesy, of course -- but merely pretty girls don't get second glances. Second glances are reserved for the girls who everyone wants to know.

Besides, Mickey Mouse did happen to be my first love and first kiss.

Miss Couturable
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